Practice Areas – Injuries

Birth Injury

Hospitals have the obligation to hire and supervise their employees in such a manner as to insure that the health care provided meets reasonable standards, and to take reasonable steps to insure the safety of patients who receive care at the hospital. Hospitals will often be liable for errors of the nursing staff, and for various services such as radiology, pathology, anesthesia, the pharmacy and emergency room treatment. The hospital may also be liable for inadequate monitoring of patients or for failure to take reasonable steps to avoid birth trauma during delivery.

Head Injury & Brain Injury

What makes us human is the ability to think, reason, communicate with our loved ones, and survive in a modern world. A substantial brain injury can be devastating. People may be comatose for lengthy periods of time. They may not be able to work ever again. Long term friendships, marriage, and other relationships may change or even end. People with substantial brain injury may be financially vulnerable. At DawsonBrownPS we are familiar with such injuries and take pride in not only obtaining a fair resolution of the case, but also recommending safeguards so that the settlement proceeds are protected for the person who was injured.

Sometimes brain injury is described as “mild”. Insurers faced with such claims often balk at paying what we believe is a fair settlement. We believe that the term “mild brain injury” is misleading. Often we have had clients with so called “mild” brain injury say “I am not the same person I was before. Everything, and I mean everything, is different.” We work very hard on such claims to make it clear to the insurance company, and to the jury if necessary, what impact the injury has had on the injured person, and on his or her family.

DawsonBrownPS attorneys have experience with “mild” brain injury claims. We have invested in some sophisticated tools for conveying to the jury the nature and extent of a specific brain injury, including a animation on a cellular level of diffuse axonal shearing and a very expensive and detailed model of the brain. We work extensively with neuropsychologists, neurologists, and other experts that provide medical care to our clients, and who then testify to prove the claim.

There are many other injuries to the head that can cause pain and disability, such as skull fractures and cranial nerve injuries. These can be present at the same time as a brain injury or independently. We have experience with these injuries too.

> Brain damage
> Skull fractures
> Nerve injuries

Burn Injury

There is perhaps no more painful and frightening injury than a major burn. For generations one of the worst fates was to be “damned to burn in the fires of hell for all eternity”. In our experience those who have gone through a major burn describe the experience as lasting an “eternity”. You don’t have to spend much time in the burn unit at Harborview, with its insulated walls meant to reduce the screams of the burn patients, to understand a bit about what a burn injury means. Dealing with the pain of the burn, the scar formation and the medical consequences of that, and the change in the relationship you have with your own body after a major burn are all things that the lawyer must be able to communicate in order to fairly settle the claim, or go to trial if necessary. DawsonBrownPS lawyers are familiar with burn injuries, and have the experience and resources to thoroughly litigate such claims to a successful conclusion.

Personal Injury

Medical malpractice claims are among the most complex, hotly contested, and expensive forms of personal injury litigation. The investigation and proof of such a claim can only be made with the assistance of highly qualified professional consultants in the given field. attorneys have experience handling medical malpractice claims for plaintiffs. We carefully screen all such cases to insure that we undertake only meritorious cases with significant damages. If you feel we could be of assistance to you, we would be happy to discuss your case.

Premises Liability Cases - Typically Fall Cases

When an injury occurs on the premises owned by another person it may be necessary to make a premises liability claim. In many cases there is insurance available under a premises insurance policy that will pay for medical bills. If the owner or operator of the premises has been negligent then you may be able to make a claim for the harm caused by the negligent conduct that caused the injury. For example, if a person knows that his deck is rotten, and lets a large group of people go out on the deck, that person may be liable if the deck collapses due to the rotten deck. In that case you might be able to recover your lost wages and for the pain and suffering that occurred because of the injury.

Some people think that you can sue for pain and suffering simply because a fall occurs and they were hurt. That is not the case. The owner or operator of the property must have done something that was negligent, something that a reasonable owner or operator of the property would not have done, which caused the fall. Often the fall will have occurred due to conditions which arise or change quickly, and expert testimony will be required to prove the fault of the land owner. For these reasons, juries often rule against the plaintiff in premises liability cases.

Where there has been major harm under caused by a dangerous condition, has the experience and resources to successfully handle such cases.

