“A hit and run is when a driver flees the scene of an accident before the police arrive and without giving their information to anyone.”
While all auto accidents are a serious matter, hit and run’s are viewed as particularly bad. This is because it is illegal to flee the scene of an auto accident, and typically happens when someone is trying to avoid taking responsibility for causing a car crash.
Even though someone flees the scene of a car crash without giving their identity and insurance information, or before officers can write a police report, you can still receive compensation for your injuries and damages. We help hit and run victims every day who were in accidents such as:
Reasons For Hit And Run Collisions
There are several reasons why someone would flee the scene of an auto accident. Here are just a few examples:
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Having past legal troubles and trying to avoid the law
- Driving without having a valid drivers license
- Not being a legal immigrant
- Driving without auto insurance
- Being afraid to deal with the consequences
Fleeing the scene of an auto accident is a punishable offense. If you were at fault for the accident the consequences will be more severe, however even if you were not at fault there can still be charges. Especially if the other driver or their passengers were injured.
Hit And Run Accidents Cost Lives
When someone has fled the scene of an auto accident, it puts the other people involved at risk. Imagine that you were involved in an accident and knocked unconscious by your injuries. If the other driver has fled the scene, there might not be anyone to call 911 or an ambulance. Sadly, this is the case for some hit and run accidents. Nobody stopped to call 911, and people have lost their lives from not getting the medical attention they needed. Hit and run’s cost lives.
Hit and run accidents also derail the claims process. The law requires all drivers involved in a car crash to pull over. This is done so an ambulance can be dispatched to save lives, also so that the police can write a police report, or at a minimum, personal information is exchanged. Knowing who the person is that caused the accident is an essential first step when making an insurance claim.
Washington State is an at fault state for car accident claims. This means that the driver who is at fault for an accident, and by extension their insurance company, pays for all damages associated with the accident. The law views hit and runs as an attempt to avoid liability and are illegal.
Hit And Run Law In Washington State
Washington state law RCW 46.52.020 states: “A driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the injury to or death of any person or involving striking the body of a deceased person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident or as close thereto as possible but shall then forthwith return to, and in every event remain at, the scene of such accident until he or she has fulfilled the requirement to give his or her name, address, insurance company, insurance policy number, and vehicle license number and shall exhibit his or her vehicle driver’s license to any person struck or injured or the driver or any occupant of any such vehicle collided with”
Put simply, all parties must pull over and exchange information so that insurance claims can be made. If a driver flees the scene before this is done, it is considered a hit and run. The information that you should always collect from the other drivers are their name, address, insurance policy, insurance company, and the vehicle license plate number.
Another law also governing hit and run auto accidents is: RCW 46.52.010
How Do I Recover For My Damages If The Other Driver Fled The Scene?
You have the same legal rights regardless of if the hit and run driver fled the scene. Your best choice would be to wait for the police to arrive to make a police report. If possible get the license plate of the other driver, along with the make and model of their vehicle. Once the hit and run is reported, police will try to locate the vehicle that hit you. Often the police locate the vehicle within hours or even minutes. A damaged car often doesn’t get far and can be very easy to recognize.
If not located quickly, police officers will have to do a longer search. These searches have a very high rate of success. They may be able to find the offending vehicle by:
- Speaking with witnesses who were able to get the license plate or the color, make and model.
- Tracking the license plate number to identify its registered owner.
- Searching nearby neighborhoods for parked cars matching the description.
- Publicizing the vehicles make and model so that neighbors might turn in the offender.
Hit and run drivers sometimes turn themselves in after they have had some time to calm down. However, even if then the police cannot find the vehicle, our team of accident investigators and attorneys may be able to help.
Underinsured And Uninsured Motorist Coverage Can Help
Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage, or UM/UIM, can be crucial in helping people after a hit and run accident. More times then not, the person who caused the accident is caught. That being said however, you still run the risk of your damages being greater than what their insurance(if they have any) will cover.
There are still a large number of hit and run accidents however where the culprit is never found. This is where having UM/UIM coverage is essential. Without it in these circumstances, you won’t be able to recover for your damages.
If you’re unsure about filing a UM/UIM claim, give us a call and we can help!
We Can Help You Find The Answers You’re Looking For
At Premier Law Group, when you call about your personal injury matter, we’ll be upfront about whether you even need an attorney to settle your claim. Not only that, but you will always:
- Speak directly with one of our expert car crash attorneys – not just a paralegal or an intake specialist.
- Get the “Premier” client experience. Exceptional and personalized service, we will give you the VIP treatment! Don’t just take our word for it though, read what our clients say about us!
- Not pay a penny unless we win your case. That’s our “Zero-Fee Guarantee”.
It is a great honor for us to help people win their battles against the insurance companies. That being said, our focus has always been to provide the best client service in the Seattle, Bellevue, and Federal Way area. We take care of the legal fight with the adjusters, you just focus on recovering from your injuries! We will walk you through every step of the way, so you don’t have to worry about what is going on with your case.
Were You In A Hit And Run Accident?
No one should have to deal with the hardships from a hit and run accident. Let alone face the complicated legal battle with insurance adjusters that ensues. Our experienced team of auto accident lawyers has the knowledge and skills to help you fully recover the compensation you deserve!
Call us for a FREE consultation at 206-285-1743, and we would be happy to take all the work off your plate, so you can focus on getting better!