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Matthew Albrecht | Founder & Attorney | Albrecht Law, PLLC
Matthew Albrecht
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We Help Drivers and Families in the Aftermath of Hit-and-Run Crashes in and Around Spokane and Throughout Washington

As a responsible Washington driver who has registered their car, safely operates their vehicle, and maintains liability insurance, you might expect other drivers to fulfill the same responsibilities. However, experiencing a hit-and-run accident could drastically alter your perception. A hit and run occurs whenever a driver either does not stop and exchange information or does not stop to provide aid following an accident. These scenarios generally fall into one of two categories:

  • The hit-and-run driver speeds off instead of stopping to meet with the other driver
  • The hit-and-run driver hits an unattended vehicle and does not leave information

If a hit-and-run driver inflicts injuries on you and other passengers in your car, you could feel angry and overwhelmed by your injuries and ensuing medical bills, anxious about the future, and concerned about holding the at-fault person responsible for your compensation.

At Albrecht Law, we understand the devastation hit-and-run drivers inflict on law-abiding motorists and their loved ones. Drawing upon our extensive knowledge of Washington law and our commitment to treating each person with care and compassion, we can help you pursue fair compensation for your personal injury after a hit-and-run accident.

Let us evaluate your Washington hit-and-run case during a free consultation, with no obligation to you. We’ll help you determine the right next steps even if we don’t take your case.

Common Causes of a Car Accident in Washington

In Washington, many causes of car collisions — including hit-and-run accidents — are also violations of traffic laws. Several of these common accident causes include:

  • Distracted Driving: Distracted driving, particularly due to the use of a cell phone, is a significant factor. Such distractions can include activities such as texting, talking on the phone, and other activities or behaviors that take a driver’s attention away from the road.
  • Impaired Driving: Impaired driving, which encompasses alcohol, illicit drugs, driving after using marijuana, and driving while using some prescription medications, is another cause of crashes. Drivers impaired by these substances pose a serious risk to road safety.
  • Speeding: Exceeding the speed limit or driving too fast for road conditions is a leading cause of vehicle crashes, as well as a violation of traffic laws. Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to react to hazards and increases the severity of a collision.
  • Failing to Yield Right of Way: Failure to yield the right of way at intersections and in other traffic situations often leads to accidents, especially in urban areas with heavy traffic.
  • Disregard of Traffic Signals: Ignoring traffic signals, including stop signs, red lights, and other traffic control devices, can lead to dangerous collisions and intersection accidents.

Weather Conditions: Inclement weather, such as rain, snow, fog, and ice, can lead to reduced visibility, slippery roads, black ice, and other dangerous conditions — increasing the risk of crashes with other vehicles.

Common Injuries Sustained in a Hit and Run in Washington

Hit-and-run accidents cause a variety of serious injuries to everyone involved, including:

  • Whiplash and Neck Damage: Whiplash is a prevalent injury in car accidents, including hit-and-run incidents. The sudden impact of a collision can cause the head and neck to jerk forward and backward, leading to soft tissue damage and neck strain.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): Head injuries are a serious consequence of hit-and-run accidents. TBIs can range from concussions to more severe conditions such as contusions, diffuse axonal injuries, hematomas, and skull fractures.
  • Spinal Cord Injury: The impact of a hit-and-run accident can lead to spinal cord trauma, which may entail a range of problems — from whiplash-associated disorders to more severe spinal cord damage.
  • Cuts, Lacerations, and Broken Bones: The force of a hit-and-run collision can cause cuts, lacerations, and various fractures, including broken bones in the extremities due to the impact.
  • Other Physical Damages and Emotional Trauma: A hit-and-run can also lead to a wide spectrum of medical problems affecting the back and internal organs, as well as psychological trauma due to the sudden and unexpected nature of the incident.

Hit and Run Laws in Washington

According to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.52.020, if a driver harms a person or damages a vehicle, they must stop, exchange information with the other driver, and provide assistance, if needed — such as medical care for those injured. If the accident causes a death, it will likely be considered a class B felony. An injury will likely lead to a class C felony. Despite these consequences, accidents involving hit-and-run drivers still occur in Washington.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Crash

Being involved in a hit and run can be traumatic. While you may be confused about your options immediately after the car accident, taking the following steps can improve your chances of either locating the responsible driver, recovering compensation, or both.

