Personal Injury in Washington
Washington motorists must report collisions if law enforcement does not do so, and collisions involving personal injury are investigated by the Washington Department of Transportation (DOT).
All collision reports in Washington are filed with the Washington DOT. If police do not investigate a collision, the drivers involved must file a collision report. You can pick up the report form at a DOT office, a law enforcement office, or a Driver Licensing Office. The information from these reports is added to the parties' driving records, including the following information:
- Date of collision
- Number of vehicles and people involved
- Whether vehicles were moving or parked
- Whether there were any injuries or fatalities
The driving record merely indicates the motorist was involved in the accident, not who was found to be at fault.
If a collision results in personal injury, death, or more than $700 in property damage, the Washington DOT will review the information to determine whether any driver involved was uninsured and whether there is potential for a judgment against the uninsured driver. This is yet another reason it is important to have at least the minimum liability insurance required for registered vehicles the state.
Washington drivers may obtain a copy of a collision report by requesting it from the DOT using a Request for Copy of Collision Report form. Send the completed form and a $5 fee to the following address:
- Washington State Department of Transportation
- Collision Records Request Section
- P.O. Box 47382
- Olympia, WA 98504-7382
If an accident results in an injury to you―whether physical or mental―you might be entitled to more compensation than the payout by the at-fault party's insurance company. In fact, unless you specialize in tort law, you might not realize either how difficult your injury might make things for you―or the extent of your right to be paid for your trouble.
Some insurance companies are pros at trying to minimize the amount they pay out for personal injury settlements. It's important that you not insist you're OK right after the accident, that you immediately write down your recollection of the event, and that you begin documenting your pain and suffering as well as all expenses that you incur as a result of your injury.
A personal injury attorney can help you preserve evidence early in the process. They can also advocate on your behalf to the big insurance companies. In fact, they can do a lot of legal legwork for you while you're recovering at home. Many personal injury lawyers only get paid if you do, and almost all will offer a free initial consultation so you can weigh your options.