The Harper Law Blog

The Harper Law Blog offers news, announcements, thoughts and articles on life, law and our practice areas of emphasis.

Personal Injury Settlement for $2.75 million

Posted Tuesday, November 01, 2022 by Ed Harper

Recently, Ed Harper of Harper Law PLLC teamed with David Crump of The Crump Law Firm representing a young mother of three who was seriously injured due to a Washington State Dept. of Transportation (WSDOT) employee who made an illegal U-turn on State Route 522 causing her vehicle to roll several times. Thankfully, she and her 2 1/2 year old son were able to be extricated.

The State of Washington admitted liability for the crash and paid the sum of $2.75 million to resolve this claim two weeks short of trial.

Ed and David were prepared to go to trial and were honored to represent this young mother in her battle against the State which had denied liability until three weeks before the scheduled trial date.

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Uninsured & Underinsured Coverage - UIM - Auto Insurance that is a necessity

Posted Thursday, July 29, 2021 by Ed Harper

Uninsured & Underinsured Coverage - UIM - Auto Insurance that is a necessityRecently in our office we have been reminded of how important uninsured/uninsured(UIM) motorist coverage is for protecting oneself financially stemming from the effects of a motor vehicle crash. Our client was injured through no fault of his own by an uninsured driver who crashed head-on into his vehicle. The other driver was clearly at fault and driving negligently. Our client had no other resources than the UIM coverage he had purchased on his own automobile insurance. The medical bills were quite large and due to poor health insurance coverage, the funds from the minimum limits UIM coverage barely covered his medical bills he incurred. The blessing in this however is the fact he had obtained the UIM coverage, or he would have had no ability to recover and pay for these bills. Studies have shown here in the State of Washington, according to a leading insurance company in Washington, 17.4% of all motor vehicle collisions were the fault of uninsured drivers. Thus, there is almost a 20% chance the collision you or your loved one will be or may have been in will be caused by an uninsured driver. This percentage has risen through the years in Washington even though the State Legislature in 1963 made it mandatory for one to have automobile insurance.UM or UIM coverage is important, and our state legislature has written the law in a manner which supports the courts to find coverage. Any question of coverage goes with the insured person. Then, when the claim is made to the insurance carrier, the UIM carrier steps into the shoes of the at-fault driver and takes on the responsibility for compensating the injured person as if the at-fault driver was settling the claim. (The insurance carrier will have claims against the at-fault driver if they desire to re-coup the money they have to pay out.)Further, with insurance limits of $25,000/$50,000 in Washington, the Underinsured Motorist benefits will often be necessary to provide full compensation. The UIM coverage stacks on top of the at-fault insurance policy in order to obtain complete relief for the injuries. Making these claims is often necessary as the cost of health care and costs related to personal injury claims continue to rise for the injured person.When making a UM/UIM claim, one can recover for these medical expenses, wage loss and other expenses and the UIM coverage protects you financially for these unforeseen circumstances.This coverage is not mandatory but highly encouraged. The amount varies depending on the coverage you would like to purchase. However, typically one has the same amount of UIM coverage as the amount of liability coverage one has on their policy.The bottom line is - When one is injured in a collision caused by a person without insurance, or is underinsured, Uninsured (UM) and Underinsured (UIM) Motorist Coverage may be the only avenue to recoup your losses.

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Damages in a Personal Injury Claim in State of Washington

Posted Monday, June 15, 2020 by Ed Harper

Please find the standard jury instruction(s) for the measure of damages for an injured person. There are several categories, and each can provide an avenue for the plaintiff to recover. Let us at Harper Law provide you with answers if you have questions regarding your personal injury claim.It is the duty of the court to instruct you as to the measure of damages. Byinstructing you on damages the court does not mean to suggest for which party yourverdict should be rendered.If your verdict is for the plaintiff, then you must determine the amount of moneywhich will reasonably and fairly compensate the plaintiff for such damages as you findwere proximately caused by the negligence of the defendant and/or unidentified driver.You should consider the following economic damage elements:1. The reasonable value of necessary medical care, treatment andservices received to the present time.2. The reasonable value of necessary medical care, treatment, andservices with reasonable probability to be required in the future.3. The reasonable value of earnings, earning capacity, salaries, employment, earning opportunities lost to the present time.4. The reasonable value of earnings, earning capacity, salaries, employment, earning opportunities with reasonable probability to be lost in the future. In addition, you should consider the following non-economic damage elements:5. The nature and extent of the injuries.6. The disability and disfigurement experienced and with reasonableprobability to be experienced in the future.7. The pain and suffering, both mental and physical, experiencedand with reasonable probability to be experienced in the future.8. The loss of enjoyment of life experienced and with reasonableprobability to be experienced in the future.The burden of proving damages rests upon the plaintiff and it is for you todetermine, based upon the evidence, whether any particular element has been proved by a preponderance of the evidence.

