Ryan Witt

Ryan Witt

January 09, 2018

Clark County

Clark County is located in southwest Washington and is the 5th most populous county in the state. There are approximately 450,000 residents. The county seat is located in the City of Vancouver, which is the 4th largest city in Washington. The other cities within Clark County are Camas, Washougal, Battle Ground, La Center, Ridgefield, Woodland, and Yacolt. During the reporting period of 2015, there were a combined 567 DUI arrests reported by Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Battle Ground PD, Camas PD, Vancouver PD, and Washougal PD. In 2015, there were approximately 5000 collisions reported in this county. The Witt Law Group is ready to assist any auto accident victims with resolving their case. We travel to this area and can also Skype, if you prefer.

January 09, 2018

Kitsap County

Kitsap County is the 7th largest county in Washington (by population). The largest cities in this county are Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, Port Orchard and Silverdale. There are also many small towns and well-established “neighborhoods” that are all included within Kitsap County, such as: Seabeck, Keyport, Hansville, Southworth, Indianola, Tracyton, and Ollala. The law enforcement agencies within the county are:

  • Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bainbridge Island Police Department
  • Bremerton Police Department
  • Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal
  • Port Orchard Police Department
  • Poulsbo Police Department
  • Suquamish Tribal Police Department. 

Within Kitsap County are also areas of Federal land including the Puget Sound Naval Ship Yard and bases such as Keyport and Bangor. Further north, is also the Suquamish Tribal Court. The Witt Law Group serves all of these areas and is very experienced in handling unique situations that arise from being an active military member or an employee of the shipyard where special security clearance is required.

January 09, 2018

Mason County

Mason County is a fairly rural area in western Washington with a population of approximately 60,000 people. The county seat is Shelton. The District Court is also located in Shelton. The economy in this area is predominantly based on farming, logging and oyster cultivation. However, it is also fondly known as the “Christmas Tree Capital.” This rural area also includes portions of the Olympic National Forest. The larger towns in this country are Allyn-Grapeview, Belfair, Hoodsport, Kimilche, Skokomish, and Union. Smaller areas or neighborhoods are Eldon, Harstine Island, Tahuye, Potlatch, Lilliwaup, and Lake Cushman. There were approximately 860 collisions in 2015 according to the Washington State Annual Collision Survey. Additionally, according to Shelton Police Department and the Mason County Sheriff’s office, there were approximately 65 DUIs in the same year.

January 09, 2018

Pierce County

Pierce County is the 2nd largest county in the state. It has over 800,000 residents and includes many large cities. With the large size and population, it is not surprising that there were more than 13,000 collisions. (Washington State Annual Collision Report 2015)  Some of the cities within Pierce County are Auburn, Bonney Lake, Buckley, Carbonado, DuPont, Eastonville, Edgewood, Fife, Fircrest, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, Milton, Orting, Pacific, Puyallup, Roy, Ruston, Steilacoom, Sumner, Tacoma, University Place, Wilkeson, and South Prairie. 

Due to its large area and population, there are unique legal needs depending on where you live in this county. Frequently, we have clients who are serving in the military at Fort Lewis and they will be concerned about their security clearance or freedom to travel. Others cross the Tacoma Narrows Bridge for employment and a license suspension for a DUI could be devastating on their ability to work. At the Witt Law Group, we consider where you live and how an accident or criminal charge will impact your life, employment, and long term goals.

January 09, 2018

Thurston County

Thurston County is the 7th smallest county in Washington yet is 6th most populated. While a rather small county, Thurston has had its share of driving accidents. Over the last 10 years, more than 200 people lost their lives on Thurston County roads. During the same time, more than 600 people had serious injuries. According to the 2015 Washington State Annual Collision Summary, there were 4,467 collisions in Thurston County. The enforcement agencies within Thurston County are:

  • Thurston County SO
  • Evergreen State College PD
  • Lacey PD
  • Nisqually Tribal PD
  • Olympia Police Department
  • Rainer PD
  • Tenino PD
  • Tumwater PD, and Yelm PD.

The larger cities within Thurston County are Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, Yelm, Tenino, and Rainer. We look forward to serving the residents of Thurston County and are happy to travel to you or work with you via Skype or phone.

