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Accidents Caused by Failing to Yield in Washington

Colburn Law

Right-of-way laws are crucial to protecting drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and other individuals in Washington state. A driver’s failure to yield the right of way could lead to serious collisions, life-threatening injuries, and significant physical, emotional, and financial hardship. If you are in an accident with a driver who failed to yield, you have the right to hold him or her accountable for your losses in an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

Washington’s Failure to Yield Law

Washington drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and follow all applicable traffic laws, including right-of-way rules. According to RCW 47.36.110, stop signs and yield signs help control the flow of traffic, and drivers have a responsibility to follow them. Under RCW 46.61.190, Washington’s failure to yield law, motorists have certain obligations in situations involving these signs. 

For example, drivers must yield the right-of-way to any vehicle that is in the intersection or approaching on another roadway that could constitute a hazard if the driver were to drive across the intersection. When approaching a yield sign, drivers must slow down to a reasonable speed for safety and the existing conditions.

If a driver is involved in a collision where he or she was supposed to yield the right of way, the court will consider the accident as evidence of the driver’s failure to yield. For example, say a driver runs a red light and collides with a vehicle who was traveling through the intersection on a green light. The court will use the fact that the accident occurred as evidence that the driver failed to yield until it is proven otherwise. 

Common Types of Failure to Yield Accidents

While Washington is strict in enforcing its right-of-way rules, not all drivers follow the law. If a driver does not yield the right of way, he or she can strike another vehicle, a cyclist, or a pedestrian, leading to very serious injuries. 

Common examples of failure to yield accidents include the following.

  • Failure to stop at a stop sign or red light
  • Failure to yield the right of way to a cyclist
  • Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle
  • Failure to yield to other vehicles at a flashing traffic light
  • Failure to yield the right of way to other drivers at a four-way stop sign intersection
  • Failure to yield to oncoming traffic when turning left
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian who has the right of way, such as while crossing the street

Legal Options for Right-of-Way Accident Victims

If you are involved in a right-of-way accident on Washington roads, you have options for legal action. Washington is a fault accident state, meaning that drivers who are responsible for collisions must pay for their victims’ damages. Drivers who violate right-of-way laws breach their duty to follow Washington traffic rules and are likely to be liable for any accidents that occur due to that breach of care.

You can hold a negligent driver accountable through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Common types of compensation available in these claims include the following.

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Disability accommodations
  • Specialized medical treatments
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering

In these situations, it is important to speak with a Washington car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your Seattle car accident attorney can evaluate your case and help you identify your optimal path to compensation. After receiving medical attention, contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options.