When can you seek legal damages for a Washington state auto accident injury?

Jan 11, 2021 | Car Accidents

According to the Washington State Injury and Violence Prevention Guide, motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of traumatic injury. Disability after a collision results in lost wages, significant medical expenses and innumerable costs such as loss of life enjoyment. 

Review the factors that determine whether an auto accident victim may successfully pursue legal compensation in Washington state. 

Understanding the causes of auto accidents

State data shows that most collisions result from driver or passenger behavior. Driver impairment causes the most auto accident fatalities in Washington, followed by excessive speed and incidents in which the driver exits the roadway after losing control of the vehicle. Courts and insurance companies use police reports, eyewitness accounts, videos and other evidence to figure out what caused an auto accident. 

Determining fault

When negligence contributes to a serious auto accident injury, the victim can seek legal justice. Some cases involve clear-cut fault, such as incidents involving driver intoxication, distraction or speed. Even when the victim had a role in the collision, however, he or she can still file a claim for monetary damages. In this case, the judge may reduce the award for damages by the plaintiff’s fault percentage (up to 50% only). 

Drivers can choose to reject an insufficient insurance company settlement in favor of pursuing compensation through the legal system. Lawsuits often arise in cases involving uninsured drivers. 

Washington state drivers must file a personal injury lawsuit within three years of the auto accident in question. Otherwise, the court will dismiss the case as outside the statute of limitations.