Washington Negligence Laws
Serious accidents and injuries can have devastating effects on a victim’s life, bringing with them expensive medical bills, costly property damage, and lifelong trauma. You would assume that if you suffered loss because of another person, their insurance company would be required to help you recover. Sometimes it is easy to determine if another party was at fault for your injuries, such as if they ran a red light or drove drunk. But what about cases where you were partially at fault? How will that impact your compensation?
When pursuing a personal injury claim in Seattle, it is important to understand how Washington’s negligence laws will influence the damages owed to you. At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and perseverance to fight for the maximum amount of compensation for our clients who have been injured by another individual’s negligence, even if they were partially at fault. Contact us today at (425) 228-3860 or toll-free at (888) 228-3860 for a free case evaluation!
There are a number of contributing factors that the Seattle courts take into account when reviewing a personal injury case, but one of the most important is the issue of fault. In some states, if one party is clearly at fault for an injury, then their insurance company must pay 100% of the damages, while other states abide by pure contributory negligence, meaning if a victim is at least 1% at fault for their injuries, they cannot receive any compensation. However, the state of Washington is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that the courts will take into account both parties’ actions when determining fault, but victims can receive compensation even if they are 99% at fault for the accident.
If you were involved in a car accident in Seattle where the other driver ran a red light and struck your car, you may assume that they are 100% at fault for your injuries. However, the investigation may determine that your brakes needed to be replaced and limited your ability to avoid being hit by the other driver. The insurance agency could then argue that you were partially at fault for the accident. If they can successfully argue in trial that you were 10% at fault for the accident, you would only receive 90% of the compensation owed to you.
Other states with modified comparative negligence require a victim to be less than 50% at fault for their injuries to receive compensation, but Washington’s pure comparative negligence laws do not have such a strict threshold. Instead, you can be 99% at fault and still receive compensation in a personal injury claim. The only scenario where you could be refused compensation is if you are 100% at fault for the accident.
Comparative negligence laws can influence every aspect of the personal claim process, from the initial negotiations to the trial, if it comes to that point. During the negotiation process, the insurance adjustor will diminish a settlement offer based on the amount of fault they can attribute to you. If your claim goes to trial, they will make the same argument to a jury, who will ultimately determine the percentage of fault attributed to both parties.
Insurance companies are in the business of minimizing the amount of money they have to pay in personal injury claims, and Washington insurance companies are no different. Comparative negligence laws embolden them to refuse an initial claim if they find you were even 1% at fault for an accident, even if you were seriously injured. However, this does not mean you cannot or should not pursue compensation. Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. has more than 40 years of experience negotiating personal injury settlements and fighting for compensation in court on our clients’ behalf. We will collect witness statements, review accident reports and call upon certified experts to build a case against a negligent party.
When calculating the amount of damages owed to you after an accident, your personal injury attorney will work to maximize the amount of fault applied to the negligent party. To prove fault in a Washington state personal injury claim, our attorney may utilize:
- Accident reports
- Witness statements
- Testimony from medical experts
- Testimony from mechanical engineers
- Surveillance footage and accident photos
- Any other relevant evidence
While reviewing this information and planning your case, our attorney will also work to disprove the insurance agency’s arguments against you. This includes analyzing all aspects of the case, from the state of the vehicles involved in the accident to the time of day to the impact the accident had on your life.
If you were injured in an accident that was the fault of another individual, do not hesitate to contact us at (425) 228-3860 or toll-free at (888) 228-3860 to schedule a free initial consultation. The attorneys of Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., have both a thorough understanding of Washington state laws and the in-court experience that is necessary to beat insurance companies at their own game.
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- What to Do if You're in a Serious Accident
- When and How to Choose a Personal Injury Attorney
- What is the Injury and Wrongful Death Claim Process Like?
- What to Expect If There Is a Lawsuit
- Washington Negligence Laws
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