Washington Hit and Run Laws & Penalties

Many drivers fear being involved in a vehicle accident, but what happens when you are the victim of a hit-and-run collision? A hit-and-run occurs when another vehicle hits you but continues to drive and does not stop at the scene.

These types of accidents can be challenging since the person at fault must be located. Recovering after a hit-and-run accident can also be a bit difficult, which is why it is in your best interest to hire a personal injury attorney.

At NBF Accident Law, our auto accident attorneys are dedicated to helping victims of auto accidents get the results they deserve. Keep reading to find out what the penalties are for hit-and-run accidents and the steps you should take after the accident has occurred.

Penalties For Hit-and-Run Collisions

There are two different types of hit-and-run accidents in the state of Washington. The first is a hit-and-run unattended accident where a driver hit another unattended vehicle. They may leave the accident scene without notifying the car’s owner in any way.

An unattended hit-and-run is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 90 days in jail along with a $1000 fine. This offense also applies if a driver strikes property adjacent to the roadway.

The other type of hit-and-run is a hit-and-run attended accident where the other vehicle that was struck is attended by the driver. The at-fault driver may flee the scene of the collision without exchanging information with the other driver. If the accident did not result in an injury, it is a gross misdemeanor that comes with up to 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine.

If the accident injured the other driver, it is a class C felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison with a fine of up to $10,000. If the accident results in a fatality, it is a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison with a $20,000 fine.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident

After being involved in a hit-and-run accident, you are most likely feeling a bit confused and overwhelmed. You should take a few steps directly after the accident to stay safe and prepare for your future auto accident case.

Get Somewhere Safe

After being in any kind of auto accident, the first thing you want to do is get to a safe location. If you are driving a vehicle, you will need to navigate your vehicle somewhere safe, or you can leave it and go on foot.

There is a very high risk of victims being struck by other vehicles on the road, so you want to get somewhere that is out of the roadway.

Check For Injuries

The next thing you need to do after a hit-and-run accident is to check yourself and anyone else in the vehicle for injuries. Keep in mind that many injuries may not be physically visible, such as internal injuries and a concussion.

It is best to move as little as possible directly after an accident in case you have any injuries you aren’t aware of. If you believe that you have a spine or head injury, you should find a safe place to lie down until medical professionals arrive.

Call 911

You or someone else at the scene of the collision will need to call 911 to report the accident. The 911 dispatcher can notify the police as well as send over an ambulance to provide medical care to those who need it.

Law enforcement will start an investigation regarding the other driver and will file a police report that can later be used to support your case.

Document Evidence

If possible, you should try to document evidence at the scene of the collision. This includes different types of evidence, such as:

  • Photos of damage
  • Photos of injuries
  • Surveillance footage
  • Witness contact information

All this information will be very useful for your attorney as they build your case. If you were injured in the collision, this information will be taken down in the police report, which your attorney can later access.

Contact Your Insurance Company

After any kind of vehicle accident, one of the first things you need to do is contact your insurance company. Keep in mind that getting coverage for a hit-and-run accident can be quite difficult, depending on the type of policy you have.

Some insurance policies cover hit-and-run collisions when it comes to vehicle damage and physical injuries. Or you may have to negotiate with your insurance company, especially if you are unable to locate the at-fault party.

Hire an Attorney

Hiring an auto accident attorney is a vital stab that will help you prepare for the legal process after a hit-and-run. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf with any involved parties, including insurance companies.

Your attorney can help you with this process whether the at-fault party is found or not.

Recovering After a Hit-and-Run Accident

There is more to recovering after a hit-and-run accident than many people realize. Being the victim of a hit-and-run is very unsettling and can leave you having to recover mentally, physically, and financially.

You may want to talk with a therapist about how you are feeling after the accident, or you may want to take other forms of transportation for a while. Many people find that calming practices such as meditation and physical exercise can help manage feelings of anxiety and stress. Finding those around you who can act as your support system as you get back on your feet is essential.

Need a Personal Injury Attorney? Contact NBF Accident Law Today

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, this can have life-altering implications. Not only could this result in extensive property damage and personal injuries, but it can also have a significant impact on your mental health.

At NBF Accident Law, our personal injury attorneys are dedicated to achieving the best possible result for victims of hit-and-run accidents. We understand the complexities of these cases and can help ensure that you get the best legal representation for your case.

Contact us today at 206-923-8888 to schedule a consultation with one of our top attorneys.