Frequently Asked Questions
Quality answers to your pressing legal questions
At Soloman Law we want to make sure you have all the information to make a confident, well-informed decision.
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After any accident, you should call the police to investigate the collision. You should also contact your insurance company. If you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, your insurance carrier should help with your initial out-of-pocket expenses, such as medical bills, wage loss and essential services. You may also have a claim for general damages for pain and suffering if you have sustained painful and lingering injuries. And remember that you have the right to competent, aggressive legal representation to help you deal with the insurance company and help you receive a fair settlement. Do not wait to seek legal help. Often, insurance adjusters will get you to make statements or sign documents that will prejudice your claim. At Soloman Law, we can begin handling your case with just one call.
|If you were injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you probably have a claim worthy of hiring legal representation. With one call to Soloman Law, we can set up a free no-obligation consultation in your home, office or other place convenient to you. During this consultation, we usually ask a number of questions to better understand your case: was the accident or injury the fault of another party’s negligence? Did you suffer injuries and incur related medical costs? Did your injuries result in permanent disabilities or disfigurement (such as scars)? Did the negligent party have insurance coverage at the time of the accident? Did you have insurance (including uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage) on your vehicle at the time of the accident? If you were a passenger, did the owner of the vehicle have insurance? Based on the responses to these questions and others, we can tell you early on if you have a case worth pursuing.|
|Many people wonder what kind of compensation they can expect from their case. The value of your claim depends on many factors, such as the nature, extent and duration of your injuries, the amount of your medical bills, lost wages and the ultimate outcome of the healing process (especially if the injuries are permanent). Once we have thoroughly investigated your accident and injuries, we then have the necessary information to know the value of your claim and begin to negotiate a fair settlement for your case.|
|It may take several months or even a year or two. Why? Our first priority is to help you get the medical care you need. Once you recover from your injuries, it is then appropriate to discuss settlement options. You should remember that once you settle your case, you sign a final release giving up any further claim. Therefore, it is extremely important that your medical providers have determined the full extent of your injuries and that you have completed all necessary medical treatment. We successfully resolve most cases within a few months after treatment is complete. If litigation becomes necessary, the process is longer due to procedural rules and the inherent delays of the civil justice system.|
|By law, your insurance company can only raise your rates if you were responsible for an accident or if your actions contributed to an accident. If you believe an insurance company has inappropriately raised your premiums, you may contact your state’s Department of Insurance and file a complaint.|
|If your injury was caused by the negligence of another person, you can file a personal injury lawsuit seeking financial compensation for all of the damages, losses and expenses you suffer as a result.|
|You can still file a personal injury lawsuit if you are partially to blame as long as another party was more at fault than you. Your settlement amount might be reduced depending on how at fault you were, however.|
|If your spouse, child or parent was killed in an accident, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their estate. This can be especially important if you were financially dependent on this person or wish to hold the guilty party accountable.|
|In Washington state, you only have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you exceed this time limit because you were unaware of your injuries, call our office to find out if you can still file a claim.|
|Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that we provide our services without receiving any compensation unless you receive a settlement. If you do, we receive a percentage of the financial award agreed upon ahead of time.|
|You could receive compensation for all of your current and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, rehabilitation expenses and any other ways that your life and finances have been affected by your accident and injuries.|
|Noneconomic damages are losses you experience that don’t have an obvious financial value. Pain and suffering, damage done to your marriage and personal relationships and decreased enjoyment of life are all examples of these damages.|
|This is not within your best interests because the insurance company will do whatever they can to pay you as little as possible. Without an attorney, you risk accepting an unfair settlement that will leave you paying out of pocket later.|
|Not necessarily. If you hire our law firm, we will build your case and negotiate with the other side in order to reach a fair settlement. If successful, you won’t need to go to court. Trial will only be necessary if they fail to take your claim seriously.|
|Most collision claims can be resolved by dealing directly with either your own insurance company or the adverse driver’s insurance company. You have the right to a rental car paid by the liability insurer while your vehicle is being repaired. You have the right to be compensated for depreciated value due to the vehicle being in a collision. You also have the right to use a repair shop of your choosing over the insurance company’s “authorized” repair shop. If your car is totaled by the accident, you are entitled to the fair market value of your vehicle plus tax and title. At Soloman Law, we can help you with the depreciated value and property damage portion of your claim. When choosing our firm you can rest assured you’ll be fully represented in every element and aspect of your case.|
|We hope this personal injury FAQ section answered your questions. If not, please do not hesitate to call us at 206-355-4555 or complete the consultation request form to speak with Soloman Law. We can protect your rights and work to get you as much money as possible for your injuries.|
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Either spouse can seek dissolution of the marriage. The state of Washington is a no fault divorce state, meaning neither party is faulted for seeking a dissolution of the marriage. Regardless of who petitions the court for the dissolution, both spouses have an equal right to the marital property and custody of any minor children. Once the initial summons and petition for dissolution of marriage is filed/served, there is a mandatory 90-day waiting period before the dissolution of marriage action can be finalized.
