How Does Insurance Coverage Work for Pedestrian Accidents?

Pedestrians can suffer serious, life-changing injuries in accidents with motor vehicles. Under Washington law, injured pedestrians often qualify for financial compensation from the motor vehicle driver’s car insurance company.

Filing a Claim Under Washington’s Law

The person or party most at fault for causing a car accident in Vancouver, WA can be held financially responsible, or liable, for the wreck. The pedestrian is also able to access the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on the vehicle—no matter who is at fault.

Proving that the driver is responsible for a pedestrian’s injuries generally requires demonstrating negligence, or a driver’s failure to act with reasonable or ordinary care. Drivers can be guilty of many examples of negligence that result in pedestrian collisions in Washington, such as distracted driving, texting while driving, driving under the influence, speeding, running red lights and failing to yield the right-of-way.

Proving negligence takes evidence of four elements: duty, breach, causation and damages. The driver must have owed the injured pedestrian a duty to exercise reasonable care. The driver must have breached or violated this duty, and this must be the proximate and actual cause of the pedestrian accident. Finally, the victim must have suffered compensable losses as a result of the crash.

What Insurance Is Available for an Injured Pedestrian?

If the driver involved in the pedestrian collision remains at the scene, his or her automobile insurance policy may provide coverage to protect the driver from the victim’s claims for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses associated with the crash.

In Washington, all drivers are required to carry at least:

  • $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability insurance
  • $50,000 per accident in bodily injury insurance
  • $10,000 in property damage insurance

If the pedestrian accident was a hit-and-run, however, the pedestrian may need to search for other sources for a financial recovery. For example, if the pedestrian owns a vehicle and has car insurance, his or her own insurer may offer coverage such as uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance.

Other Sources of Financial Compensation in Washington

Crime victim coverage may also be available to an injured pedestrian in certain situations. This is a compensation program in Washington that can provide financial benefits to victims of certain crimes, such as hit-and-run car accidents or drunk driving accidents. It could pay for a victim’s medical treatment, mental health treatment, partial lost wage replacement and death benefits.

What Is the Doctrine of Comparative Negligence?

Some pedestrian accident cases in Washington involve the legal doctrine of comparative negligence. The Revised Code of Washington Section 4.22.005 states that any fault assigned to a personal injury claimant will diminish the amount he or she receives as compensatory damages by a proportionate amount.

In other words, if an injured victim is partially responsible for an accident, he or she can still recover partial compensation. The amount awarded will be reduced by an amount that matches his or her percentage of fault. If this doctrine applies to a pedestrian accident case, the pedestrian may still be entitled to recover partial compensation from the at-fault driver.

For more information about accessing insurance coverage after a pedestrian accident in Washington, contact the NW Injury Law Center for a free case review.

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