What you Need to Know About Car Accidents in Washington State
Being in a car accident is no fun but at some point, most people have to deal with a collision. Most people know that they need to report a car accident to their own insurance company but reporting rules and other requirement of driving a car vary by state to state.
What you need to know about car accidents in Washington State
Liability car insurance requirements Washington State
Note that if you are caught driving a car without the required insurance, you could receive a fine of $550 or more. If you are fully or partially at fault in a motor vehicle accident and you don’t have automobile insurance, your license may be suspended if you do not pay the damages and/or injuries caused by the accident.
Reporting a car accident in Washington
The best thing to do if you are in a car accident is to call the police at the scene. The officer will create an accident report while everyone’s memories are fresh, including witnesses.
Washington State Patrol requires anyone involved in a car accident with damage of $1,000 or more to one vehicle or other type of property and/or injury to any person to fill out a Motor Vehicle Collision Report. If a police offer responded to the scene of the accident and created a collision report, then this step is not necessary.
Determining fault in Washington State
When a person is injured in an accident and a claim is made, insurance companies must first decide who is at fault in the accident. If the case is brought to trial, a jury will be assigned the task of determining fault. In some cases, the injured party will be assigned a certain degree of fault.
In Washington State, fault can be shared in a personal injury case. Damages are awarded based on contributory fault law which says that you may only be awarded damages proportionate to the percentage of fault contributed by the defendant and nothing for the amount of fault that you contributed.
Serious injury threshold and fault
Washington State has no serious injury threshold which means that insurance companies pay for an injury based on the claimant’s degree of fault in the accident, rather than the severity of the injury. Washington is one of the “fault states.” Specifically, Washington follows thePure Comparative Fault Rule (also called the pure comparative negligence theory), which allows a damaged party to recover even if it is 99 percent at fault but where the court or adjuster will diminish the award in proportion to the degree of fault of the injured party. In other words, the recovery is reduced by the damaged party’s degree of fault. A person involved in a car accident in Washington State has the right to file suit for uncompensated economic damages such as lost wages and medical expenses and non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
If you have lost a loved one or been injured through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the justice and fair 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 caring, tireless and experienced wrongful death attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County and surrounding areas since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!