How to Protect Yourself from a Potential Car Accident
In a perfect world, there would be no car accidents but the reality is that thousands of collisions happen every day. On average, there are six million car accidents in the U.S. every year, which translates to about 16,438 per day. The best thing we can do as drivers is to protect ourselves as much as possible from car accidents. In this article we’ll take a look at a few ways you can protect yourself.
How to protect yourself from a potential car accident
- Avoid behaviors that lead to crashes
Motor vehicle accident data tells us that there are several common behaviors that greatly increase our risk of getting into a crash. The good news is that they are within our control. Drivers should always avoid:
- Driving while fatigued
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving
- Speeding or driving too fast for road/weather conditions
- Aggressive driving
- Defensive driving
Defensive driving is defined as driving in a manner that goes above and beyond basic traffic laws and procedures. It is the practice of using safe driving strategies that enable motorists to address identified hazards in a well-informed, safe way; thereby reducing their risk of being in a car accident.
It is likely that many car accidents are prevented each year by motorists using defensive driving techniques. Not only can defensive driving techniques reduce your risk of car accidents, participating in a defensive driving class may also decrease your car insurance rate or eliminate insurance points after a speeding ticket to prevent a rise in the cost of car insurance.
- Choose car insurance minimums wisely
One of the ways we can help protect ourselves from the consequences of a car accident is to have good car insurance coverage. Car insurance is primarily meant to protect others who we crash into (through liability coverage) but it also protects the insured in a few ways. To start with, having a reasonable amount of liability coverage makes it more likely that your insurance will cover damages for anyone you injure in a motor vehicle accident. The alternative would be coming up with thousands of dollars out of your own pocket to pay for damages. Thankfully, Washington State has minimum insurance requirements meant to offer at least basic protection for drivers and anyone a driver may injure in an accident.
Car insurance requirements in Washington State:
In Washington State, basic car insurance covers liability up to the amount you choose to pay for your insurance policy.
Visit here for Washington State minimum coverage amounts: https://www.insurance.wa.gov/washington-states-mandatory-automotorcycle-insurance-law
There are other insurance options that can help protect you if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident:
Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This type of coverage means that even if you are injured by a hit-and-run driver or an uninsured motorist, your insurance will still pay for your medical bills or lost wages related to the car accident (up front and up to a certain amount). The alternative would be to pay your own medical bills out of pocket and then sue for reimbursement. Washingtonians who do not want this coverage have to opt out in writing.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM and UIM): This is optional coverage that is meant to protect drivers who are hit by uninsured and underinsured motorists. It steps in as the other driver’s liability insurance to compensate you for your injuries, up to the policy limit you selected.
Collision Coverage: Anyone who has a loan or is leasing a vehicle must pay for collision coverage on their vehicle and it may make sense to carry this coverage if you own a fairly new vehicle. Its purpose is to pay for the cost of damage your car endures in a collision, up to the policy limit.
For most drivers, it makes sense to pay for this extra coverage.
Seek the help of a car accident attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!