Accidents happen all the time but they are rarely “Acts of God” or “just one of those things”! They most often happen because of somebody’s negligence. Sure any of us can make mistakes and have a momentary lapse in attentiveness or focus. But when that negligence injures another person, under our system of justice that injured person has a claim against the wrongdoer, who is known in the law as a “tortfeasor”. The concept of holding a person accountable when he or she injures another person or their property is not a concept that in new as it is described in the Old Testament, became part of the common law of England centuries ago, and was passed down to American in the earliest of colonial times. Injuries are inflicted on people through the negligent operation of a motor vehicle, through the neglect of a business or landlord to keep the premises safe, because of the faulty manufacture or design of a product, and many, many other manner of negligent conduct.
Since any of us could find ourselves making a mistake that injures another and subject to an injury claim, we should take steps to protect ourselves. By far the biggest area of negligent injury occurs with the operation of our automobiles. There are mandatory minimum insurance requirements in every state but one, New Hampshire. The mandatory requirements are for liability insurance meaning that your insurance company will pay for damages up to the limits of your coverage that you are legally responsible for due to an accident or loss. In Washington the required minimum limits are 25/50/10 meaning that a driver must have insurance that will pay up to a maximum of $25,000 for bodily injury or death to any one person injured in an accident and up to a maximum of $50,000 total for all persons injured or killed in an accident. Also, the policy provide at least $10,000 of coverage for damage or destruction of property in an accident. Motorcycles and mopeds are excluded from the mandatory insurance requirements. More details as to the required insurance in Washington can be found at: http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/insurance.html
While only liability insurance is mandatory, other coverages are very important and should be seriously considered such as personal injury protection (PIP) which pays your medical bills incurred in an auto accident regardless of who is at fault and uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage which pays your damages if you are injured by another driver who has no insurance or not enough insurance. There is also collision coverage which pays for property damage to your vehicle, again regardless of who is at fault. These and other coverages are discussed in my brochure “Accidents Will Happen -- Information To Help You Prepare For And Get Through One”. If you would like us to mail you a free copy, please fill out the form below.
Also, a booklet “Understanding Your Auto Insurance” can be downloaded from the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ) at: http://www.washingtonjustice.org.
Remember: Every situation is different and the information provided here is general information and should not be considered to necessarily apply to any given specific situation. All persons are advised to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss their particular situation or issues. Morris Rosenberg does not charge for the initial consultation about an injury claim.