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Washington’s Comparative Negligence Laws
Posted in Personal Injury on March 2, 2023
When filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is common to wonder how much compensation you can receive. In the state of Washington, several factors can affect the amount of compensation awarded in a personal injury case, including the state’s comparative negligence statute. These laws are designed to allocate fault and determine how much compensation a plaintiff can receive in cases where both parties may share responsibility for an accident or injury.
Comparative negligence can have a significant impact on the outcome of a personal injury case and understanding how these laws work is essential for anyone involved in a lawsuit. In these situations, a Washington personal injury lawyer can explain how these laws can affect your case and take steps to defend you against allegations of shared fault.
How Washington’s Comparative Negligence Laws Can Impact Your Case
Under Washington’s pure comparative negligence system, a plaintiff’s compensation award can be reduced based on his or her percentage of fault in the incident. This means that if a plaintiff is found to be partially at fault for his or her injury, the amount of compensation he or she receives will be reduced by the percentage of fault that the court assigns to him or her.
For example, say that one driver is hit by another motorist who merges into a lane without checking for oncoming vehicles and subsequently files a lawsuit. However, the court discovers that the plaintiff was speeding at the time of the incident.
Based on this information, the court then assigns 30% of the fault to the plaintiff. If the plaintiff requests a $100,000 award, it will be reduced by 30% or $30,000. As a result, he or she will only recover a settlement of $70,000.
Does Washington’s Comparative Fault Laws Bar Recovery?
There are several types of comparative negligence laws found throughout the United States. In some places, a plaintiff cannot recover any compensation if he or she is found to be partially at fault. In others, the plaintiff is not eligible for a settlement if he or she is 50% or 51% responsible for the accident.
Washington follows a pure comparative fault statute. Under this law, a victim can recover compensation regardless of how much liability he or she shares. Even if the plaintiff is 99% responsible, he or she will still be able to recover 1% of the original settlement.
How to Defend Yourself Against Allegations of Shared Fault
If you are facing allegations of shared fault in a personal injury lawsuit in Washington, it is essential to take the appropriate steps to defend yourself. The outcome of the case can have a significant impact on your financial and legal future, and a finding of shared fault could result in a significant reduction in the compensation you receive.
One of the most critical steps in defending yourself against allegations of shared fault is to hire a personal injury lawyer who can gather evidence and build a strong case in your defense. Your attorney will investigate the incident and work to gather evidence that supports your position and shows that you were not at fault or that your actions did not contribute significantly to the incident.
By building a strong case in your defense, your attorney can help you minimize your liability and potentially avoid a finding of shared fault. As soon as possible following your collision, contact a Washington car accident lawyer to discuss your accident and build a compelling case for your right to compensation.