The first thing that you need to do is decide how you want to proceed. If your spouse has already filed, this may limit some of your options.
This is a cooperative process whereby the parties, their lawyers and other third-party professionals (if necessary) work together and engage in meaningful dialog with the intention of resolving all issues. The collaborative process involves several multi-party meetings with the goal being: to identify/work through all issues; to explore alternatives in how to address these issues; to work toward an agreement that is acceptable to both husband and wife. Collaborative professionals are educated in the collaborative divorce process as well as interest-based negotiation. Collaborative lawyers assist the parties to work productively to find agreements that meet the real interests of both spouses.
Both lawyers need to be trained in the collaborative law process, which may eliminate this as an option if your spouse has already engaged an attorney who has not undergone this specialized training.
|Divorce mediation is a process in which divorcing parties attempt to negotiate an acceptable divorce agreement with the assistance of a trained mediator as an objective third party. The mediator helps the parties to communicate and negotiate, but he/she is not permitted to make any decisions for the parties. It is not the mediator’s job to resolve problems or force an agreement. Instead, he/she helps the parties come to an agreement by acting as an intermediary.|
|Litigation is a legal process. In a divorce situation, the parties may each choose their own lawyer to represent him/her throughout the dissolution of marriage process. The communications, correspondence and exchange of documents/information all is done through the parties’ lawyers. Litigation often involves what is called discovery; specifically, an exchange of financial documents/information. Discovery includes, but is not limited to, interrogatories, requests for production of documents and depositions. The court process can include motions, status conferences, pre-trial conferences and (if necessary) trial, which finalizes the dissolution of marriage and decides all issues in the divorce.|
|You can choose to proceed without legal representation. In situations where the marriage is short term, there are no children and there is agreement on how you want to divide the assets, this might be a reasonable and cost-effective approach. You could also engage an attorney to prepare the documents under a limited legal service agreement. As the marriage becomes longer with more community and separate property and debt issues, children needing comprehensive parenting plans, possible spousal maintenance or child support and especially when there is an abusive or violent home environment, the need for an attorney greatly increases.|
|There are essentially four (4) major issues in a divorce action: (1) property/debt distribution; (2) parenting issues (custody and/or the residential schedule); (3) child support; and (4) spousal maintenance. (When there are no minor children at issue, parenting issues and child support are not addressed.)|
|The Washington courts divide property/liability equitably with each spouse receiving roughly half of all marital assets/debts. Marital assets are defined as property acquired during the marriage. Marital debts are defined as debt incurred during the marriage. Assets a spouse acquired before the marriage and any family inheritance received during the marriage are separate property. Generally speaking, separate property is not subject to division between the spouses.|
|A custody order is called a parenting plan. A court uses the “best interest of the child” standard to determine which parent should be the primary custodial parent and/or what the visitation schedule should be. Factors examined to determine what is in the child/children’s best interest include, but are not limited to: who has been the child/children’s primary attachment figure; each parent’s home environment; any special needs that the child/children may have; etc.|
|The courts determine child support based on the parents’ total income. The child support transfer payment is then proportioned based on each parent’s contribution to the total combined income of the parents. The child support calculation is governed by the Washington state child support schedule.|
|Spousal maintenance, formerly titled alimony, allows for the requesting spouse to provide for his/her basic needs, including housing, utilities, food, transportation, etc. The Washington courts apply several factors to determine whether spousal support is to be awarded. These include: the duration of the marriage; the discrepancy in income between the parties, weighing both spouse’s assets, income, and ability to earn income; whether or not the requesting spouse requires training/education to become financially self-sufficient; and the requesting party’s age and health. The amount of the spousal maintenance awarded and the duration of time during which spousal maintenance is to be paid are determined at the discretion of the court on a case-by-case basis.|
The ability of your divorce attorney to evaluate your family law case is determined by the quality and accuracy of the information that you provide to your attorney. If you are considering divorce, start gathering the following documents. Please keep in mind that very few clients are able to gather all of this information prior to the first meeting.
