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Learn about Seattle’s car accident laws

Seattle car law

Breath-taking landscapes, fun places, and a bustling downtown—Seattle is a beautiful city in Washington. Apart from all the vibrant lights and energetic ambiance, this city is also facing a growing challenge: a rise in traffic accidents. In 2023, there were approximately 810 traffic fatalities, according to a report published by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC). This is the biggest number of fatalities since 1990, up over 10% from 2022.

If you or someone you know has ever been involved in a car accident in Seattle, knowing what to do in such situations is important. You can also contact a Seattle car crash law firm for assistance in your personal injury lawsuit. An auto accident attorney in Seattle with years of experience and knowledge in the field will provide you with the right information and legal guidance. So, whether you’re just a visitor planning to go to Seattle or already living there, it’s crucial to know about Seattle’s car accident laws. This blog explains car accident laws in Seattle to help you understand the laws better.

Let’s begin.

Fault and liability

Like most of Washington State, Seattle operates under a fault-based system for car collisions. This means the driver found at fault for the accident is responsible for covering the damages. To determine the fault, various factors are responsible, like police reports, witness statements, and evidence from the accident scene.

However, in some cases where both parties are found to be faulty, the blame for an accident is shared proportionally. For example, if you’re in a crash where you are 10% at fault, you can still recover damages from the other driver. The important thing here is that the recovery amount will be reduced by 10%. This way, the law encourages responsible driving and ensures fair compensation among all the parties involved.

Insurance requirements

In Washington State, the law requires all drivers to carry minimum liability insurance. This covers injuries and property damage in the crash.

The minimum coverage amounts are as follows:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person.
  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident.
  • $10,000 for property damage.

These are just minimums, which means higher coverage can be possible depending on your risk and the value of the vehicle. Drivers at fault should also have to cover medical expenses and property repairs.

Statute of limitations

If you are involved in a car collision in Seattle, it’s crucial to act fast. The statute of limitations outlines the deadline by which you can file a lawsuit for personal injury or property damage. In Washington, you have about three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit or property damage claim. However, this timeframe can be as short as 60 days if a city bus is involved in the accident. It is crucial to file any claims within this period, and failing to do so results in your loss.


Understanding Seattle’s car accident laws is essential for all drivers. From determining who’s at fault to reporting accidents, knowing the proper information and laws can make a significant difference in such unfortunate situations. If you are involved in a collision, you can seek legal guidance from a car accident attorney to protect your rights and receive fair compensation.