No. Washington is not a no-fault state. Washington State is a comparative fault state, meaning the fault of all parties involved in a car accident comes into play when determining compensation for damages. However, Washington State residents have the option to add no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) car insurance coverage to their policy.
Why would a driver want PIP insurance coverage?
Ten thousand dollars of PIP insurance coverage is the minimum amount of PIP coverage you can add to your standard Washington State car insurance policy.
This insurance covers injuries to yourself and your passengers in the event of an accident, regardless of who was at fault. PIP coverage will pay your medical bills as you seek treatment, and some policies might cover wage loss benefits for severely injured persons.
What happens if I only have the minimum PIP coverage amount or rejected PIP coverage?
If you only have the $10,000 PIP coverage and your damages go beyond that limit, or you do not have PIP coverage, you might have these options for additional recovery.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is an optional type of coverage that can help cover your damages if the other driver does not have insurance, does not have high enough limits, or flees the scene.
If you have exhausted all of your options, you can turn to your health insurance. Check your policy to see whether it excludes car accident injuries as many policies do.
Note: In many cases, your health insurance will want you to pay back what it covered if you win a settlement.
Depending on your degree of fault in the accident, you may have a third option of filing a claim with the other driver's insurance.
Will I still be able to file a claim against the other driver if I use no-fault benefits?
Yes, the PIP benefits pay immediate costs of medical care and wage loss when applicable. You will still be able to file a claim with the other drivers' insurance policy; depending on the limits of the driver’s policy and how responsible for the accident s/he is, his/her insurance will first reimburse your PIP insurance for the costs your policy covered.
Continuing to pursue a claim against the other driver when s/he is majorly at fault is important if you suffered catastrophic injuries.
PIP limits start at $10,000 minimum and go as high as $35,000. However, many injuries cost well beyond $35,000 in hospital care, rehabilitation, and long-term or permanent care. Therefore, the other drivers' insurance will need to cover the costs that your PIP insurance does not cover.
Where can I get help with filing a car accident claim?
Contact Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your options for compensation after a car accident.