Experienced Attorneys Fight for the Rights of Injury and Wrongful Death Victims in Kelso Washington
Kelso, Washington, situated in Cowlitz County, is composed of 12,000 brave souls living within striking range of the recently reawakened Mount St. Helens volcano. Together with Longview, Kelso comprises half of the Twin Cities of southwest Washington state. In Kelso, you are never far from nature – the Columbia, the Cowlitz, and the Coweeman rivers all run through town, while Mount St. Helens is visible in the distance on a clear day.
Residents and visitors enjoy fishing and boating on the Columbia river or hiking and climbing just outside of town or in the spectacular Mount St. Helens National Park. Every September, the Kelso Highlander Festival is held to celebrate the Scottish heritage of the town’s Scottish namesake. Anything lacking in Kelso (and there isn’t whole lot that’s missing) can likely be found in Portland, Oregon, just 50 miles south on Interstate 5.
With Interstate 5 running through town and SR 4 and SR 432 connecting it with Longview over the Cowlitz River, traffic can get congested at times. Unfortunately, catastrophic accidents can and do occur in Kelso on occasion, and when they do, the consequences can be devastating. Meanwhile, outdoor activities such as boating and hiking pose almost as much risk of injury as the highways do. Of course, some accidents are unavoidable. When someone’s carelessness or malice causes someone else to suffer a catastrophic accident, however, justice demands a response.
Who to Call When the Unexpected Happens
A sobering fact about accident claims is perhaps poorly understood outside of the legal profession – the choice of attorney is usually the most important decision that a personal injury client makes in the entire case. All law firms are not created equal, and the very best personal injury lawyers win for their clients far more often than their mediocre counterparts. Brett McCandlis Brown, on the other hand, has been helping clients much like yourself for over 40 years now. We practice in the following areas, among others:
- Car accidents
- Wrongful death
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Head and brain injuries
- Trucking accidents
- Defective drugs
- Drunk driving accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall accidents
The expertise of our personal injury lawyers has been honored by independent ratings organizations on many occasions, and our successful track record speaks for itself. We will coordinate with your healthcare provider to handle your medical bills, determine how to keep money coming in while you recover, handle the insurance claims process for you, and, if necessary, fight it out in court for you. Contact us today at 1-800-925-1875 or fill out our online contact form so that we can schedule a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I was texting and driving at the time of the accident. Do I still have a claim?
You might, even though texting and driving is illegal in Washington. You will still have a claim as long as the defendant was also at fault, but your damages will be reduced. When two or more parties are at fault for an accident, Washington applies a “pure contributory fault” rule, in which an accident victim who shares fault with the defendant will see damages reduced in exact proportion to the percentage of fault as assigned by the court.
For instance, if the court decides that your damages were $100,000 but you were 25 percent at fault, it will subtract $25,000 from your damages, leaving you with a recovery of $75,000. If you were 99 percent at fault, the court will subtract $99,000 from your damages, leaving you with only $1,000. Keep in mind that this means that the defendant can file a counterclaim against you, even if he or she was mostly at fault for the accident.
What do I have to prove to win a wrongful death claim?
To win a civil lawsuit, you have to prove every element of your claim – not “beyond a reasonable doubt” as in a criminal case, but by a “preponderance of the evidence,” which means essentially “more likely than not.” A wrongful death claim boils down to three elements – (i) the defendant was negligent, (ii) the defendant’s negligence caused the victim’s death, and (iii) you suffered damages as a result.
“Negligence” can be further broken down into duty and breach – in a car accident, for example, the defendant had a duty to drive safely and he or she breaches that duty if, for example, the driver runs a stop light. In a medical malpractice claim, on the other hand, a doctor has the duty to treat you with a professional level of skill, which is a higher standard than a non-doctor would be held to (a passer-by rendering first aid, for example).
What kinds of damages are available in a wrongful death claim?
In a Washington wrongful death lawsuit, you can recover for the following losses:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Outstanding medical bills for the treatment of the deceased
- The income that the deceased would likely have earned if he or she had lived
- The cost of damage to property (an automobile, for example)
- The deceased’s pain and suffering prior to death
- Loss of care, companionship, and other intangible benefits by the survivors