Screeching tires, shattering glass, a booming impact and then silence. You exit your damaged vehicle only to glimpse the driver who crashed into you driving away. This is a hit and run accident, and it leaves victims like you unsure of what to do next.
You are not alone. In 2015, more than 138,000 people were victims of hit-and-run accidents. And while these common accidents do present some legal hurdles, you do have options for seeking compensation for your injuries. An experienced lawyer from Will & Will can help you understand your options and fight for the hit and run compensation amount you deserve.
Ahead, we’ll cover types of hit and runs, your legal options and the factors that affect your hit and run compensation amount.
Hit and Runs Under Washington State Law
There are two types of hit and run accidents: attended and unattended. An attended hit and run accident occurs when you are in the vehicle when the driver hits it and flees. An unattended hit and run occurs when the driver hits your car while you are not there.
In an attended hit and run crash, the driver ignores their responsibility to remain at the scene and provide the following information:
- Insurance company and policy number
- Vehicle license number
- Driver’s license
Any Washington state driver who leaves the scene of an accident in which property was damaged or someone was injured has committed a crime.
Under the Revised Code of Washington, Section 46.52.020, leaving the scene of an attended hit and run accident with injuries is a Class B felony. This is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines. Leaving the scene of an unattended hit and run is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
But those are just the criminal penalties. A hit and run driver can face civil penalties, too. If the driver was at fault for the accident, they can be held accountable in a personal injury lawsuit. To win a personal injury lawsuit, you will have to show that the other driver was at fault for the crash. And leaving the scene of an accident is a good indicator that the driver might have been to blame.
How Much Can You Get from a Hit and Run Lawsuit?
Many factors will affect the hit and run compensation amount you are eligible for. In theory, you should be able to recover compensation for every way in which this accident has harmed you — both financially and mentally.
An average car accident settlement amount is difficult to determine. This is because settlement amounts depend on many factors, and many are kept confidential.
Though typical car accident settlements vary, and often depend on the at-fault driver’s insurance limits, the law does not place a limit on how much compensation you can recover for some types of alleged damages, such as economic damages, and other potential life altering damages.
You may be able to recover compensation for the following damages after a hit-and-run accident:
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Lost income during your recovery
- Lost future income due to an inability to work
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Disfigurement and disability
- Emotional distress
Working with a skilled personal injury attorney can boost your chance of recovering the maximum hit and run compensation amount available in your unique case.
How to Get Compensation After a Hit and Run
After a hit and run accident in Washington, you have a few options for recovering compensation. Clearly, you might have trouble identifying the driver if they fled the scene. But if you, your attorney or the police do identify the driver, you can hold them accountable in a personal injury claim.
You can also pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your own insurer if you have purchased uninsured motorist coverage.
While all hit and run accidents are different, there are a few steps you should consider taking after your crash in order to recover compensation:
- Call the police immediately after the crash. You can file a police report, and police may be able to help identify the runaway driver.
- Gather all available evidence at the crash scene. This includes photos and videos of the vehicles and your injuries, witness contact information and any other relevant details.
- Seek medical care. Even if you feel fine, a doctor can ensure you do not have any hidden injuries and create a medical record of the injuries you did suffer.
- Contact a trusted personal injury lawyer. Your attorney can help you identify the at-fault party, deal with insurers, file all legal paperwork and calculate the hit and run compensation amount you deserve.
Call Will & Will After Your Hit and Run Accident
The qualified personal injury attorneys at Will & Will have 35 years of combined experience. They bring these decades of experience helping accident victims like you to the table to help you recover maximum compensation.
Hit and run accidents can present unique legal challenges. But you can depend on Will & Will to provide personalized legal solutions that seek the hit and run compensation amount you deserve. To get started, call 206-209-5585 or contact us online.