In the United States, a fundamental value that frames our democracy is that government must be accountable to its citizens. Our civil justice system ensures that every citizen, regardless of stature, economic status or power, has the ability to hold our government accountable. This means when government wrongfully and negligently harms individuals, communities, or businesses through wrongful acts, Washington citizens have equal access to a remedy through our civil justice system.
Despite attempts to create special protections for government, Washington state has upheld citizens’ rights to access the civil justice system. Our civil courts play a pivotal role in mandating a checks and balances between our three branches of government. It ensures that the power of one branch of government (executive, legislative or judicial) is not unchecked. We oppose legislation that does not protect the legal rights of Washington citizens.
Washington’s workers’ compensation system is designed to help workers injured on the job receive the treatment and benefits they need after sustaining an on-the-job injury or illness. In exchange for giving up their right to hold negligent or unsafe employers accountable in court, injured workers rely on this state-funded and administered program to be fairly compensated for their injuries. Washington is the only state in the nation in which workers pay a share of the premium.
Unfortunately, big corporations are constantly lobbying the Legislature to erode workers’ rights and game the system in favor of big corporations and employers. We work with local allies, unions and injured workers to ensure the state system is fair and not rigged in favor of negligent employers.
Over the last three decades, major corporate interests have fought to take away consumer rights in Congress, legislatures and courtrooms across the country, all while pushing for more deregulation for themselves. Their successes have led us to a taxpayer-bailed-out financial and insurance industry, a family-home foreclosure crisis, and the greatest wealth disparity in American history.
We work alongside consumer and employee advocates in Olympia to ensure that when powerful interests infringe on the rights of individuals, they will have access to justice.