Thousands of auto collisions, accidents, and crashes are reported in Washington state every year. Expectedly, a considerable number of these accidents happen in and around Seattle. If you ever have the misfortune of getting in a car accident and injured in Seattle, you may consider taking action against the driver at fault. Here are some things to know about Washington car accident laws.
Reporting a car accident
Anyone involved in a car accident in Washington, including pedestrians, must complete the “Motor Vehicle Collision Report” if the accident resulted in injury (or death) to any person. You are also required to complete the Motor Vehicle Collision Report if property damage was worth $1,000 or more. Can you avoid reporting the accident? Yes, you can. If you call the police and the law enforcement officer says that they are making a police report, you don’t need to file a separate report.
The statute of limitations
The statute of limitations in Washington allows three years to file personal injury lawsuits after a car accident, against the driver at fault. If the accident resulted in death, the family of the deceased has three years to file a wrongful death lawsuit, counting from the date of death. For property damage lawsuits, the deadline given by the state’s statute of limitations remains the same.
The “pure comparative negligence” rule
What happens if you were injured in the accident but were also at fault? Washington follows what is known as the “pure comparative negligence” rule. If your share of fault is more than 50%, you can still file a lawsuit against the other party, but your settlement will be reduced by your fault in percentage. Let’s check an example to understand the “pure comparative negligence” rule – If you were awarded $10,000 in settlement and your share of fault was 10%, you will only get $9,000 as the final compensation.
Do you need a car accident attorney in Seattle?
Ideally, you should consult an attorney to know the circumstances of your car accident case better. An attorney can give you a fair idea of what to expect from the case and if you should file a personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, car accident claims and lawsuits are settled outside of court, and dealing with the at-fault party’s insurer won’t be easy. Call a personal injury lawyer to know the true worth of your claim.
Most attorneys in Seattle take car accident cases on a contingency basis, which is a big advantage.