January 08, 2018

Wrongful Death

Losing a family member is one of the hardest experiences in life. When that loss is caused by the actions of another, it can become overwhelmingly difficult. The senseless death of a loved one can have so many long term consequences for a family. In the moment of tragedy, it is hard to imagine all of the expenses that will occur. It can be large medical bills, burial costs, loss of income, loss of support for children or dependents, counseling for surviving family members, and many other unexpected losses that are sometimes difficult for the surviving family to articulate. An attorney can help you through this and hire specialists to adequately assess the needs of a family moving forward.

A wrongful death lawsuit can be initiated for many reasons. The death might be caused by medical malpractice, occupational hazards, automobile accidents, criminal behavior and many other reasons. The statute that governs wrongful death cause of action is: RCW 4.20.010

Wrongful Death—Right of Action

When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another his or her personal representative may maintain an action for damages against the person causing the death; and although the death shall have been caused under such circumstances as amount, in law, to a felony.

In situations where the death was caused by the criminal actions of another, the plaintiff will sometimes wait for the completion of a criminal trial or sentencing (if a plea is entered) before seeking recovery. However, this is not necessary and sometimes not advisable. The standard of proof in a civil case for wrongful death is not as high of a burden as the standard of proof in a criminal trial. Therefore, someone can be found liable in a civil case for wrongful death but found not guilty in the criminal case for the same matter. The OJ Simpson case is a perfect example.

If the death of your loved one was due to the negligence or intentional criminal actions of another, it is important that you consult with an attorney early in the process. Civil actions, such as wrongful death, have a statute of limitations that govern how long you can wait to file your case. Those time limitations are not tolled due to a lengthy criminal action. In any wrongful death case, it is important you seek counsel and discuss not only your options for recovery but also what special needs your family may need far into the future. If you have questions about the loss of your loved one and how a wrongful death case will be pursued, please contact our office for a free consultation. 

December 22, 2017

General Negligence

Sometimes the word negligence is used in the context of a criminal charge such as reckless driving. However, in personal injury cases, it is used to describe a situation where a person failed to act with reasonable care. This standard is frequently used in dog bites, drowning, or negligent supervision. It can also be used in motor vehicle accidents and boating accidents. In general negligence cases, the injured party asserts that the at fault party did not act as a reasonably prudent person. The at fault party failed to act with proper or reasonable care.

To prove a negligence case, the attorney must establish that the defendant had a duty to the plaintiff, that duty was breached, the breach was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, and the plaintiff sustained measurable injuries as a result. Negligence cases are common but can be complex. A plaintiff can not recover if the elements of negligence are not provable. If your circumstances or injury warrant a negligence civil suit, it is very important that you speak with an attorney. Meeting the elements of a negligence claim require very specific evidence and you will need legal guidance. If you think you have a negligence claim, please contact our office as soon as possible for a free consultation.

December 22, 2017

Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury is considered a catastrophic injury and usually requires very extensive medical care. Typically, the victim will miss work or need to be retrained for a new career depending on the severity of the situation. In extreme cases, the injured person may not be able to work at all. Traumatic brain injuries can be extremely challenging because it can take a long time to determine if the injured person has a temporary or permanent disability and the extent to which the disability will alter the person’s life. Additionally, any type of brain injury can result in other challenges such as depression or PTSD.

All of these factors must be considered in preparing a personal injury case where the victim sustained a head injury. It is critical that an injured person seek only qualified medical care where the injury and recovery can be accurately documented. Your attorney will also need to be in regular contact with those medical professionals to keep apprised of any changes so that a request for compensation reflects the care you will need today and into the future.

December 22, 2017

Dog Bite

Owning a dog is a serious responsibility. Most of us know that our dogs change over time and can become more protective or aggressive depending on location, age, illness, or guarding of certain family members. Sometimes, if a dog has been abused in its past, it can be triggered by certain people or events. If you own a dog, it is imperative to have proper insurance so that, should a tragic event occur, you are financially prepared. The best course of action is to avoid placing your dog in a situation where it might respond aggressively or out of character.

