Washington State is an at-fault car insurance state. Drivers who are involved in car accidents can file claims with the car insurance company (theirs or the other driver’s) and/or file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.
While Personal Injury Protection (PIP) will cover damages regardless of who is at fault, it isn’t required under Washington law, according to the Revised Code of Washington State (48.22.090). For this reason, if no PIP coverage is present and the victim decides to file a personal injury claim, the following elements of car accident claim must be established.
Duty of Care
The very first element in the car accident claim process is establishing a duty of care. A duty of care is always assumed. All drivers in Seattle have a basic obligation to drive in a non-negligent manner, following all traffic laws.
Breach of Duty of Care
The second component of a car accident claim is proving that an at-fault driver breached his or her duty of care by acting negligently. Negligence is the term for acting irresponsibly or outside of the realm of reasonable behavior, and can vary in severity. For example, a negligent action could be as simple as failing to use a blinker, as commonplace as multi-tasking while driving, or as severe as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The third element of a car accident claim is proving that the driver’s breach of duty – or negligent action – were the cause of the crash. If the driver acted negligently, but the negligent action was not the cause of the accident, then the claim for damages may be futile. Learn more about how one proves causation in a car crash by reading our free eBook, Car Accident Secrets Unlocked.
Finally, the fourth and final component of a car accident injury claim is not only proving causation, but proving that any damages sustained were the direct result of the crash.
Damages may include the following.
- Physical damages and injuries
- Property damages
- Emotional or mental damages
Hire an Attorney in Seattle Today
You have three years to file a claim for damages. All of the components of a car crash claim involve a thorough understanding of car accident and civil law. To help represent your interests when filing, and prove all the necessary elements before a court, you need the help of an attorney.
At Max Meyers Law PLLC, our Seattle car accident attorneys are committed to helping you get the settlement amount you need. Call our offices now at 425-399-7000.