Seeking damages for an auto accident depends largely on who was responsible. In cases where drivers share responsibility, complex laws come into effect. In Washington State, the pure comparative negligence doctrine means that if a victim is partly to blame for their injuries, their settlement is reduced by their percentage of responsibility. Numbers are difficult to determine, but personal injury attorneys in Centralia, WA can help.
Pure Comparative Negligence: What Is It?
Washington’s statute on comparative negligence allows the state’s courts to assign responsibility to multiple parties. Under the rule, a victim retains the right to request damages after an auto accident. However, if their actions contributed to the event in any way, they cannot gain full compensation.
Determining Fault in an Auto Accident
When accidents involve only minor injuries, they fall under the no-fault rule, and drivers pursue compensation from their PIP carriers. However, if severe injury or death occurs, the event falls under Washington’s comparative negligence statute. While police may issue citations to both parties, they aren’t the determining factor when seeking damages.
When the Insurance Company Refuses to Negotiate
While most cases are settled in good faith, in certain instances, an insurer may refuse to negotiate. Here, the jury would consider all evidence in determining fault. Once that’s done, damages are apportioned according to each driver’s share of fault.
How Can an Auto Accident Lawyer Help?
The main reason why another driver’s insurer would claim comparative negligence is to minimize a potential payout. Even if a victim isn’t responsible for an accident, the other person’s insurance company will try to convince the jury that they are. Personal injury attorneys in Centralia, WA can gather evidence demonstrating the accident’s facts, such as photos and witness testimony. If the lawyer can prove that the other driver’s actions met the criteria for negligence, and the clients did not, the other person may be held fully liable for the damages.
Talk to an Auto Accident Lawyer Today
At the firm, the entire team works to help people who are injured in auto accidents. Browse our website to find out how they can help victims get the settlements they deserve, even when they’re partly to blame.