When an individual is in a coma, they are unable to make decisions or take action on their own behalf. This can make it difficult for them to seek compensation for injuries they have sustained in an accident. However, in Washington State, a loved one or other party may be able to file a personal injury claim on their behalf in certain circumstances.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Comatose Individual in Washington State
The first step in filing a personal injury claim on behalf of a comatose individual is to appoint a legal guardian. This is a person who has been appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of the comatose individual. The legal guardian will be responsible for managing the individual’s financial affairs and making decisions about their medical treatment.
Once a legal guardian has been appointed, they can then file a personal injury claim on behalf of the comatose individual. This claim will seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages that have been incurred as a result of the accident.
How the Washington Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases Applies When a Victim is Comatose
It’s important to note that the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Washington State is three years from the date of the accident. However, in the case of a comatose individual, the statute of limitations may be extended. This is because the individual may not be able to file a claim while they are in a coma. In this case, the statute of limitations will begin to run once the individual emerges from the coma, or when a legal guardian is appointed.
When filing a personal injury claim on behalf of a comatose individual, it is important to gather and preserve all relevant evidence. This includes photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, and medical records. It’s also important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can navigate the legal process and ensure that the comatose individual’s rights are protected.
It’s also important to note that in Washington state, the individual who caused the accident is liable for the damages that have occurred as a result. This means that if the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, the comatose individual or their legal guardian can seek compensation from that person or their insurance company.
Be aware that the proper compensation amount may not be the same for a comatose individual as it would be for an individual who is not in a coma. This is because a comatose individual may require ongoing medical treatment and may be unable to return to work. Therefore, the compensation amount may include future medical expenses and lost earning capacity.
At Russell & Hill, our Spokane personal injury attorneys understand you may have many questions about your potential legal options if your loved one is in a coma because they were involved in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. The best way to learn more about how to proceed in these circumstances is to review your case with a lawyer. For more information, call us today at 800-529-0842.