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Washington State Car Accident Laws

A car accident can be caused by many factors. Sometimes, car crashes are caused by negligent drivers who break the law. Washington state car accident laws and codes allow an individual who has been injured in a car accident to hire an injury lawyer to represent him or her and begin an injury claim or lawsuit against the negligent parties or violators to recover damages. In this section, let’s take a look at Washington car accident laws and how it applies to car accident victims in this state.

Mandatory Insurance

If you are a driver in Washington State, you must have auto insurance. If you drive a vehicle that is registered in Washington or is required to be registered under the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.16, you must have one of the following:

  • $25,000 of bodily injury or death of one person in any one accident
  • $50,000 of bodily injury or death of any two persons in any one accident
  • $10,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.

most common kinds of personal injury cases

Determining Fault in an Auto Accident

Some states have what is known as a “contributory negligence” system. What this means is that the injured person can recover for his or her injuries only if there was absolutely no fault on his or her part. In other words, he or she should not have contributed to the accident in any way. However, that system does not exist in Washington State. What we have here is a system of “comparative negligence.” This means that you will be compensated depending on what your contribution was to the accident. This essentially means that if you were 50 percent responsible for an accident, the damages awarded to you will simply be reduced to 50 percent.

Vehicle Codes or Rules of the Road

Here is a selection of vehicle code violations that could constitute negligence under Washington Law:

  • Driving under the influence (RCW 46.61.502)
    (1) A person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within this state:

      • – And the person has, within two hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by analysis of the person’s breath or blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or
      • – While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or
      – While the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.
  • Racing or reckless driving (46.61.530)
    No person or persons may race any motor vehicle or motor vehicles upon any public highway of this state. Any person or persons who willfully compare or contest relative speeds by operation of one or more motor vehicles shall be guilty of racing, which shall constitute reckless driving under RCW 46.61.500, whether or not such speed is in excess of the maximum speed prescribed by law: PROVIDED HOWEVER, That any comparison or contest of the accuracy with which motor vehicles may be operated in terms of relative speeds not in excess of the posted maximum speed does not constitute racing.
  • Required position and method of turning at intersections (RCW 46.61.290)
    The driver of a vehicle intending to turn shall do so as follows:
    (1) Right turns: Both the approach for a right turn and a right turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.(2) Left turns: The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left shall approach the turn in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of the vehicle. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made to the left of the center of the intersection and so as to leave the intersection or other location in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the vehicle on the roadway being entered.
  • Obedience to and required traffic control devices (RCW 46.61.050)
    The driver of any vehicle, every bicyclist, and every pedestrian shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device applicable thereto placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, subject to the exception granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this chapter.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent driver, please get in touch with an experienced Washington car accident lawyer, who will protect your legal rights. Contact the skilled injury attorneys at The Bernard Law Group to schedule your free consultation today.

Car Injury Attorneys Ready to Help Located in Seattle, Olympia, and Vancouver, WA

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The Proof Is In Our Case Results

Over $500 Million recovered for our past clients. Let us help YOU! Call 24/7 for your FREE injury consultation. 206-298-9900

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