Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Washington?

If you didn’t file a report to a law enforcement officer, then you must make a written report if you were involved in a car accident that leads to injury or death of any person or damage to property of any person that exceeded $1,000. You need to submit a written report to the chief of police, county sheriff, or a state patrol officer within four days of the accident. This is under Washington Revised Code, Section 46.52.030 and the monetary threshold is set by the Washington State Department of Licensing. This statute also allows police to request supplemental reports by drivers of cars involved in accidents whenever they consider necessary.

Washington Car Insurance Laws

Washington law forces motorists to have evidence of their financial security through proof of car insurance or a bond deposited with the state. Insurance policies, according to Washington Revised Code, Section 46.29.090, must have the following requirements:

$25,000 for injury or death of a single person in a single accident;

$50,000 for injury or death of two or more people in a single accident; and

$10,000 for damage or destruction of property in a single accident.

How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Washington?

The process of insurance settlement is typically informal compared to a court case. However, there are some standard steps in almost all settlement cases. Usually, you start by submitting a claim to the insurer that provides proof of your damages. The insurer usually undergoes an investigation that includes an examination of the claims and any evidence provided. The insurer may then put an offer of settlement. If you accept this offer, you will waive the possibility of future claims against the insurance company relating to the accident.

If you do not accept the insurer’s offer, you can send a counteroffer and more evidence supporting your claims. There may be multiple cycles of offers and counteroffers as you attempt to agree on a figure that both parties can agree on. But if no settlement can be finalized, you will need to complete a suit in civil court to have a judge decide.

What is The Average Car Accident Settlement in Washington?

An average settlement amount isn’t available because the property damage and personal injuries resulting from an accident vary in every individual case. There are other influences that determine the amount you can recover as well, including wages you lost due to being in an accident, pain, and suffering, and the amount of the insurance policy covering the accident. A personalized assessment of your case by a knowledgeable Washington attorney will be able to give you a more practical and relevant estimate of the potential recovery amount.

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Washington?

A lawsuit that involved property damage or personal injury must be submitted within three years of the accident, according to Washington Revised Code, Section 4.16.808. If you fail to comply and submit a lawsuit outside of this time frame, your submission will most likely be denied. Without the ability to sue you don’t have much to negotiate a settlement with an insurer, so knowing this statute of limitation will prove to be crucial. Be sure to contact a Vancouver car accident attorney if you want to ensure that your lawsuit is properly filed to secure the highest probability of a successful outcome.