According to CarInsurance.com, Washington is in the top 10 states with the highest percentage of uninsured drivers. It ranks number seven, with 17.4 percent of all drivers driving without coverage. Insurance, unfortunately, is not just for the insured’s protection—it is for the protection for every other driver on the road. When a person is hit and injured or killed by an uninsured driver, the victim is forced to pay for damages that go beyond what is covered by his or her own policy out of pocket. While many insurance policies in Washington have a limit of $25,000 per person, for many accident victims, $25,000 is simply not enough.
Washington is a Fault State
First and foremost, it is important to understand that Washington is a fault state, which means that fault policies apply in car accidents. If you are unfamiliar with fault laws, this essentially means that a driver, pedestrian, or passenger who has been injured in a car accident can pursue compensation in one or all of three ways:
● Via a claim against the liable party’s insurance company;
● Via his or her own insurance company; or
● Via a third-party claim against the other driver.
In short, the victim has few restrictions when it comes to pursuing compensation. However, fewer restrictions does not mean that car accident victims will have an easy time pursuing compensation. Victims must still prove the essential elements of a car accident claim, which include causation and damages.
Washington’s UMBI Laws
Despite the fact that Washington leads the nation in uninsured motorists on the road, it does not have laws in place that require drivers to obtain UMBI coverage. That said, it does require insurance companies to offer policyholders the option to purchase un/underinsured motorist coverage as an add on to their auto policies. If an insured declines, he or she must do so in writing.
When to Contact a Yakima Personal Injury Lawyer
While you should always contact an experienced car accident attorney if you were injured in an accident, it is even more imperative that you do so if you were involved in a hit-and-run, or if you were involved with an accident with an underinsured motorist. The Yakima car accident lawyers at Kapuza Lighty, PLLC, can help you explore your recovery options and pursue the compensation you need to recover in financial comfort. Whether that means filing a claim under your PIP policy or using your un/underinsured motorist insurance, we can fight on your behalf to ensure that you get the compensation you need and deserve. Call our office today or contact us online to get started.