If you are bit by a dog, it is important to:

  • Get to a safe location
  • Seek medical attention immediately
  • Contact Animal Control or law enforcement immediately
  • Take pictures of the dog and location
  • Maintain records of all medical expenses related to the attack
Your attorney at Witt Law Group will investigate the dog’s past behavior, determine ownership of the dog, determine insurance polices in place, calculate medical care costs for your injuries, determine a reasonable case evaluation including pain and suffering, and negotiate your case with the insurance company.

Dog bite attacks can be some of the most significant injuries we see as attorneys. They include physical and emotional suffering that can last a lifetime. It is even more painful to witness when the attack involves a child. We understand the delicate and emotional nature of these cases. Even if you think an attorney is not necessary, remember that taking the step to have your case evaluated and handled professionally might mean you protect someone else from a similar attack.

Serious injuries from dog bites include:

  • Severe bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Scarring
  • Permanent physical handicap
  • PTSD and other psychological impairment
Dog owners are responsible and liable for their pet’s behavior on and off their property. Unfortunately, our pets are not always safe in every situation. Regardless, it is up to the owner to make sure the public is always safe.

Victims need to be compensated for:

  • Medical bills
  • Loss of income
  • Physical therapy
  • Scar revision
  • Counseling
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Future care
Approximately 4.5 million people are bit by a dog every year and half of dog attack victims are children. Almost 20% of dog bites require medical attention and most attacks occur in everyday interactions with humans the dog already knows.

Naturally, dog bite cases can become very contentious because dog owners are very protective of their pet. Additionally, many of these cases involve neighbors or friends. It is best to let an attorney determine the medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages that need to be negotiated on your behalf. It is important that future care, counseling, or other needs such as scar revision are considered before resolving your case.

The attorneys at Witt Law Group will handle all of the details of your dog bite case. You do not need to deal with the insurance adjusters, the dog’s owner, or manage subrogation to insurance companies. We will take the worry out of the case.

Victims of dog bite attacks often suffer anxiety and PTSD from the attack and this makes it hard to focus on the minutiae of insurance issues. An attorney in your corner will cost you nothing and there will be additional peace of mind that your injuries and bills are taken care of properly.

Contact our office for a no risk and no obligation evaluation of your case. We can review the facts of your case and offer guidance on how to proceed. If you decide to hire us, it costs you nothing. We get paid when you get paid.

Learn more about how personal injury lawyers are paid through contingency fees.

Physics tells us that, in an accident between a car and a bicycle, the car will win. The rules of the road apply equally but the Laws of Physics favor the passenger in the car. While the driver of the car may have no injuries, the bicyclist can sustain life-threatening injuries that he may never fully recover from. For this reason, having experienced legal representation can be critical to understanding just how much you need in a settlement to adequately manage medical needs in the years to come.

Injuries & insurance

When you are a pedestrian or bicyclist you have no physical protection. Your injuries are likely quite substantial and include broken bones, spinal cord injuries, concussion/brain trauma, and soft tissue injuries. If you are not at fault, you are entitled to compensation.

Typically, the avenues for recovery are broader than an auto accident case because there are various insurance policies at play. While there are multiple options for recovery, these cases can be somewhat complex. In terms of liability, the insurance companies will try to shift blame. Despite the driver being distracted with a phone or radio, the insurance company wants to shift at least some of the burden to the pedestrian or bicyclist to reduce their financial responsibility.

In the days and weeks following your accident, there will be some important steps to take. Here is a non-exhaustive list for you to consider:

  • Seek medical attention and follow all advice of medical professionals.
  • With soft-tissue injuries, you are likely going to feel more pain or discomfort in the days following your accident. Keep your doctor updated on your condition.
  • Keep your clothing, bike, cracked helmet, and any other evidence in a safe place. The investigating officer will likely want to examine it and take photos.
  • If you are missing work, keep documentation to establish your loss of income. Get a note from your doctor if you are restricted from work or can only work in a limited capacity.
  • If you are experiencing trauma from the accident and seek a mental health counselor, keep track of bills so that your attorney can help you avoid these bills going to collections.
  • Do not sign documents that you have not reviewed and consulted with legal counsel. Anything you sign can be binding on your case. Often, very kind and compassionate adjusters will call in the days following an accident to have you sign paperwork. Be wary!
  • Finally, unless you enjoy a prolonged insurance headache along with your injuries, you should consider contacting our office immediately following your accident.

