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Hit and Run Laws

  1. What Is a Hit and Run?
  2. Hit and Run Penalties
  3. Getting Compensation After a Hit and Run
  4. How a Lawyer Can Help with Your Hit and Run Case
  5. Damages You Can Pursue in a Hit and Run Case
  6. Let Us Handle Your Hit and Run Case

Washington’s hit and run laws make it clear that leaving the scene of an accident without trying to help the other is a crime. Anyone caught committing a hit and run could face serious penalties, including prison time and the loss of their driver’s license.

If you were injured by a hit and run driver, there may still be ways for you to recover compensation, even if the process is more difficult because the driver cannot be found. For a free case review, call Herschensohn Law at (206) 588-4344 today.

What Is a Hit and Run?

Being in a car accident is bad enough. Realizing that the person who hit you has abandoned you at the scene without leaving their information or making sure you are all right is not just devastating, it is illegal.

RCW § 46.52.020 clearly lays out the responsibilities of a driver who causes an accident, including:

  • Stopping immediately and as close to the scene of the accident as possible
  • Making sure any injured parties receive appropriate medical attention
  • Showing their driver’s license and providing relevant insurance and contact information

These rules apply no matter what the outcome of the accident was. Whether the driver caused an injury, a fatality, or property damage, they must follow the above rules unless they are so seriously injured that they are incapable of fulfilling this duty.

It is also important to note that a hit and run does not have to involve two vehicles: pedestrians and bicyclists can also become hit and run victims.

Hit and Run Penalties

hit and run penalties

What consequences a hit and run driver faces depends on how much damage they did before fleeing the scene.

Naturally, killing someone is the most serious offense. Leaving the scene after a fatality is a Class B felony. RCW § 9A.20.021 states that such crimes may be punished with either or both of:

  • A prison sentence of up to ten years 
  • A fine of up to $20,000

If the person causes a survivable injury, they could be charged with a Class C felony. Upon conviction, the hit and run driver could face either or both of:

  • A prison sentence of up to five years
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Per the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL), those convicted of a hit and run involving an occupied vehicle can also lose their driver’s license for up to one year.

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Getting Compensation After a Hit and Run


When drivers disobey hit and run laws, it can be difficult for the victim to receive compensation as one of the main ways for a car accident victim to get compensation is by suing the at-fault driver. If the at-fault driver cannot be found, it is impossible to sue them. 

That said, the lawyer at Herschensohn Law can work hard to find a way of recovering compensation for you. Our team can investigate your case to determine the best way to pursue damages. Our methods may include:

  • Trying to find the hit and run driver
  • Seeking compensation from your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (if you have any)
  • Finding another liable party

This last point illustrates why hiring us to investigate your case is so important. For instance, while the hit and run driver is an obvious liable party, there may be other factors that contributed to your accident or injury, such as:

  • A faulty car part (e.g., brakes or airbags) that made the accident worse than it had to be
  • A roadway that has not been properly maintained by the local government
  • A third driver who got in the way and caused you or the hit and run driver to lose control

How a Lawyer Can Help with Your Hit and Run Case

We leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding ways of recovering your compensation. We also leave no legal task incomplete. At Herschensohn Law, when we investigate your case, we can take care of everything on your behalf, including:

  • Sending a demand letter to the appropriate party
  • Managing all communications so you do not have to have direct contact with any liable party or insurance company
  • Negotiating for a fair settlement or, if necessary and possible, taking your case to court and seeking a jury award
  • Filling out and submitting all necessary paperwork, including the settlement agreement

We can guide you throughout your entire case. We know how traumatic it is to be involved in a hit and run, and we can make things easier by:

  • Charging no attorney’s fees upfront
  • Answering your questions
  • Giving you solid counsel about how to handle your case
  • Keeping you updated as we move through the legal process
  • Helping to “demystify” the law by explaining it clearly

Damages You Can Pursue in a Hit and Run Case

hit and run laws

The types and amounts of damages you can receive will depend on who pays you those damages. For instance, if we can locate and sue a liable party, you could receive a wide variety of damages that includes:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage (especially damage to your vehicle)
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of earning capacity

If you seek payment from your uninsured motorist insurance, the types of compensation you can receive may be more limited. You might only be able to get reimbursement for certain financial losses, such as medical expenses and loss of income. This, however, can still be a valuable source of support.

Let Us Handle Your Hit and Run Case

The car accident lawyers of Herschensohn Law in Kent wants to make sure that everyone in Washington State obeys all hit and run laws. To that end, we represent hit and run survivors and help them pursue fair compensation however we can.

Call (206) 588-4344 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

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When you request your free consultation, Kent personal injury attorney Zach Herschensohn will listen to you, answer your questions, lay out your legal options, and give you down-to-earth legal advice.

When you work with our law office, there are no obligations, hidden fees, or fine print. It’s that simple.

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We’re proud to fight—and win—for injured people in Kent, Washington. View our case results to learn more.