In Washington, drivers involved in an accident resulting in injury must stop at the scene and remain there to give their name, address, insurance information and vehicle license number to the other driver, passengers or anyone who was struck or injured. Pursuant to RCW 46.52.020, drivers must also show their driver’s license. They must provide assistance to anyone injured, including getting them to medical treatment. What happens, though, if a driver is shaken up and fails to provide all of the required information? A Washington appeals court recently considered whether a case could proceed when the plaintiff originally filed suit against the wrong party after not receiving all of the other driver’s identifying information.
The plaintiff was rear-ended. She stated the other driver was very upset after the collision and insisted they not call the police or an ambulance. The plaintiff stated that they exchanged insurance cards and wrote down each other’s information. She stated the other driver did not offer her a driver’s license or state her name. She believed the other driver’s name was the name on the insurance card. In fact, the person named on the card was the other driver’s mother.
The plaintiff filed suit against the person named on the insurance card on the last day before the statute of limitations expired. The defendant answered, stating the plaintiff had sued the wrong defendant. The plaintiff amended the complaint to add the driver as a defendant more than two months after the statute of limitations expired.