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John Lutgens, Attorney at Law
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Personal Injury FAQs

Do I have to pay a legal fee upfront on my personal injury matter?

No. We take all personal injury matters on a contingency basis. This means that the only legal fee we will collect will be a portion of whatever damages you recover in your matter, whether in a settlement or verdict at trial.

When will I have to pay a legal fee?

Again, you will only pay a legal fee if we recover a settlement or verdict on your behalf. If we do not recover, then you will owe no legal fee.

How do I know if I have a valid personal injury suit?

To recover damages in a personal injury suit in Washington or Oregon, you must be able to prove that the defendant caused your injuries by breaching a legal duty owed to you. This usually means proving that the defendant acted negligently (meaning the defendant acted in a way that presented an unreasonable and foreseeable risk to you). For over 20 years, we have worked with injured victims throughout Washington and Oregon, and we have the experience to assess your matter at the outset to determine whether you have a valid suit.

Who can I sue in my personal injury matter?

You can sue the party who negligently, recklessly, or intentionally caused your injury. This is often a car or truck driver, a property owner who failed to take proper precautions in making the property safe (e.g. a retail store that failed to clean up a spill, causing a victim to fall), a manufacturer or retailer who made or sold a defective product, etc. You may also be able to sue the employer of the party who caused your injury if it occurred while the party was on the job.

What damages can I recover?

You can recover damages for your medical bills (including the cost of future medical bills), pain and suffering you endure as a result of the injury, any lost wages or reduced earnings over your career caused by the accident, and, in some limited instances, punitive damages if the defendant had a pattern of acting wrongfully.

The other side says I was at fault in causing the accident. Can I still recover?

In many cases, yes, you will still be able to recover so long as the defendant was legally at fault in causing your injury. In Washington, a plaintiff who contributed to his own injuries will always be able to recover, although the recovery will be reduced by his own negligence. In Oregon, a plaintiff will be able to recover so long as he was not more than 50% at fault in causing the injury.

My insurance company (or the defendant’s insurance company) has offered me a settlement. Do I still need a lawyer?

If your insurance company, the defendant, or the defendant’s insurance company are offering you a settlement, that is a strong sign that you have a valid personal injury case. But, remember, those parties are interested in getting you to walk away and release your legal rights in exchange for as small a payout as possible. Our interest is in making sure you get the highest possible recovery for your injuries and that you are fully compensated. We have the legal skills and experience to assess the true recovery you are owed and to make your best arguments for that recovery.

What if my accident occurred outside of Washington or Oregon?

Even if your accident occurred outside of Washington or Oregon, you may in many cases still be able to bring your personal injury suit in either Washington or Oregon state court. We will assess the facts of your matter during your free consultation to determine the best jurisdiction in which to bring your case.

Do I have to go to court to recover in my lawsuit?

Not necessarily. With most personal injury recoveries, we are able to negotiate a settlement without going to trial. But if the defendants refuse to agree to a fair settlement to cover your injuries, trial may be necessary. We have decades of courtroom experience and will guide you through every step of the process should a trial be necessary.

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