Recreational Injuries

The recreational activities which we and our children all enjoy often require adequate training and supervision if they are to be carried out with safety. Moreover, the premises and equipment for the activities must be properly selected and designed to avoid unreasonable risk of harm. Often we entrust our safety during recreational activities to “expert” guides, instructors, and monitors. Recovery for injuries sustained during recreational activities will often require specialized expertise in the specific sport. Recovery is also complicated by legislation which may limit liability for injuries on land which is held open to the public.

DawsonBrownPS has experience and training in skydiving, scuba diving, mountain climbing, ocean and inland boating activities, advanced yacht and aircraft composite construction, and ocean navigation. A attorney has successfully presented claims for such diverse subject matter as death during scuba diving instruction, and pilot error during skydiving.

Nursing Home Claims

There are many fine nursing homes where competent and caring nursing home care is provided to our parents and grandparents. Occasionally though, nursing homes do not provide reasonable care, and as a result, some of our most vulnerable and valued friends and relatives are harmed. When nursing home negligence or neglect is suspected there are ways to help protect those who must still reside there, compensate for the harm done, and help ensure that such harm does not happen to anyone else.

Construction Site Injuries

Most construction projects are completed successfully without a death or serious injury. However, construction work is dangerous and if the general contractor does not insure the safety of the workplace then death or serious injury may well occur. There is substantial law in the State of Washington regarding the duties of the various parties on a construction project. Some employers or entities may be immune from claims. Other claims are covered solely by Workers Compensation Laws (L & I). The investigation of these claims can be complex and involve employers or contractors who do not want to accept responsibility for their actions. However, if the case involves a death or disabling injury then it is extremely important to conduct an immediate thorough investigation to exhaust every possibility of recovery for the injured worker and their family. This will frequently involve the employment of experts, investigators, numerous immediate witness interviews, and the analysis of thousands of pages of contract and project documents.

DawsonBrownPS attorneys have experience with construction site injury claims.

Injuries on the Job / Machinery

When injuries occur on the job and are caused by your employer or a co-worker then you generally cannot sue your employer or co-worker for damages. You will be limited to the benefits available under the Workers Compensation Laws. There are some exceptions to this rule. DawsonBrownPS does not handle Labor & Industry claims, but we can refer you to an attorney who will help you with such claims.

However, sometimes a jobsite injury is caused by a “third party” such as a subcontractor, the general contractor or other corporation, or perhaps by another driver who crashes into the person who is on the job. In that case the injured party may be able to bring a third party claim against the subcontractor, corporation or other driver that injured them. It may also be true that the injury is caused by unsafe or poorly designed machinery. Such third party claims can result in a vastly larger settlement or verdict than would be obtained in a Worker’s Compensation claim. DawsonBrownPS attorneys have experience with these third party claims in on the job injury cases.

Spinal Injury

Specific spinal injuries listed below:


Quadriplegia is the paralysis of all four limbs. It is obviously an extremely devastating injury. Coming back from such an injury requires incredible personal courage, substantial medical assistance, and sufficient financial resources. In these cases in particular the lawyer can make a difference in the person’s life, a difference that may affect the person’s quality of life for a lifetime.

While it is true that money won’t make the injury go away, it can make a difference in the person’s quality of life. It can be used to purchase a standing table so the person can stand up. People who take walking for granted don’t know how much it means just to be able to change position once in a while. Money can be used to make a house wheelchair accessible. One DawsonBrownPS client once told his attorney at the open house that was built with the proceeds from the jury verdict to “follow him”. The client led the attorney to the master bathroom, which had a shower that was wheelchair accessible. The client said “This is the best part of the house. I have not had a shower in four years and now I can shower whenever I want. You don’t know how good that feels.”

Money can buy medicine and devices to help control the pain that comes with the spasticity that sometimes accompanies quadriplegia. Money can buy the incredibly expensive wheelchairs that need to be replaced often given the hard use they receive. Money can alter a van so that the person can get back out into the world. Money can purchase household help for the things that the person can no longer do. It means personal dignity, greater independence, and a higher quality of life.

When you have suffered severe harm such as quadriplegia, you can be sure that the insurance companies will oppose your claim with experienced attorneys and vast financial resources. You may be sure that their attorneys are not defending such cases for the first time. It is essential for you to select legal counsel who are experienced in handling cases like yours. DawsonBrownPS has such experiences.


Paraplegia is paralysis of both lower extremities and, generally, the lower trunk. While the person may have use of their arms and hands, the injury is devastating. Coming back from such an injury requires incredible personal courage, substantial medical assistance, and sufficient financial resources. In these cases in particular the lawyer can make a difference in the person’s life, a difference that may affect the person’s quality of life for a lifetime.

