By Pendergast Law on November 10, 2017
In general, the best advice when it comes to dealing with Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) vehicles is this: avoid them. If you are involved in an accident with an official WSDOT vehicle, handle it much like any other type of crash.
Keep in mind, however, that you may face criminal charges if you are responsible â€“ and filing a lawsuit can be much more complicated.
Uses of WSDOT Vehicles
There are a number of reasons why a WSDOT vehicle might be on the road, usually for official business of the Department of Transportation. Perhaps to inspect road conditions, or respond to a report, or to oversee construction on highways and roads. The WSDOT also responds to accidents, and might send a vehicle to help with road closures or to redirect traffic around the scene of a crash.
What If a Collision Is My Fault?
If you collide with a WSDOT vehicle:
- Make sure others are safe. Call emergency services if necessary.
- Do not leave the scene.
- Answer any questions the police ask you honestly, but do not take responsibility for the accident. Even if you believe you are at fault, you do not yet have all the details of everything that happened and should not say that you are responsible for the crash.
Depending on the situation, you might be arrested and face criminal charges for colliding with a WSDOT vehicle that is performing official duties. That means you will need a criminal defense attorney to represent you, and you should call a lawyer immediately before answering any additional questions.
What If a Collision Is WSDOT’s Fault?
If the WSDOT driver is at fault for a crash, be sure to remain at the scene and cooperate fully with law enforcement and emergency services. You will probably need to file a claim with a government insurance agency, which can be quite time-consuming.
In Washington, there is no sovereign immunity for the state, so you may be able to file a civil claim against the driver or the WSDOT, depending on the advice of a knowledgeable Seattle government collision attorney. If you have been involved in an accident with the WSDOT, then call us right away at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., at 888-539-9211.