Hi this is Jason, and I want to talk today about a case you may have heard about in Everett, Washington, where a teenage girl was killed on a sidewalk.

The interesting thing about this case is determining who was at fault. Most would assume that the person that hit her and ultimately killed her would be the at fault party. However, in this case, the car that hit her was actually taking an evasive maneuver after another car failed to yield the right of way. So this is one of those cases where we can’t just assume that the person that hit the injured person or in this case the deceased victim was the at fault party. We have to kind of go back a little bit and look at what caused the accident.

A teenage driver failed to yield the right of way. Another driver coming in from the opposite direction took an evasive action and went off the road onto the sidewalk and ultimately hit and killed this teenage girl who was walking home from school.

So when determining who is at fault, what we need to do is look at whose actions ultimately led to the accident and who did something wrong. The person who did something wrong in this case was the driver that failed to yield. It’s unlikely that the driver who was confronted with what is called a “sudden emergency manuever” did anything wrong. They were coming the other direction, a car failed to yield, and they had to make a split-second decision. She jerked the wheel and went off the road onto the sidewalk, and that resulted in a fatality. However, in all likelihood, the fault only rests with the driver that originally failed to yield and caused that second driver to make the sudden emergency maneuver.

In Washington, we’re what’s called a Pure Comparative Fault State. That means in every case, there’s a 100% of “fault” which can be divided between multiple parties. So it’s possible that one driver could be 90% at fault for an accident and another driver could be 10% at fault for an accident. In every accident, we go back and divide fault like that.

Now, most of the time, it’s easy to do and we determine usually that one party or another party is 100% at fault. However, there are some times when we have to get into a detailed analysis of dividing the fault between different parties.

Questions about car accidents and wrongful death in Washington State? Call us at 206-285-1743 or contact us.

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