  1. Call The Police Immediately to Secure an Official Accident Report: As soon as possible following a hit-and-run, call the police. Tell the operator that you have been in a hit-and-run accident, and provide as many details as possible about the vehicle that hit you. Retaining a police report supports your case.
  2. Seek Medical Care: Whether you suffered a hit and run or any other type of accident, seek medical attention immediately afterward — even if you feel okay — because any severe injury you could have sustained may not manifest until later. Even if you don’t know how you will pay for your medical expenses, prioritize your recovery with a medical evaluation.
  3. Document the Auto Accident: Write down everything you can recall about the other driver and their vehicle, including the vehicle make, model, and year; the vehicle color; as much license plate information you can gather; any distinctive features about the vehicle and driver; and the direction in which the hit-and-run driver fled. Depending on how quickly the hit-and-run driver left the scene, it may be very difficult to note this information, but you should document everything you noticed and can recall while it is fresh in your memory. Thoroughly and quickly communicating this information to the police may also help to identify the hit-and-run driver.
  4. Engage Any Witnesses to the Crash Scene: If you see any witnesses to the crash, ask them for their description of the events and retain their contact information. Witnesses may have noticed things you did not.
  5. Tell Your Insurance Company: Even if you weren’t at fault for the accident, you need to notify your insurance company about the accident immediately afterward. Your insurance company will investigate the accident and determine whether or not any of your personal coverage policies apply.
  6. Keep a List of Expenses Related to the Hit and Run: Track and document all expenses you incur directly due to the hit and run, including medical expenses, lost wages from time off work, transportation costs, etc.
  7. Seek Legal Advice by Hiring a Lawyer: The police aren’t the only ones who can investigate a hit-and-run and attempt to locate a responsible driver — your lawyer can open an investigation, too. Hiring a lawyer improves your chances of locating the lawless driver and recovering compensation.

Who Pays for Damages After a Hit-and-Run Accident?

When car accidents occur in Spokane and throughout Washington, the other driver — the person responsible for the accident — must pay for any damages in the majority of cases. However, you may be wondering who pays in a hit and run after the at-fault driver flees the scene.

One source of compensation after a hit-and-run crash may be your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. You may also maintain Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which helps to pay for your injuries regardless of fault after a crash. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, hire an attorney with experience representing clients in hit-and-run accidents. A skilled and knowledgeable attorney will open an investigation to determine whether the negligence of any other person contributed to the crash and your related injuries. If efforts to locate the hit-and-run driver are successful, you could potentially bring a personal injury claim against this other driver, too.

Statute of Limitations for Hit-and-Run Accidents in Washington

In Washington, the statute of limitations for filing a claim after a hit and run is three years, meaning that a victim harmed in the motor vehicle crash or their legal representatives generally have a three-year window from the date of the hit-and-run incident to file a claim for compensation.

Keep in mind that the statute of limitations may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. It is therefore in your interest to seek legal counsel promptly in order to understand the relevant time constraints specific to your case and take appropriate action.

What Kind of Compensation Is Available for a Victim of a Hit and Run?

Victims of car crashes caused by hit-and-run drivers can seek two types of damages through a lawsuit or insurance claim.

1. Economic Damages: These pertain to out-of-pocket costs incurred from the accident, including:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Disability accommodations

2. Noneconomic Damages: These refer to the intangible and emotional consequences of the accident, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of quality of life

Your hit-and-run accident attorney at Albrecht Law can help you determine which of these types of damages may be applicable to your unique case.

Making an Insurance Claim in Washington Following a Hit-and-Run Accident

Insurance law governs transportation; however, insurance companies prioritize their bottom line above all else. Even if you submit a claim supported by robust evidence, including photos of property damage, eyewitness statements, and a police report, the insurance company will likely seek to minimize your settlement. Although Washington upholds specific rights for drivers with respect to insurance companies, it does not ensure a settlement that fully covers the damages caused by the accident. That’s why consulting a competent hit-and-run accident lawyer to assist with your claim serves your interests.

When you have sustained bodily harm and property damage due to a driver who fled the scene, you need an attorney with knowledge, experience, and competence. At Albrecht Law, our Founder Matt Albrecht is the only planner and lawyer to have received the AASHTO (American Assoc of State Highway and Transportation Officials) award recognizing innovative new planning proposals for funding safety improvements. He prioritizes protecting children and pursuing safety for the traveling public by making roads and transportation systems safer. Matt’s profound understanding of insurance law, which he draws upon when representing clients, helps him build robust cases and pursue fair compensation following car collisions.

The Experienced Hit-and-Run Lawyers at Albrecht Law PLLC Want to Provide You Knowledgeable Legal Assistance — Starting with a Free Consultation

Being involved in a hit-and-run with other vehicles — whether cars or trucks — can have devastating effects on individuals and property. If you and other passengers in your car have been seriously injured, we want you to know that you are not alone.

Our hit and run lawyers at Albrecht Law PLLC can help you reclaim your life and pursue compensation for bodily harm and property damage by understanding your recovery options, even if the other driver cannot be located.

During a free consultation, we will review the details of your case and devise a strategy for seeking compensation based on the unique factors of the crash. We combine cutting-edge technology with loyal, personalized, and courteous attention. Contact us at (509) 495-1246(509) 495-1246 or complete our online form today to schedule your free consultation. We are here to serve you.

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