Car accidents can be life changing, and not in a good way. Although Washington is one of the safer states in the U.S. with a relatively low per capita and per mile death rate, we still see a few hundred traffic fatalities per year.
In the state of Washington, driving offenses are taken seriously. Under certain circumstances, driving under the influence can be a Class B felony. If someone dies due to the accident, the person who caused the accident can potentially be charged with vehicular homicide.
While seeing justice done under the law can be gratifying, it doesn’t pay the bills. A criminal conviction does not give remuneration to the victims. Instead, this usually occurs in civil court.
A car accident lawyer can help you file a civil suit to try to get compensation for your injuries or for the death of a loved one. Although many people think this is simply about being angry and is a form of vindictiveness, nothing could be further from the truth. Suing for damages is not about hurting the people responsible for your pain and suffering. It is about holding them responsible for the consequences of their actions.
Damages to your vehicle can run thousands of dollars. Damage to your life can run a lot higher. High and ongoing medical bills combined with reduced earning capacity can cost you huge sums of money for years to come.
So, no, this is not about the idea that getting money out of them somehow makes it more palatable that you are physically hurt. Instead, it is about paying for the often high medical bills with which you have been saddled. It is also about making sure you can eat and keep a roof over your head in spite of being less able to earn a good living.
You may not be able to work following an accident, or you may only be able to work part time. You may also be forced to take a lower paying job due to your injuries. Alternately, if a loved one died in the accident, they may have been the primary breadwinner. Even if they were not, the loss of their labor can have real and measurable financial costs. If they were a full time wife and mom, who is going to cook the meals and raise the kids now? Most likely, someone will need to be paid to do some of those things.
People who win the lottery often think it will go further than it does. It sounds like a lot money, but if you do some calculations, it may not be that much money to spend over the course of a lifetime.
This same principle applies to civil suits. The damages sought are not intended to be a punishingly large amount of money to inflict some kind of revenge. The figures sought represent the costs to the victim of a lifetime of lost or reduced earnings combined with higher expenses due to ongoing medical needs.