Every year, hundreds of serious auto accidents, collisions, and crashes are reported in Seattle. If you ever end up in such an accident, it is important that you take the right steps. When the accident was a direct result of someone’s negligence or disregard for safety, you can consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. Here are some things to know about car accident laws when you were wrongfully injured in Seattle.
Washington is an at-fault state
What does that mean? In simple words, the driver responsible for the crash is liable for paying damages and losses of victims (through their insurance company). Right after the accident, consider reporting the same to your insurer and file an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurer. The insurance company will do an investigation, and if the other driver was found to be at fault, the claims adjuster may make an offer.
Report the accident
You are required to file a Motor Vehicle Collision Report after a car accident if the accident resulted in death, injury, or involved property damage of $1,000 or more. Also, make sure that you call a law enforcement agency from the accident scene. Don’t let the other driver talk you out of calling 911 or the police. Wait at the accident scene until an investigating officer has arrived.
The “pure comparative negligence” rule
Washington follows the “pure comparative negligence” rule. This means if you had a share of fault in the accident, your eventual settlement will be reduced by your percentage of fault. Unlike states that follow the “modified comparative negligence” rule, you can file a personal injury lawsuit, even if you have more than 50% share of fault. However, this may not be practical in most cases. So, how does “pure comparative negligence” work? For instance, if you were 20% at fault and have been awarded a compensation of $10,000, you will only get $8,000.
Knowing the statute of limitations
The statute of limitations in Washington allows three years to file personal injury lawsuits after a car accident against the at-fault party. The deadline is three years for wrongful death lawsuits, as well. The count starts from the date of the accident, or date of death as applicable.
Talk to a known and reliable personal injury lawyer after a car accident, so that you have a realistic overview of how to file a claim or an eventual lawsuit.