Every accident is unique and only a licensed attorney can give you proper legal advice on your case. The consultation is free and you don’t need to travel to our office. Simply call and have your questions answered. You should be focused on healing and we can get to work on everything else. We are available day or night for free consultation. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is my first step after an accident?

Always contact a lawyer. Even if you decide you don’t want to hire a personal injury lawyer, you should be informed of the process that is about to take over your life. It is important to know the tricks that significantly reduce your chances of a positive outcome and could even leave you owing money for the negligence of another.

Do I need a collision report?

Yes, an accident report is very important for establishing liability. It does not rule out challenges that the at-fault driver's insurance may assert regarding liability or allocation of fault but it serves as strong evidence for liability disputes. If you were in an accident and law enforcement did not come to the scene, you can still file a report at Washington State Patrol's website.

Downloadable Collision Report

What are the officers doing at the scene of the accident?

In most cases, law enforcement will come to the scene of an accident and conduct an investigation, make observations, collect witness information, and generate an accident report. Depending on the injuries sustained, the officer will ask the parties to make statements about the accident. This can be a bit tricky. If you are in shock or sustained a concussion, you might not be in the best situation to make accurate statements. Even stating, “I’m sorry” conveyed in compassion that you and the other party are in a terrible situation, can later be used to assert that you meant the statement as an apology for fault. It is always best to avoid any discussion of fault or making any statements that could be used to insinuate acceptance of fault.

I was taken from the scene by ambulance and did not receive an exchange of information or a collision report. What should I do?

Depending on the severity of the injuries, the report should be available via the Washington State Patrol website shortly after the accident. It may take several days or weeks before the officer files the report. If you hire Witt Law Group, we can pull the collision report and any additional information from local law enforcement who may have arrived on scene. Additionally, we will contact the witnesses on your behalf.

How can I help my case?

If you are coherent and able to speak with witnesses, you can ask them to take video and pictures of the scene. They should also try to gather as many names and phone numbers of people who witnessed the accident. If you were unable to get photos of the scene, it might still be possible for you or your attorney to get video from nearby homes or businesses. While an investigating officer should be collecting witness names and numbers as well as pictures, sometimes the scene is chaotic (such as rush hour) and details might be missed or witnesses drive away. It is always best to have more evidence to establish who is the at-fault party. In the absence of clear evidence, insurance companies often try to shift the blame to you.

What if the adjuster already offered me money to settle?

Be very careful about this decision. Whether you are informed or not, you are held to the same standard as a lawyer when it comes to knowing the law on subrogation. This means that you are likely required to pay back all money that was paid on your behalf for care. If you were taken away in an ambulance to the hospital, you may not receive the 4 or 5 bills that will result from that one visit for several months. If you accept a settlement offer of $5,000 but your medical bills subrogation is $10,000, you are on the hook for the additional $5,000 out of your own pocket. Once you agree to settle, you can not go back and ask the insurance company for more money because you did not realize there were thousands of dollars of unpaid medical bills.

Why am I being sent to collections?

Chaos with medical bills and collection is one of the most common reasons new clients contact us. The problem is that the “order of operations” on paying medical providers is very tricky. Believe it or not, the at-fault driver’s insurance is NOT paying your medical bills while you are treating. 

At the end of your case, following a settlement or jury award, your attorney will “pay back” the medical providers’ liens as well as L&I, Medicare, or any other medical insurance liens, or PIP (this process is often referred to as subrogation). Until the case settles, there are several options for avoiding being sent to collections that you can discuss with your lawyer. 

One of the first steps to avoid being sent to collections is to provide the correct insurance policies to your medical team. For example, if you have PIP, you want to provide that policy information immediately to your medical provider because PIP must be exhausted before your medical insurance or Medicare/Medicaid can begin paying your bills during the duration of the case. If you make this mistake, all billing will have to be reimbursed and re-billed in the proper order. Do not try to handle this process alone. Most often, injury victims will injure their credit in the process.

What type of damages can I recover?

Pain and suffering is the most obvious claim for damages but that category covers a lot of things. It can include all the ways in which your pain impacted your previously normal life. Perhaps you can no longer be intimate with your partner due to neck or back pain and you can’t lift your young children. Perhaps you missed out on a family vacation to Disneyland because you are no longer able to join in on rides. There are many short and long term consequences to living with pain that may fall under this category.

