Nonresident's use of highways — Resident leaving state — Secretary of state as attorney-in-fact.
The acceptance by a nonresident of the rights and privileges conferred by law in the use of the public highways of this state, as evidenced by his or her operation of a vehicle thereon, or the operation thereon of his or her vehicle with his or her consent, express or implied, shall be deemed equivalent to and construed to be an appointment by such nonresident of the secretary of state of the state of Washington to be his or her true and lawful attorney upon whom may be served all lawful summons and processes against him or her growing out of any accident, collision, or liability in which such nonresident may be involved while operating a vehicle upon the public highways, or while his or her vehicle is being operated thereon with his or her consent, express or implied, and such operation and acceptance shall be a signification of the nonresident's agreement that any summons or process against him or her which is so served shall be of the same legal force and validity as if served on the nonresident personally within the state of Washington. Likewise each resident of this state who, while operating a motor vehicle on the public highways of this state, is involved in any accident, collision, or liability and thereafter at any time within the following three years cannot, after a due and diligent search, be found in this state appoints the secretary of state of the state of Washington as his or her lawful attorney for service of summons as provided in this section for nonresidents. Service of such summons or process shall be made by leaving two copies thereof with a fee established by the secretary of state by rule with the secretary of state of the state of Washington, or at the secretary of state's office, and such service shall be sufficient and valid personal service upon said resident or nonresident: PROVIDED, That notice of such service and a copy of the summons or process is forthwith sent by registered mail with return receipt requested, by plaintiff to the defendant at the last known address of the said defendant, and the plaintiff's affidavit of compliance herewith are appended to the process, together with the affidavit of the plaintiff's attorney that the attorney has with due diligence attempted to serve personal process upon the defendant at all addresses known to him or her of defendant and further listing in his or her affidavit the addresses at which he or she attempted to have process served. However, if process is forwarded by registered mail and defendant's endorsed receipt is received and entered as a part of the return of process then the foregoing affidavit of plaintiff's attorney need only show that the defendant received personal delivery by mail: PROVIDED FURTHER, That personal service outside of this state in accordance with the provisions of law relating to personal service of summons outside of this state shall relieve the plaintiff from mailing a copy of the summons or process by registered mail as hereinbefore provided. The secretary of state shall forthwith send one of such copies by mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the defendant at the defendant's address, if known to the secretary of state. The court in which the action is brought may order such continuances as may be necessary to afford the defendant reasonable opportunity to defend the action. The fee paid by the plaintiff to the secretary of state shall be taxed as part of his or her costs if he or she prevails in the action. The secretary of state shall keep a record of all such summons and processes, which shall show the day of service.
[2003 c 223 § 1; 1993 c 269 § 16; 1982 c 35 § 197; 1973 c 91 § 1; 1971 ex.s. c 69 § 1; 1961 c 12 § 46.64.040. Prior: 1959 c 121 § 1; 1957 c 75 § 1; 1937 c 189 § 129; RRS § 6360-129.]
|Rules of court: Cf. CR 12(a).|
Effective date -- 1993 c 269: See note following RCW 23.86.070.
Intent -- Severability -- Effective dates -- Application -- 1982 c 35: See notes following RCW 43.07.160.
Deposit of fees in secretary of state's revolving fund: RCW 43.07.130.