If you are driving and get in an accident, you have certain legal obligations. These obligations vary only slightly depending on the extent of the accident.
Accidents Involving Injury or Death
If you are involved in a car accident where someone is injured or dies, you must stop immediately at the scene, or as close to the scene as practical. You are then required to stay at the scene until you provide the information required by law (discussed below). Washington statutes require drivers to be mindful of traffic and obstruct traffic no more than absolutely necessary.
Accidents Involving Property Damage
If you cause only property damage to another car or to other property, you should pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. This may be off the roadway, on the shoulder, the median, the area next to the exit ramp, the next cross street, or another suitable location. Then you must provide the information provided by law (discussed below).
After any accident, you re required to provide the following:
- Your name,
- The name of your insurance company,
- Your insurance policy number,
- Vehicle license number, and
- Your driver's license.
You are also required to provide reasonable assistance, such as calling emergency first responders. If emergency first responders are not needed (say, for example, you hit a light post), you still have to call the police and file a report with the above information.
Consequences for Hit and Run
If you leave the scene of an accident, you could be facing serious penalties. Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death without providing the above information is a class B felony. This means you could face up to ten years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine. If the accident only causes injury but not death, leaving the scene without providing the required information is a Class C felony. This means you could face up to five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Failing to stop at a property accident scene or reporting such an accident is a gross misdemeanor. Gross misdemeanors are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.
In addition to criminal consequences, a person who leaves the scene and convicted of this crime will have their driving privileges revoked.
Facing Criminal Charges?
If you are charged with hit and run, or if you think you might be charged, contact Vinny Randhawa. Vinny represents people charged in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties. Call (425) 228-2202 for a consultation.