Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal, and the penalties for doing so are severe. If a hit-and-run driver causes your accident, he or she will likely face criminal prosecution. But if you do not know the identity of the driver that hit you, how will you get compensation for your injuries?
If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Washington state, you may wish to seek legal advice from an experienced car accident attorney in order to make sure you get access to fair and full financial compensation. Hit-and-runs can be some of the most serious and stressful type of accidents.
Washington State Hit-and-Run Law
Washington state law (RCW 26.52.020) requires a driver to stop their vehicle if they they’re involved in an accident which results in an injury or death. Even if the driver is not as fault and you‘re involved in a collision with another vehicle, you must stop at the scene. A driver must remain at the scene until they have gathered the following information; name, address, insurance policy, insurance company, and the vehicle license plate number.
The drivers of the vehicles involved should exchange their licenses and write down each other’s information. If any parties involved are injured you should assist them until help arrives. Failing to not stop after you were involved in a hit-and-run could result in a Class B or Class A felony.
A Class B felony could lead up a sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. A Class C felony could result in a penalty of 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If you were injured in a hit-and-run collision, contact an attorney to learn more about your legal options.
Reasons for a Hit-and-Run Collision
Drivers leave the scene of an accident for many reasons, including:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Drug use
- Immigration status
- Past legal trouble
- No valid driver’s license
- No motor vehicle insurance
If a driver leaves the scene of an accident, even if they were not at fault, the person may face a variety of criminal charges. And if the driver was at fault in the accident or a person was injured, the hit-and-run driver may face stronger charges.
Hit-and-run drivers may collide with other vehicles, strike pedestrians crossing the road, or hit a motorcycle or bicycle. The insurance issues and liability may differ in each type of accident.
- READ: How Will My Car Insurance Be Affected In A Hit-And-Run Accident?
- READ: What Should I Do If I Am Injured In A Hit-and-Run Accident?
Compensation for Hit-and-Run Accident Victims
Compensation for hit-and-run victims depends on several things, and without the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer, victims run the risk of accepting a settlement far below what their case is worth.
Research has shown that victims that hire an attorney receive on 3.5x more in settlement money than those without an attorney.
After a hit-and-run accident, an attorney will do the following to maximize compensation:
- Assisting the police with their investigation and search for the hit-and-run driver
- Compensation for property damage to your vehicle through your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy
- Compensation for unpaid medical bills through the Personal Injury Protection portion of your insurance policy
- A civil wrongful death lawsuit in the event of a fatal hit-and-run accident
Contact a Lawyer ASAP
If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Washington state, the attorneys at Seattle-based Davis Law Group, P.S., can provide aggressive representation and protect your rights. Please contact our office to schedule a case review with one of our attorneys.
Call (206) 727-4000 or use the contact form on this page. You can also use the chat feature below.