Serious accidents are not unheard of on the busy roads of Washington. The aftermath of a car crash can be devastating enough for anyone. If you know that the other party was negligent or at fault for the accident, you can file a civil lawsuit and seek compensation for your damages. For that, you will need the advice and expertise of a reliable lawyer and must be aware of the auto accident laws in Washington. For your help, here are some things to know.
Washington is a pure comparative fault state
If just one driver is responsible for a car accident, the outcome is usually simple. However, what happens when more than one driver is at fault for the crash? In such cases, the pure comparative fault rule comes into play. States that follow this rule allows a claimant to seek compensation for their injuries, even with a higher share in fault. For instance, if you were 60% at fault, you can still sue the driver with 40% share in the fault for your losses. However, whatever you get in a settlement, you will only get 40% of it (60% being your share in fault). This makes Washington a claimant-friendly state.
The statute of limitations
If you cannot reach a settlement for your damages with the other party or their insurer, you can file a case in the civil court system. However, you have to do so within the deadline set by the statute of limitations in Washington. For car accident lawsuits, the deadline is usually 3 years. This applies to both personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. If you want to sue the other party for property damage, the same deadline is applicable.
You need a lawyer
Although not mandatory by law, hiring a lawyer is your best bet at winning a fair settlement. Keep in mind that the other party will try to deny their fault, and their insurance company may adhere to bad faith tactics to deny/delay your claim. Get an attorney on your side so that you get a fair assessment of your car accident claim. They can tell you what your claim is worth and if you should pursue the matter in court. Most car accident lawsuits are settled outside of court because a trial could be an expensive choice for everyone.
If you are not sure how you can minimize your losses, let your attorney take the key decisions.