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Book Recommendation: The Road to Character

Posted Wednesday, May 20, 2020 by Ed Harper

After praying, the Lord put it on my heart to write a brief review of The Road to Character by David Brooks, c. 2015, Random House. The book deals with morality and ethics. Despite the countless Christian themes, it is my understanding that Brooks is not an evangelical; he attended Episcopal school, but was raised in the Jewish tradition. He treads the line between Christian and Jewishness.

Despite this, the book does provide insight into a spiritual battle—Man’s universal battle against sin, as well the struggle we all face in putting our needs behind and subservient to a high calling on our lives. He compares Adam I (the one who fell) and Adam II (the man we want to be). As Christians, we look to Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

I highly recommend this book because of David Brooks’ insight into the human condition. Brooks writes roughly nine short biographies on people from all walks of life. He points out their character flaws, and how each person faced their limits and, in various ways, overcame those limits. He also points out that “eulogy virtues” are superior to “resumé virtues” and I agree. Brooks also states that through our failures we gain success by gaining humility, and through our success we gain failure by becoming prideful. The book deals with the growth of character, of obtaining and maintaining “good” character traits. As Christians we recognize our character is the work God does in us through sanctification. As Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (emphasis added).

The downside of this book for me was that many of the chapters seemed to stray from the general premise of struggling for a high calling. Some chapters were about individuals who selfishly lived hedonistic lives. They ultimately did not find true salvation in the cross, but a false salvation in their own hard work and effort. Brooks applauds them for this effort, and for that I was saddened. I first read this book four years ago and it transformed me. I continue to pick up this book periodically, or listen to my Audible copy. David Brooks’ superb analysis reminds me of the cycle of redemption and the struggles we all fight daily.

Covenant Presbyterian Church - Issaquah

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So you want to be a lawyer - some advice from Ed Harper

Posted Friday, May 01, 2020 by Ed Harper

I recently was asked about pursuing a career in law. Here are some thoughts I provided. Pursuing a law degree is a great goal and admirable in this day and age. So first decide that you want to do this and pursue this. It is a challenge and you have to be 100% invested because it is a huge challenge. You can do it, you just have to be sold out on completing this task. Kind of like a new Marine recruit – getting through boot camp. Seeing the goal on the other side gives you the impetus to finish.

Second, ascertain what areas of law interest you. If you have always enjoyed some aspect of the corporate environment, or civic life or even the political world, may provide you with an area you can go into.

Third, try and obtain an internship or volunteer position in one of these areas of law. There are so many aspects of the law, you likely can find something or someone doing what you picture yourself doing. For example, if you want to be a litigator, and have some interest in medicine, there are law firms that focus on medical malpractice, or professional negligence within medicine. You may ask around and discover who does this and if they need a file clerk or some position you could volunteer for with them. Also, places such as the prosecutor’s office, or the public defender’s office may take volunteers too if they are not actually hiring. There is a group called the Christian Legal Society with a chapter at most law schools. Here is the email for them. CLS Seattle – that may be a good place to start and finding Christian Attorneys .

Fourth, network. Ask the law schools you are interested in and see if they have positions or a job board or volunteer board. One aspect of choosing a law school is to determine if they have a special focus on an area of law you want to pursue. Some of the law reviews are specifically tailored for a certain area of law for example. The three in state law schools are UW; Seattle U. and Gonzaga. Or you can find other law schools that may interest you. Networking can include the Wash. State Bar Assoc. the group that approves you are ready after passing the Bar Exam. They have job boards too you can check out.

Fifth, in a year of a Presidential election, the political parties will need volunteers to help run the campaigns. You can get great experience working with one of them or maybe a public interest group that has an initiative on the ballot. Just getting to know people in an area of law – it takes time but can be valuable.

Hope that helps – and just jumping in takes courage and a little focus to jump into the right area.

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