DawsonBrownPS has experience with paraplegia claims and are familiar with how vigorously they are defended by insurance companies. Taking on such experiences requires experience, substantial financial resources, and the stamina to see the claim through to conclusion.

Herniated Discs

There are many types of spinal injuries. A fairly common type of injury is when one or more of the spinal discs herniates. A herniation occurs when the fibrous outer covering of the disc (the “annulus”) ruptures and the interior of the disc (the nucleus pulposus) extrudes through the annulus of the disc. This extrusion can cause pressure on the nerve roots that come out of the spine and serve the rest of the body. In the neck a cervical disc extrusion can put pressure on the nerve roots that serve the arms and cause numbness, tingling, and weakness. In the low back a lumbar disc extrusion can put pressure on the nerve roots that serve the legs and cause numbness, tingling and weakness. In appropriate cases surgery is necessary to reduce these symptoms.

The surgeries to correct herniated discs are major surgery and should only be done when the circumstances warrant it. The medical bills can be substantial (typically $20,000 to $50,000) and the recuperation time significant. These surgeries are done because the surgeon feels that the surgery will improve function and reduce the symptoms. However, these surgeries permanently the alter the spine and are expected under the best of circumstances to leave the person with some residual problems.

DawsonBrownPS lawyers are very familiar with herniated disc claims and how to prove them effectively.

Ligament & Tendon Injury

The spine is held tightly in place by ligaments. These ligaments are part of what holds our joints together and helps the parts move smoothly and pain free. Injury to ligaments in the spine can vary from a fairly modest stretching injury that heals in a few days to the severing of ligaments that hold the spinal vertebrae together.

Your physician should look at any ligament injury. For those ligament injuries that are significant, a DawsonBrownPS attorney can give you advice on what your options are and how you might proceed.


The amputation of an arm or leg is a devastating injury. It affects all areas of one’s life and is an injury that is often followed by pain, disability, and depression. We are familiar with the resources available to amputees for putting their lives back together and regaining some control over their life. And we know how to document and prove convincingly the life altering consequences of such disasters.


Our skeletal system is a wonderful thing to study. That system has such remarkable shapes, sizes, and types of bones. But the joints, those are what allow us to walk, run, lift our children, work, and play. Each joint is different, with different joint surfaces, capsules, nerves, muscles and much more. There are ligaments that attach bone to bone and tendons that attach muscle to bone. All of these things hold the joints together tightly so that the joint can do its job and reduce the wear and tear.

Trauma can injure these joint structures. At DawsonBrownPS we work hard to make sure that the nature of the injury is understood and illustrated. In fact, we commonly use a graphics artist to depict injuries to the body so that the jury will understand how your body was injured and why that injury causes pain. If the insurance company knows that your attorney will be able to explain your injury effectively to a jury then the case is more likely to settle out of court for a fair amount.

Wrongful Death

When the harm is death, disfigurement, or disabling injury, the ultimate settlement or jury verdict should be substantial. Collecting that settlement or verdict is one way to help the catastrophically injured person put their life back together. Often insurance is the only way that the verdict or settlement will be paid.

But insurance law is complex and fact intensive. Sometimes determining what insurance coverage will apply is counterintuitive. Sometimes insurers are less than candid about disclosing what insurance coverage actually applies to a specific claim, or may even fail to admit that an insurance policy exists. Sometimes a significant factual investigation must be done before it can be determined what insurance coverage will apply. We have seen quite a few times over the years where even experienced lawyers have not uncovered all the insurance that applies to a specific claim. When a death or severe injury has occurred it is extremely important that all the insurance coverage that applies to the claim is uncovered, and the proper benefits paid.

Vision & Hearing Loss

The eye is an amazing part of the body, as is the process that allows us to see. When that gift is taken by the wrongful act of others, we believe that the loss is great. And this loss is no less just because there may still be sight in the other eye. Such a person is then at risk for total blindness if disease or injury should compromise that remaining sight. If the compensation is really to match the loss, then the settlement or verdict should be substantial.

Our hearing is also a vital part of our body. Hearing loss, if it occurs, usually comes with growing older. However, trauma can cause hearing loss or damage. Damage to the inner ear can also cause balance and other problems. DawsonBrownPS attorneys have experience with vision and hearing loss claims.

> Blindness or Eye Injury
> Traumatic Hearing Loss