Man and Woman Involved in Car AccidentAll drivers in Washington State need to have car insurance. This comes in handy when you get into an accident. You may or may not need an auto accident attorney in Lynnwood for minor injuries and property damage.  However, most people do not know that their insurers have an important duty.

If you are at fault and the other person sues you, the insurance company has a duty to defend. Here are some things you need to know:

Duty to defend

The duty to defend means simply that. Your insurance company has to defend you in case of a lawsuit. In most cases, this will happen when another person claims you are at fault in a car accident. The insurance company will hire a lawyer to defend you for covered claims. The insurer will usually cover claims for bodily injury and property damage. You do not have to prove you are not at fault to trigger this duty. However, you cannot choose your own lawyer.

Exceptions

The insurer can refuse to defend you in three cases. One is you did not inform the insurer about the accident within the prescribed time. This can be as short as five days, so make sure you tell your insurer as soon as possible. Another case is you caused the accident on purpose. The insurer will defend you if you may have been careless, but meant no harm. A third case is a claim against you is not within your coverage or the damages awarded are more than the policy limits.

Options

If your insurer refuses to defend you unfairly, you should hire an experienced car accident lawyer to defend you from claims and sue your insurer. A good lawyer can help prove that you are not at fault. At the least, the lawyer can help lower your costs by making the insurer pay for some of them. You have a good chance of winning in either case.

The duty to defend is a serious issue in Washington State. An auto accident attorney can help protect your rights when your insurer fails in its duty to defend.