- Current paycheck stubs for both spouses.
- Last year’s state (if applicable) and federal income tax returns.
- Copies of titles to vehicles or vehicle registrations (including automobiles, boats, trailers, motorcycles, etc.).
- Any descriptions of job benefits provided by employers, for both spouses.
- Pension, profit sharing and retirement information, including yearly statements showing value of interest in the plan and a copy of the plan summary.
- Life, disability and health insurance policies.
- Statements from checking and savings accounts, stock certificates, bonds and savings certificates.
- A list of current debts (mortgages, charge accounts, dental, hospital or doctor bills, furniture payments, car payments, etc.) — include a copy of the last statement and the date of the last payment.
- If you own your own business, a copy of the business income and b&o tax records.
- Any written community property agreement you have with your spouse.
- A list of your questions so that the attorney has an opportunity to address all of your concerns.
Your initial consultation is an opportunity for you and the family law attorney to meet and discuss your case. During this discussion you can decide whether or not you are comfortable with the attorney and our firm.
This is your chance to ask questions and see how the divorce lawyer evaluates your case. The more information you provide at the consultation, the better the lawyer can educate you about your case. You can expect the divorce attorney to discuss the application of family law to your situation, the strengths and weaknesses of your divorce case, timelines for your case, provide an estimate of the cost involved and explain the billing process and office procedures.
Because we provide a high degree of attention to each family law client, we are not able to accept all of the divorce cases brought to us. If we decide that we cannot provide you with the best representation, we will gladly provide the names of several attorneys that may be better suited for your case.
|Every noncustodial parent is required to pay child support. The amount of support you pay is determined by several factors and can be modified under certain circumstances.|
|Several factors are considered when calculating child support. Every case is different, so it is best to work with an attorney to determine an up-to-date order.|
|You can file a motion for an adjustment of child support or file a petition for a modification of child support. There is no guarantee that the court will change your order as you must meet specific legal criteria.|
|The parenting plan states where the child will live, how much time each parent will spend with the child, who will make major decisions and how disputes will be resolved.|
|Every case is unique. The court considers many factors with the most important being the best interests of the child. Joint custody is possible, but other options may be explored given the nature and relationship each parent has with the child.|
Paternity results can lead to child support and child custody issues. Paternity can be established in a few ways, including:
- Presumption of paternity if the parents are married or were married near the time of birth
- Both parents sign an acknowledgement of paternity
- The father is determined by court order
|We are professionals in our field. We find that the advice clients receive from non-attorneys often establishes unrealistic expectations or fears in our clients since this kind of advice is often inaccurate or subject to misinterpretation. Our approach to your family law case is tailored to the unique facts of your case. If you are getting divorce law advice from others, please let your attorney know. As your case proceeds, the attorney will be happy to explain the reasons for the procedures that we follow and the decisions that we make.|
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Our team continues to stay on the cutting-edge of injury and family law advocacy and legal representation by adhering to these core values.