Car insurance in the United States generally uses two main systems: tort (or fault) insurance and no-fault insurance. In tort systems, motorists and their insurance companies take each other to court if they can’t work out an agreement after a crash. In no-fault systems, motorists give up their right to sue in most cases, but their injury claims are usually covered automatically.
Washington State does something only a few states do: It has a tort system, but it also allows drivers to buy no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) as an add-on to their auto insurance.
All drivers in Washington are required to carry liability insurance covering them in case they cause damage to someone else’s property, injury to another person, or death. Drivers without insurance will be fined.
Unfortunately, about 13 percent of drivers nationwide don’t have insurance. In Washington, that number is even worse: In 2015, it was estimated to be 17.4 percent, making it the seventh worst state, with more than one driver in six operating without insurance. Fortunately, responsible drivers can protect themselves by adding uninsured motorist coverage to their policies, which will cover some of the expenses caused by those with no coverage.
Washington State also allows another option in the form of personal injury protection (PIP), which is similar to no-fault insurance coverage. With PIP, an insured driver is covered for injuries that happen to them or family members or passengers in a car crash.
The most important consideration is probably that when an injury happens, it doesn’t matter who caused it. Whether the insured is a victim in a crash or causes it, PIP is still available to pay for medical expenses.
Regardless of what kind of coverage you have, whether liability, underinsured motorist, or PIP, insurance might not cover the full extent of the damage when you’ve been harmed in a crash.
In many cases, an important first step is discussing your situation with an attorney to discuss the possibility of pursuing a personal injury claim against the person (or persons) who caused the harm. Legal action separate from the insurance claim process might be the only way to get a complete recovery.
When you’ve been the victim of a motor vehicle crash, give Craig Swapp & Associates a call. Our experienced automobile accident law team has helped hundreds of clients reach successful settlements in this kind of case. Every client is entitled to a free consultation, so give us a call at 1-800-404-9000 or contact us online today. You can also launch the chat feature from any page of this website for more information.