From minor fender-benders to catastrophic crashes, car accidents happen all the time. If you are involved in a car crash that is attributable to someone else’s reckless or unlawful actions, you may be in a position to hold the other party accountable via a personal injury lawsuit.
The primary purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is to seek financial restitution for medical bills, property damage and lost income among other damages incurred as a result of the liable party’s conduct. Before filing a lawsuit, you’ll want to understand how the following approaches to this process affect accident victims in Washington, as these approaches may affect the viability of any legal action that you may seek to take.
Washington’s pure comparative negligence laws
Rarely is a car accident 100 percent the responsibility of one party. For instance, if the driver in front of you suddenly breaks without a signal leading to a rear-end collision, and an investigation later reveals that you did not maintain a safe driving distance between the vehicles, you may be held partly at fault for the accident.
In Washington, the courts apply the doctrine of pure comparative negligence to determine fault. Per this doctrine, your damages will be reduced based on the degree of fault assigned to you. Thus, even if the court finds that you were 99 percent responsible for the crash, you could still be eligible for 1 percent of awarded damages if you choose to pursue a lawsuit.
Washington’s statute of limitations period
Every state has a time limit within which a plaintiff may take legal action. This is known as the statute of limitations period. In Washington, you generally have up to three years from the date of your injury to file your lawsuit.
Safeguarding your interests
If you’ve been hurt in an accident that was not your fault (or was only partially your fault), you deserve justice. Seeking legal guidance to learn more about the laws that apply to your situation can help you safeguard your rights and interests while holding a liable party accountable for damages.