Medical expenses is the category that scares people the most. If you were in a car accident and went right to the emergency department to be checked out, you are likely looking at $3,000-$7,000 in bills depending on how many X-rays or other imaging was ordered. If you went via ambulance, you can add another thousand to that total. Medical bills quickly add up. If you include follow-up care like chiropractic or physical therapy, you could be looking at $10,000 more in bills. Contrary to popular belief, the insurance company does not just pay 3x medical and the more you rack up in bills does not equate to a higher settlement.

Medical care must be within reason and, if you go over the reasonable medical care for your type of injury, it is likely you will be paying out of your own pocket. There are a lot of moving parts after an accident and it is critical that you understand what the reasonable limits are on certain injuries and how subrogation (pay back) works for your unique case. We will need to know whether you have medical insurance, PIP, UM/UIM, and determine all sources of insurance so that we can give you advice on how your case might resolve financially. If you would like to know more about PIP benefits, check out our PIP link.

Lost wages and loss of opportunity for advancement, bonuses, and other compensation are all common losses that occur after an accident. Most people handling their own case fail to maximize this aspect of their claim. If you had to leave work to attend physical therapy or spend long hours on the road to get to your medical provider, you can also claim medical travel and treatment time. Don’t miss out on being compensated for your time.

Check out our pre-meeting checklist to see if you have your necessary documents

Can my lawyer make more money than me?

This can happen at other firms. At Witt Law Group, we have never accepted more compensation than our clients receive. We will literally move our money to your column if it looks like a settlement will be unfair. Good luck trying to get another firm to put that in writing.

If you want to know how personal injury attorneys get paid, check out our Fees link. It is your injury and your settlement so it makes sense that you want to know if you will come out ahead. On some small accidents, the settlement may not be large and it’s important to know that you will be the priority in terms of physical and financial recovery.

Do lawyers specialize in personal injury?

Lawyers who help accident victims understand Tort law. This area of law is extremely broad but it essentially covers wrongs or injuries done to an innocent person. There are unique elements of each claim but the lawyer has to address each case with consideration for the duty, the breach of duty, causation, and injury.

The most common sticking point in most personal injury cases is causation. From the start, the at-fault party’s insurance will claim that it was not their insured’s fault, there was contributory fault, or the injuries claimed are not related at all to the accident. Even when an officer provides an accident report, the third party adjuster will argue facts and theories that have nothing to do with the reality of the accident. If the adjuster will not accept the reality of the situation, the injured person’s attorney may have no choice but to file a lawsuit.

Why hire Witt Law Group?

Every client has a story to tell. We want to tell yours. 

No accident is the same and, therefore, the impact to your life is unique. The details of that impact might unfold immediately or it may take some time to discover just how much you have lost. We will work patiently with you so that we capture your authentic story. Whether you lose your ability to make a living or need long-term care, one thing is for sure, your life will change after an accident. It is important that you have passionate advocates fighting for you. 

The insurance companies report billions in profits every year because their job is to report to shareholders. To be successful in this endeavor, they must pay the least amount of money to accident victims. Profit is the bottom line. You can help their shareholders or you can let us look out for your future. 

Personal injury accidents are personal for the attorneys at Witt Law Group. We will take on the stress of dealing with the insurance adjusters, the investigation, and managing the tedious task of medical bills and ledgers. Your job is to heal and our job is to make sure you receive the best settlement or jury award possible for the pain, injuries, and inconvenience you had to endure.

Do you need more reasons to hire us? See our reviews.

Get help now

Whether you choose to handle your case alone or you hire the Witt Law Group, get educated and prepared. There are so many factors that occur in the early part of your case that can dictate whether you will end up with a fair recovery. Remember that a consultation is free and worth your time. You will likely discover that the earlier you get an attorney involved in the process, the easier the transition back to normal life. Your attorney will take over all contact with the insurance adjuster and keep track of your treatment providers and bills. Your job is to heal. Our job is to present your injuries and damages to the insurance companies and argue for a fair settlement that accurately reflects the pain and damages you’ve suffered.