Hit and Runs in Seattle

There are few events as unsettling as a hit-and-run accident. Often, the collision comes out of nowhere, and the driver who hit you is nowhere to be found. Whether you have immediately obvious injuries or not, it is important to get the help of a Seattle auto accident attorney as soon as possible. A Seattle car accident lawyer like those at Craig Swapp & Associates can help establish the facts of your case and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Hit and Run Defined

In the state of Washington, drivers are required by law to stop as soon as it is safe to do so after an accident. Drivers must provide information that includes their name, address, license, and insurance information to anyone involved in the accident. Failure to provide this information can result in misdemeanor or felony hit-and-run charges.

A car accident can be deeply disturbing, and people do not always make the ideal decisions in the immediate aftermath. A Seattle auto accident attorney can provide advice and assistance. They can help guide you in the hours and days after the accident to ensure that your legal obligations are fulfilled and that you are treated fairly under the law.

Fault in a hit and run?

When there is a hit-and-run in Seattle, fault is determined based on the concept of comparative negligence. This means that a number of factors are taken into account. Some may push fault toward one party, while others can make the other driver more culpable. These can include:

  • Dangerous road conditions.
  • Distracted driving.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or illicit substances.
  • Speeding.
  • Reckless driving.
  • Faulty equipment such as bad brakes or bad tires.

A skilled Seattle car accident lawyer can ensure that your case is accurately represented to bring about the most desirable outcome. An experienced motor vehicle accident attorney can focus on the factors that matter the most. We ensure that all factors involved in the crash are taken into account. 

Penalties in Seattle for a Hit and Run

Hit and runs in Seattle and elsewhere in Washington is treated as a serious matter. Accidents involving unoccupied vehicles or only property damage may result in misdemeanor charges. Typically, these are simple misdemeanors and that involve a $1,000 fine. Licenses are typically not suspended for a simple hit-and-run.

However, the outcomes of more serious accidents can involve stringent fines, community service, jail time, and driver’s license suspensions. It is important to have legal counsel right away.

Car accidents that involve major property damage, injuries, or loss of life can lead to felony charges. The degree of severity of the charges depends on the circumstances of the accident. Hit and run in an accident that results in death is a Class B felon hit y.  Aand run with injuries is a Class C felony. The penalties are determined by a judge but are within a preset framework for each class.

Because of how fault is determined in the state, accident lawyers are necessary to keep the facts straight. The other driver’s insurance and counsel will be working to reduce their client’s responsibility. We work on your behalf to ensure that you get fair compensation that takes your property damage, injuries and other factors into account. 

DUIs and Hit and Runs

When drugs or alcohol are involved in a hit and run, the consequences can get more severe. The penalty for a DUI hit and run can be up to 1 year in jail, up to a $5,000 fine and a mandatory 1 year suspension of a driver’s license.

If you have been involved in a hit and run and were under the influence, the judge will require a drug and alcohol assessment. We recommend enrolling in and completing any recommended drug or alcohol treatment as soon as possible. This demonstrates to the court that you take the issue seriously. 

How an Attorney Can Help

There are many factors that go into determining fault in hit and run accidents in Seattle. You need a skilled motor vehicle accident attorney on your side. At Craig Swapp & Associates, we bring years of experience to every case. We’ll help communicate the facts of the accident so that you get the compensation that you have coming to you.

If you’ve been in an accident, do not delay. The sequence of events is important, and recording it as soon as possible can help you ensure that nothing important is forgotten. Calling as soon as possible can help you preserve the timeline of events and ensure that you get a fair hearing in court or with the insurance agencies. Insurers have skilled attorneys working for them. Be sure you have the protection of your own independent counsel.

Written By: Ryan Swapp     Legal Review By: Craig Swapp