Frequently Asked Questions

There are many aspects of personal injury and employment discrimination related issues that make them not only stressful, but confusing to understand. We’ve taken the time to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that people just like you asked us over the years. We hope this helps you!

What are your fees?

Our firm has a variety of fee agreements to meet different circumstances and needs which can include a flat rate one-time consultation fee, an hourly fee agreement or a contingency fee agreement.

What does contingency mean?

Contingency means that the client pays no legal fees for our time, but is still responsible for any costs incurred or advanced by the firm for the client until there is a recovery in the case. The legal fee for the time spent on the case is a percentage of the recovery. The percentage can vary based on the complexity, risk and/or stage of the case. Most personal injury matters are handled with a contingency fee agreement. At the attorneys’ discretion, such agreements will be considered in some employment cases after an initial review of the case.

What does “Employment at Will” mean?

Employment at will means that an employer may fire an employee for any reason or no reason at all—so long as it is not an illegal reason such as a termination due to somone’s protected class or in a retaliation for some protected activity.

What is a “protected activity?”

A protected activity is an action taken by an employee which the law protects you from being treated adversely by your employer. In Washington, protected activities can include, but are not limited to, union activities, filing a complaint with an outside governing agency as to constitute a Whistleblower claim, or filing a complaint with regards to perceived discrimination.

Does a lawsuit or claim against an employer have to be filed in certain time period?

Yes, most legal claims have a statute of limitations, meaning that you must file the lawsuit in a specific amount of time. In general a wrongful termination or discrimination lawsuit must be filed within three (3) years of the alleged wrongful act. However, many employment discrimination claims must be filed first within 180 to 300 days with administrative agencies like the Washington Human Rights Commission or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before filing suit.

Other claims with outside agencies might need to be filed even sooner in order to fully preserve your civil claims. Each employment claim can trigger very different time periods for necessary legal action making it important to seek legal advice before making key decisions as to any workplace conflict or concerns as soon as possible.

What is a “protected class?”

A protected class is a personal characteristic from which the law protects you from being discriminated against. In Washington, you are in a protected class if you believe you were discriminated against on the basis of your race, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status, age (40+), disability, retaliation, sexual orientation/gender identity, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability.

I quit my job. Can I still take legal action against my previous employer?

Often, no, but it is a complicated question that depends on the facts and the reason why you quit. At a minimum, if you quit your job, it make it more difficult to recover damages for future lost wages. Contact for a consult for analysis and advice regarding your own individual situation.

What should I do after a car accident?

First and foremost, we want our clients to focus on getting the medical care that they need so they can heal quickly. It is also important to gather all contact and insurance information from all the parties involved, file a police report, take photos and contact information for any witnesses. We also typically recommend that our clients keep a diary of important details while they are fresh in their mind, such as how the collision happened, the injuries they experienced, changes in symptoms, and how the injuries are impacting their daily life so that they have that information later on if there is a dispute with the insurance company.

Does a Personal Injury lawsuit or claim have to be filed within a certain time period?

Yes, most legal claims have a statute of limitations, meaning that you must file the lawsuit in a specific amount of time. The time period can vary depending on the facts and where you want to file the lawsuit, but generally speaking, most wrongful death and personal injury must be fully resolved or a lawsuit filed within three (3) years from the date of loss or injury.

What is appellate law?

In law, an appeal is the process in which cases are reviewed by a higher authority, where parties request a formal change to an official decision. Appeals function both as a process for error correction as well as a process for clarifying and interpreting the law. At Coppinger Carter, we offer a range of appellate services to fit your diverse needs.

Other Questions?

Do you have more questions? This may be an indicator that you should call to schedule a consultation so we can help you further with your legal issue.
We look forward to helping you. Call us at (360) 676-7545 or email us at

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(360) 306-8369