Washington's Comparative Fault Law
Washington is not a no-fault insurance state. Instead, Washington has a comparative fault doctrine, meaning that the fault of all parties in a car accident is considered when determining damages. If your own negligence contributed to a crash, then your potential compensation could be reduced by a percentage proportionate to your level of fault.
Car Insurance Requirements in Washington State
Almost every state in the country requires that automobiles be insured, and Washington is no exception. State law mandates that every motorist has coverage of at least:
- Bodily injury liability coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage liability: $10,000
- Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Underinsured motorist property damage coverage: $10,000 per accident
- Basic Personal Injury Protection (PIP): $10,000 per accident
Optional Car Insurance Coverages
Washington's minimum coverage amounts are sufficient to cover the costs associated with minor to moderate injuries, as well as some medical procedures. However, simply purchasing the lowest-price policy does not guarantee that you will be afforded the resources you need to recover after a serious automobile accident. You could bolster your protection by adding features such as:
- No-fault personal injury protection, which allows you to make medical claims on your own policy regardless of whether you were at fault for the accident.
- Collision insurance, which can help pay the cost of a car repair or replacement.
- Comprehensive insurance, which provides protection if your vehicle is ever damaged by a cause other than a collision, such as hail, fire, or vandalism.
- Rental reimbursement, which could cover the costs of a car rental if yours is ever damaged or destroyed in an accident.
- Underinsured motorist additions, which provide additional compensation if you are injured by a motorist who is either uninsured or has inadequate coverage.
Your Options for Compensation After a Washington Car Crash
Washington's pure comparative fault law allows motorists to:
- File a claim against the other motorist's insurer, even if you were partially or mostly to blame for the accident.
- File a claim with your own automobile insurance company, if you purchased additional no-fault personal injury protection coverage.
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist, with any potential award or settlement to be reduced proportionately to your own level of fault.
What Happens When Insurance Isn't Enough
Washington, like most states in the country, makes automobile insurance mandatory. While mandatory policies are supposed to protect motorists if they are injured in an accident, insurance companies are still for-profit enterprises. Unfortunately, insurers do not generate a profit when they pay the maximum amount of compensation to every deserving driver, regardless of how seriously they have been injured. Consequently, insurance adjusters often look for any reason to devalue or deny a claim. They could:
- Ask you to provide a recorded statement, and then use your own words against you.
- Argue that your injuries were caused by a pre-existing condition.
- Claim your negligence contributed more to the accident than it really did.
Insurance companies frequently contest claims and are often unwilling to negotiate in good faith with automobile accident victims. But despite what the insurance company might want you to think, you do not have to give in to heavy-handed pressure tactics and coercion.
Your Potential Damages After a Washington Automobile Accident
Max Meyers Law could help you obtain a fair, equitable settlement, even if the insurance company has already tried giving you the silent treatment. We could investigate the circumstances and causes of your accident, building a compelling, evidence-based case for compensation against anyone whose negligence may have caused or contributed to your injuries. This could include:
- The other motorist
- A negligent business
- The City of Seattle or a municipal corporation
- A car manufacturer
- An automotive parts maker
We could negotiate damages for:
- Your past, present, and anticipated medical expenses
- Physical rehabilitation
- Lost income
- Diminished earning potential
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
Washington does not currently cap the amount of economic damages you could receive after an automobile accident, meaning that you could get as much money as you need to begin moving past a serious, Seattle-area car crash.
Contact Max Meyers Law Today
Max Meyers Law could fight for your rights, whether in insurance negotiations or before a judge and jury. Please send us a message online or call us at 425-399-7000 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.