Washington Car Accident Laws
Most drivers in Washington state will be in a car accident at some point in their driving careers. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident in the Seattle area, you may want to know what the laws are for reporting and collecting compensation after car accidents. You will have to take the following regulations into account after you get into a car accident in Washington state.
Your Legal Options After a Car Accident
If you suffer injuries in a Seattle car accident, you can follow one of three options to receive compensation and recover from your losses. You can file an insurance claim with your own insurance company or a claim with the at-fault driver’s company.
You can also have your Seattle personal injury attorney file lawsuit in a Washington civil court. Car insurance companies only provide compensation up to their policy limits. If you suffered from severe injuries and damages that exceed these limits, you should consider filing a lawsuit instead of an insurance claim. Speak to an attorney to discuss your legal options.
Washington State Car Insurance Requirements
In every Washington car accident, you will need to understand the state’s car insurance requirements. Washington follows a traditional fault system when it comes to determining who pays for the damages after an accident. Under this system, the person responsible for causing your accident is the one who has to pay for your injuries, vehicle repairs, and other damages.
Every driver in the state of Washington must carry minimum insurance coverage for the following amounts.
- $25,000 in coverage for injuries or death of one person in an accident caused by the policyholder
- $50,000 for the total injuries or death to all people involved in an accident caused by the policyholder
- $10,000 in coverage for property damage in an accident caused by the policyholder
If the driver does not carry this insurance coverage, they will need to either apply for a certificate of deposit with Washington’s Department of Licensing or have a liability bond in the amount of $60,000 or more.
How Long Do You Have to File Your Car Accident Report?
If you decide to file a car insurance claim for your car accident, you will have to file your claim within a prompt time frame. The insurance company will usually set this deadline. It can range from a few days after the accident to a few weeks, at most. Make sure to contact a Seattle car accident attorney as soon as possible to begin this claim process.
If you are filing a car accident lawsuit in Washington civil court, you will need to adhere to the state’s statute of limitations. You must file your lawsuit within three years of the date of the accident, or the court will not hear your case. If you are filing a car accident lawsuit on behalf of a deceased person, you have three years from the date of the person’s death.
Washington’s Comparative Negligence Rule
If you bring your car accident case to civil court, you will present your evidence to a jury who will decide who was liable for the accident. The jury will then decide which damages to award you and the amount of these damages. You can collect compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
The jury may reduce your award amount using Washington’s comparative negligence rule. The jury will decide if you are partially responsible for the accident and assign you a percentage. They will reduce your settlement by that percentage. If you are 50% responsible for the accident or higher, you may have to pay damages to the other party in your case. Your Seattle car accident attorney can help you build a case on your behalf to help prove the other party’s negligence so you can avoid these damages. Contact Washington Injury Law firm today.