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Washington Personal Injury Law Blog

Negligence, recklessness are common causes of car accidents

Even the safest Washington drivers can be involved in dangerous car accidents when they encounter hazardous motorists on the roads. Defensive driving can only do so much when a distracted driver rear-ends their victim's car in heavy traffic or when a drunk driver runs a red light and collides with a vehicle that is properly in an intersection. This post will touch on some of the causes of car accidents that may form the legal bases for personal injury lawsuits initiated by accident victims

One cause of many vehicle collisions is negligence. Negligence occurs when a person does not meet the expected standard of care that they should exercise in a given situation. Drivers are expected to operate their vehicles in a safe manner; texting and driving, talking on a cell phone and a myriad of other behaviors can cause a negligent driver to fail in their duty and cause a crash.

Laws that matter when car accidents involve pedestrians

Car accidents involving pedestrians happen almost every day, especially in cities such as New York or Washington where large numbers of people walk everywhere. Any time a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle it is easy to assume that the driver of the vehicle was at fault. However, that may not always be the case.

In Washington, there are defined pedestrian laws. If these laws are not followed, thereby causing a pedestrian to be struck by a vehicle, then he or she rather than the driver could be at fault. If it can be proven in court that a pedestrian was violating one or more of these laws at the time of the accident, a driver could win the case.

What does "underinsured driver" mean?

We often hear of uninsured drivers, but many drivers do not realize how easily they can also be underinsured.

Each state has its own set of insurance rules and regulations, with mandated minimum liability limits. For example, the state of Washington has a minimum requirement of $25,000 per person bodily injury coverage, and $50,000 per accident.

State trooper injured by distracted driver in Bellevue

A Washington state trooper was struck by the vehicle of a distracted driver while he was helping a disabled motorist on the side of Interstate 90 on December 26, 2017. A 24-year-old woman stated that she saw the flashing lights of the patrol car, but did not realize that it was stopped. She looked down, claiming to adjust the controls on her dashboard, and struck the patrol car from behind propelling it into the disable vehicle. The disabled vehicle struck the trooper, causing serious injuries.

Washington State has in place a "Move Over" law. This means that any driver approaching an emergency zone has a duty to practice due diligence and move over into the far lane if possible. The distracted driver in this scenario did not follow those precautions. Further, she did not slow down, and struck the patrol car at the high rate of a normal highway speed.

Proposal to reduce injuries and fatalities in 18-wheeler crashes

A milk tanker was rolling down an interstate highway when the trucker swerved to avoid deer. His trailer jackknifed across the lanes. Two passenger vehicles crashed under the tanker. Three people died in one vehicle and another person died in the second vehicle.

The tragedy prompted two senators and two members of the House of Representatives to propose a new underride bill that would require protective guards on the sides and fronts of all tractor-trailers that would help prevent fatalities and devastating injuries in 18-wheeler crashes.

Be prepared for holiday drivers

Those of us who aren’t hosting family and friends over the holidays will need to travel to our celebrations. With those journeys come the increased risk of getting into an accident.

Luckily, the possibility of getting into an accident over the winter holidays is not as likely as other holidays. Drivers are combating increased traffic on the road and potential drunk drivers with the added risk of weather-related accidents, and yet it is not as dangerous of a season as the summer.

Why do car accidents happen?

The question posed in the title may seem reductive or rhetorical, but it is a serious question. Motor vehicle accidents claim tens of thousands of lives every single year in the United States, but they happen for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes, a driver is drunk and causes a crash. In other cases, the vehicle breaks down or a medical emergency causes the driver to lose control. In between these two possibilities are millions more. Every car accident case is unique in this regard.

But there are some common threads that we see across all car accidents, and a study produced in 2008 by researchers at the University of Michigan discovered some of them.