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There are a number of different types of damages that plaintiffs may seek as part of a personal injury suit. These damages include damages for economic losses – like medical bills and lost wages – as well as non economic losses, such as compensation for pain, suffering, and emotional anguish. Many states in the nation also allow for plaintiffs to seek punitive damages.


What Are Punitive Damages?


Punitive damages are damages that are intended to punish the defendant in the case for particularly egregious behavior, malice, intent, or gross recklessness. For example, punitive damages are often award in drunk driving cases, or when a defendant deliberately causes harm to the plaintiff, such as in assault cases.


Punitive damages are usually capped, although each state determines what the cap should be. However, these damages are not allowed in every state, as is the case in Washington.


Punitive Damages Are Not Permitted in Washington State


In the state of Washington, punitive damages are not permitted in personal injury claims, making Washington one of only a handful of states with such laws.


However, the fact that Washington State does not permit a plaintiff to recover punitive damages does not mean that you cannot recover the full amount of damages that you are entitled to. On the contrary, there are no caps on economic or noneconomic damages in the state of Washington. This means that not only can you seek compensation for the exact amount of money that you have lost as a result of your injury, but that you can also seek compensation for the full amount of intangible losses that you have suffered, too. In some states, damages on noneconomic losses like pain and suffering are limited.


Maximizing Your Compensation Amount


If you are injured in Washington and are thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation, there are a few things that you can do to improve your chances of recovering your full compensation amount. These items include, but are not limited to:


  • Collect evidence at the scene of your accident, including taking photos of all injuries and damages;
  • Talk to witnesses, and collect witnesses’ statements and contact information;
  • Keep thorough documentation of all medical treatment and your recovery;
  • Do not fail to report the accident to the police or/and your insurance adjuster as soon as possible after the accident; and
  • Hire an experienced Seattle personal injury lawyer who can guide you through the claims process.


Hiring an attorney is especially important, as your attorney will assist you in filing your claim, gathering evidence, organizing data, and more. Your attorney will also help you to understand what to say – and what not to say to an insurance adjuster – and can represent you in all talks and negotiations. Very importantly, your attorney will also be responsible for calculating the damages you are owed and telling you what your claim is worth.


Contact Our Law Offices Today


We realize that the fact that you cannot recover punitive damages in Washington may make you question whether or not you will really be able to recover your full compensation amount. At Gosanko, O’Halloran, Lepore PLLC, we assure you that by working with our legal team, you improve your chances of recovering every penny you deserve. When you call our knowledgeable Seattle personal injury lawyers, we will immediately get to work building your claim and determining what your case is worth.


Are you ready to get started? If so, contact us today online or by phone. Our team is trusted throughout Seattle.