If you are involved in a single vehicle accident in Washington, you have a right to make a claim for any injuries you may have sustained. Before filing a personal injury claim for an auto accident, you need to be conversant with the laws on vehicle accidents. The following web page reviews two of the most important laws affecting single vehicle accidents: statutory limitations and comparative negligence.
Washington’s Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitation refers to a law that limits one’s ability to pursue a claim in court after sustaining injuries from an accident. In Washington, if you are injured or your property is damaged in a car accident, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Statutory limitations do not affect the time when a personal injury claim should be settled or filing of insurance claims. However, it is advisable to file your claim early to receive compensation faster and resume your normal life. Secondly, filing your claim early enables you to preserve your right to seek damages. Furthermore, when you file your claim early, if a settlement is not possible, you will have time to take the claim to court. If you fail to file your claim within the three-year period, you lose the right to pursue the defendant for damages.
Washington Rules on Comparative Fault
Washington applies the pure comparative fault rule to determine cases where the one filing a claim also shares blame for the crash. For example, if your total damages- lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and all your losses amount to $20,000, and the jury finds that you are 10 percent responsible for the accident, you will not receive the entire $20,000. Instead, under the pure comparative fault rule, you will receive your damage award minus the amount equal to your share of fault. In this example, you will walk away with $18,000.
How a Lawyer Can Help in Single Vehicle Accidents
If you are involved in a single vehicle accident, hiring a lawyer will improve your chances of getting a fair compensation award. First, your lawyer will help prove the negligence of the at-fault driver. Secondly, your lawyer will help you file your claim in time and fast-track the settlement proceedings between you and the insurance company of the defendant. Finally, if the settlement proceedings fail, your attorney will represent you in court and pursue a fair damage award on your behalf.