The regular Tri-Cities wind might be an “act of God” that causes car accidents, but that’s probably not the end of the story. In fact, just like driving in the snow and ice, driving in high winds could be an assumption of the risk on your part. So, if you decide to drive when the winds are gusting up to 60 mph like they did yesterday, you’ll want to make sure you take extra precautions. If you don’t, you just might wish you had.

Dust storm pileup on Highway 395.

But it wasn’t my fault

Often, people will say that a car accident wasn’t their fault. The wind was to blame. It was so dusty that the visibility was minimal. Other times, the snow and ice was the culprit. The problem with this perspective is that if you continue to drive in poor conditions, like in the middle of a dust storm, it is foreseeable that you could cause or contribute to a massive pileup.

So, yes, on the one hand it’s not someone’s fault that the wind was blowing, but it is their fault that they were continuing to drive in adverse conditions. In the Tri-Cities, it’s really not too often that the winds will exceed 30 or 40 mph, but when they do, it’s best to stay home. If you absolutely must travel, then avoid high-speed or high-traffic areas.

Ok, it might be partly my fault

In the state of Washington, you can be liable for damages regardless of the amount of fault, whether it’s 1% or 99%, or somewhere in between. This type of liability is called pure comparative negligence and Washington is 1 of only 13 states to adopt this position. Most other states bar recovery when you are more than 50% at fault. This can create interesting situations where you are mostly at fault, but your medical bills and your injuries could be covered by someone else’s insurance according to their percentage of fault.

But, there’s a twist: if you were more than 50% at fault and the reason you were at fault was because you were intoxicated, then you might not have a claim. That’s because Washington has a law that prevents recovery in these types of situations.

So, if you find yourself in one of these situations, feel free to set up a consultation with one of the attorneys at Anderson Law. The initial consultation is always free and there’s a good chance we’ll be able to help!


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