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How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Washington State

Step-by-step process for using the civil court system to make a wrong right

At Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler PLLC, we want our clients to have an accurate picture of what a personal injury lawsuit entails. The process is rarely quick and easy; defense counsel and insurance companies often employ delay tactics to wear a plaintiff down. We offer this page as a primer for anyone who has a cause of action and is considering a personal injury lawsuit.

Choosing the Washington court in which to file your personal injury lawsuit

First, you must determine which court has jurisdiction over your case. You may file a personal injury claim in the district court in the county where the defendant resides or where your injury occurred. If you choose to file without the assistance of an attorney, you can pick up the forms you need at the court or download them from the court website.

If your personal injuries amount to less than $5,000, you can file with small claims court. You may not file with small claims court if the defendant is an entity of the state of Washington. Whether you choose district court or small claims court, there is a fee for filing your lawsuit. You may incur additional expenses if you retain a process server to serve the complaint and summons to your defendant.

The personal injury lawsuit process in Washington

The preliminary steps for filing your personal injury lawsuit are as follows:

  • File your complaint in the proper court.
  • Assign an adult to serve a summons and copy of the complaint on all defendants.
  • The defendants answer by filing with the court. Defendants may present a counterclaim alleging that you caused damages to them.
  • Parties may request preliminary orders to resolve pretrial issues.
  • Discovery begins, allowing the parties to request information from the opposing side and provide answers to questions (interrogatories) the other side poses.
  • Parties depose witnesses, getting their sworn testimony on record.
  • If the defendants file counterclaims, the plaintiff must file an answer with the court

Once discovery concludes, the parties have a fair understanding of the case, and settlement negotiations can begin. If negotiations stall, the parties can try mediation or arbitration. If these alternative forms of dispute resolution also fail, the parties may proceed to trial.

The clock is ticking; contact Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler PLLC today!

There’s truth to the old legal adage that he who sits on his rights loses them. Act today to assert your right to full, fair compensation for your injuries. Call Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler PLLC at 253-383-5388 or contact our Tacoma office online to arrange your free consultation.

Are You a Victim of the MultiCare-Good Samaritan Hospital Hepatitis C Exposure?
Our firm is actively taking on representation of clients who were patients at MultieCare-Good Samaritan Hospital and were exposed to Hepatitis C and perhaps other diseases. We are investigating the actions of MultiCare and its employees as well as the MultiCare system itself that led to this crisis occurring.

If you have information about this incident, or previous incidences of MultiCare employees misusing narcotic medications intended for patients, or if you have legal questions about this matter and your rights, our lawyers are available to assist you at 253-383-5388.
Case Results
  • "Client was disabled from working in prior profession after sustaining a severe closed head injury and brain trauma in an automobile accident on Interstate 5. $7,845,000. "

  • "Pedestrian client was struck by semi-truck, and the trailer wheels rolled over client’s body causing severe injury. $1,145,000. "

  • "Client was involved in a head-on collision when a bus crossed the center line. Client suffered a severe closed head injury preventing him from returning to his previous employment. $884,998. "

  • "Client was involved in serious head-on collision with uninsured motorist while on-the-job, resulting in physical injury and posttraumatic stress disorder. Client can no longer work as a commercial truck driver. $708,000. "

  • "Client was a rear seat passenger in a vehicle that was involved in an automobile accident. Client was severely injured as the result of a defective seatbelt, while the other three occupants of the vehicle sustained only minor injuries. $650,000. "

  • "Client was killed in automobile accident caused by defendant’s failure to yield the right-of-way. $650,000. "

  • "Minor client was on his way to school and was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street in a marked crosswalk. Defendant driver had pulled into oncoming lane to pass another vehicle and struck client, causing serious injuries. $500,000. "

  • "Client was killed as a result of an in-cab fuel tank, which caught fire after an automobile accident. $350,000. "

  • "Client riding a bicycle was struck by a motorist who failed to yield the right-of-way. Client sustained numerous injuries, including a closed head injury. $120,000. "

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Awards and Affiliations
  • "I have been a client of Dan Kyler’s since 1996. Having had numerous car accidents, I rely upon Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler to help me through them. The most obscure questions have been answered and help is given on all levels. Thanks."

  • "John Wilson demonstrated his professionalism by keeping us current on our case, explaining our options, giving us realistic expectations and demonstrating the highest level of ethics and integrity beyond reproach. We have the highest confidence that we were well represented."

  • "Dan Hannula’s hard work helped to settle my auto accident case. "

  • "Having a motorcycle accident was bad enough, let alone dealing with insurance companies. John Wilson and his staff made everything easy to understand and hassle free. "

  • "I am extremely satisfied with the service I experienced with this firm and I would recommend them to anyone that needs legal representation. Michael Fisher and his staff are great people. "

  • "Vern Harkins perseverance and hard work made it possible to get the maximum settlement from the insurance company. I know he had my interest in mind as demonstrated by his actions. "

  • "The office staff were courteous, pleasant and kept me informed as to what was going on throughout the whole ordeal. "

  • "Molly Crowley is a very professional and knowledgeable lawyer. I felt I was very well represented!! "

  • "Molly Crowley was knowledgeable, kept me informed every step of the way and just did a great job! "

  • "We got a fair settlement and were treated with respect and dignity throughout the whole process. -Blake W. "

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