Washington Car Accident Lawsuits and Lawyers

Introduction to Washington Car Accident Lawsuits and Lawyers

Part of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, some see Washington and cities like Seattle as hotbeds of innovation – both in terms of technology as well as ideas. The futuristic-looking Space Needle that pierces the Seattle skyline serves to represent, in some way, the forward-looking thinking of some of the residents of this great state. This may help explain why nearly 7 million people (according to the 2013 census) have chosen Washington as the place they would like to live, work, and raise their families. A number of major businesses that export products throughout the world also choose to “set up shop” in Washington State. While Washington may be a great place to live, all of these commercial and personal vehicles sharing the state’s roads can make Washington a dangerous place to drive.

Washington Car Crash Statistics

To obtain a better idea of how dangerous Washington roads can be, reference can be made to statistics that are compiled and kept by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This federal agency’s records show that:

  • In 2015, 568 people were killed in traffic collisions throughout the state.
  • This represents a significant jump from the number of traffic fatalities in 2014 (462) – the last time that more than 500 people were killed in car crashes in Washington was 2008.
  • These fatalities were about evenly split between urban areas and rural areas.
  • Over 300 of the reported number of traffic fatalities were due to at least one driver speeding or at least one driver being under the influence of alcohol.

If the population of Washington continues to grow as more people and businesses flock to the state for its natural beauty or to be around like-minded people, one can expect the number of fatalities to continue to rise or, at least, hold steady. (It should be noted that the NHTSA statistics referenced above do not consider the number of individuals injured in car accidents throughout the state. National statistics suggest as many as four million people or more are injured every year in car crashes throughout the nation.)

Washington is a Fault-Based State

Washington law permits those who are injured in a car crash because of the negligence of another person to file a claim for compensation against that other person’s auto insurance policy. In addition, if that other driver either does not have insurance or has insurance policy limits that are not sufficient to cover the injured person’s expenses and losses, that injured person may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party to recover the compensation he or she needs.

This right to recover compensation extends even to injury victims who are responsible for causing or contributing to their own injuries. Washington follows a “pure comparative fault” doctrine that is applicable in situations where the injury victim and another person both share some responsibility for causing the accident and resultant injuries. Under this doctrine, an injury victim can recover compensation from another at-fault party even if the injury victim is primarily responsible for the injury incident. The amount of fault that the injury victim bears will cause his or her compensation award to be reduced proportionately. This doctrine holds that an injury victim may be able to recover compensation even if he or she is determined to be 99 percent at fault for causing the crash and his or her own injuries.

Washington’s Statute of Limitations Applicable to Car Accident Lawsuits

These liberal laws pertaining to recovering compensation do not mean that car crash injury victims in Washington can file claims whenever they please. Washington’s statute of limitations holds that a lawsuit for compensation arising from a car crash (or any other personal injury incident) occurring in the state must be filed within three years of the date the incident occurred. For example, if you were involved in a Washington car crash in 2016, you would have until 2019 to file a lawsuit asking for benefits. This is a hard and fast deadline – failing to timely file your car accident lawsuit within this three-year window will likely result in your lawsuit being dismissed without ever being resolved on the merits.

Call Stern Law, PLLC for Help with Your Washington Car Crash Lawsuit

Because of this, you should contact the experienced and skilled Washington injury law firm of Stern Law, PLLC as soon as possible following your car crash. Attorney Ken Stern is dedicated to helping injury victims hold those responsible for causing their injuries accountable for the damage they cause. By contacting and retaining Mr. Stern, you can rest assured knowing that your car accident lawsuit is being effectively and efficiently prepared and presented. With the help and counsel of Stern Law, PLLC, you can focus on getting your life back together after your accident. Call Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 for assistance with your case.

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