Washington Is an At-Fault State
Washington is an at-fault state, which means that the person who was responsible for causing the accident will be held liable for the expenses the accident creates. Typically, that person’s insurance company must cover those expenses.
After a car crash, there are three different routes you can take to recover the funds you need for the costs created by the accident.
- The first option is to file a claim with your own insurance company. You assume that the losses from the accident are covered by your policy. Usually, your insurance company will then contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company for payment.
- The second option is to file a claim against the at-fault driver. You deal with their insurance company instead of going through your own.
- The third option is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This is a route you may need to take if the driver or insurance companies are not working with you.
Washington Insurance Requirements
Drivers in Washington must carry a liability insurance policy that complies with state law. Liability insurance must cover $25,000 for injuries or death to one person in an accident you cause and $50,000 for total injuries or death to all people in an accident you cause. When it comes to property, your liability insurance must cover $10,000 for damages to other people’s property in an accident you cause.
Washington drivers must also apply for a certificate of deposit with the state’s Department of Licensing. This guarantees financial responsibility for an accident.
Lastly, Washington drivers must have a liability bond of at least $60,000.
State Laws Addressing Personal Injury Claims
If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit for damages caused by a car wreck, note these two important aspects of Washington state law.
Statute of Limitations
In Washington, you have three years after the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. In almost all cases, your lawsuit will not be considered if you wait any longer than three years after the accident to file.
Modified Comparative Fault State
Washington is a modified comparative fault state. That means if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, then the amount of money (also known as the award) that you would receive in the lawsuit will be reduced by the percentage that the accident was your fault.
For example, if you were going to receive $100,000, but the accident was determined to be 75% your fault, then you would ultimately receive $25,000 under Washington’s modified comparative fault rule.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
In the most tragic car accident scenarios, a loved one passes away. The family must deal with this unexpected, horrible situation while also planning and paying for the funeral. It is possible to file a wrongful death claim to recover financial support in this extremely difficult situation.
If a person caused the death of another due to their own wrongful act, negligence, or default, then it is possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Washington. The lawsuit must be filed within three years after the date of the person’s passing.
Who Can File?
In Washington, only the personal representative, also known as the executor, of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased did not name an executor in their will, then the court will appoint a personal representative.