Tacoma Hit and Run Lawyers
If you or a loved one is a victim of a hit and run accident, you should contact a firm with experienced hit and run attorneys as soon as possible. Accidents like this are devastating, often both physically and emotionally. You were in a crash and left alone.
At Strong Law, our car accident attorneys appreciate all that you are going through. Accidents can be costly, both in terms of your well-being and with regard to the expenses associated with medical treatment, repairing or replacing your vehicle, and possibly even lost wages. The effects of a hit and run accident impact you, your family and others close to you.
Contact the hit and run lawyers of Strong Law in Tacoma at 206-741-1051 for your free consultation and to learn exactly how we can help you.
Hit and Run Accidents in Tacoma
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
Accidents happen. Unfortunately, the drivers who caused them do not always remain on the scene; sometimes they speed away. These accidents are called hit and run, and there are several kinds of them. The first is when your vehicle is hit by another whose driver, instead of remaining at the scene of the accident, leaves.
You can even be a victim of a hit and run accident if you are not in a vehicle. Pedestrians or bicycle riders who are hit by vehicles with drivers that do not stop to check on them AND leave their contact and insurance information are also considered to be involved in a hit and run. The driver of a vehicle which hits an individual must stop and provide contact and insurance information. Simply checking to see if you are okay and then driving off is still considered “hit and run.”
Finally, hit and run may also occur when your vehicle is parked and unoccupied and another driver hits it and drives away without leaving contact information regarding the damage. In Washington, all these actions are illegal.
Washington Laws Require Action
The state of Washington has very specific laws that outline the responsibilities of those who have been in an automobile accident where property was damaged or an individual was injured or killed. In all cases, the driver is required to remain at the scene of the accident and check on the victims, provide relevant information and leave a note if the accident occurs with a parked and unattended vehicle.
Depending upon the circumstances of the accident, the individual who left the scene can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony.
- Hit and run accidents that result in the death of another individual are class B felonies.
- Those that cause injury to another individual are class C felonies.
- Striking the body of an individual who is deceased is a gross misdemeanor.
- Damage to a parked vehicle is a misdemeanor.
These crimes are punishable by fines, prison time or both.
Additionally, an individual charged with hit and run may face criminal charges and may be found civilly liable for damages to the individual who was hit.
While it seems as if the severity of the penalties would prevent incidents like this from happening, it simply does not. Sometimes the extenuating situations of the driver (like having no insurance or license, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or even having an outstanding arrest warrant) encourages them to leave. Sadly, hit and run accidents still occur frequently in Washington.
Sometimes the hit and run driver simply panics – but this is not a reasonable excuse for leaving the scene of an accident. Our Tacoma hit and run attorneys stand by the belief that there is no acceptable reason for leaving the scene of an accident, and we provide our clients comprehensive and diligent service as we fight to get the compensation package you deserve.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations
Our attorneys understand the laws governing the timing of hit and run accident lawsuits. According to Washington state law, victims of car accidents have three years to file suit for personal injury. The date from which the statute of limitations calendar begins is the date of the accident/injury. However, if someone is killed, the date of death is used to begin the three-year period. Your Tacoma hit and run attorneys can explain the details regarding these laws and how they will affect your personal situation.
Advice from Hit and Run Accident Lawyers in Tacoma
Things to Do If You Are the Victim of a Hit and Run Accident
As a hit and run accident victim, you are likely overwhelmed. Overseeing your healthcare, your property damage and your insurance issues is a lot to balance. And you may be concerned with the finances of the entire process.
Our hit and run attorneys are experienced in managing cases like yours. They suggest that if you were in a hit and run accident, you should do the following.
- Seek Medical Attention: Your well-being and that of anyone traveling with you should always be your priority. Make sure you obtain appropriate medical care. If you were taken from the accident to the hospital in an ambulance, be sure to follow up with your personal physician.
If you felt okay after the accident and refused treatment at the scene, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor. Often the adrenaline rush of a crash can mask the immediate pain of an injury. Visit your doctor to ensure that you are okay.
- Record What You Remember: Any information you can recall can be valuable in a hit and run situation. The following details can be incredibly important.
- Car make and model
- Complete or partial license plate information
- Names and telephone numbers of anyone who may have witnessed the accident
- Date and time the accident happened
- Photographs of the site and your car (but only if you can do this safely).
It makes sense to write down everything you can remember from the accident; keep a notebook nearby to add information as you remember it. No detail is too small. It is so easy to forget things as time goes by.
- Be Safe: Perhaps most importantly, do NOT pursue the car that hit you. You must protect yourself and your family. Chasing down someone who committed the crime of hit and run can be dangerous.
- Call the Police: Contacting law enforcement is critical. While you are not required to file a police report, there really is no reason not to do this. Remember, the person who hit you who was in the wrong, not you. Contacting the police immediately, while you are still at the accident scene, is optimal. This allows them to provide a first-hand account of the situation and they may even be able to talk to those who saw what happened.
- Contact Your Insurance Company: You will want to report the hit and run accident to your insurance company but should not discuss settlements.
- Contact Our Hit and Run Lawyers: The hit and run accident attorneys at Strong Law are well-versed in the issues pertaining to these types of accidents. We will serve as your representative with your insurance company, advocating for the best possible settlement. It is wise to involve us at the outset so we can communicate with everyone on your behalf. We can advocate for you, firmly and calmly.
Our Hit and Run Accident Lawyers Answer FAQs
Our hit and run attorneys regularly field a variety of questions relating to these types of car accidents. Below we have shared some of the issues most often raised, as well as our responses.
Do I have to file a police report after a hit and run?
Is there a charge for speaking with an attorney?
What type of compensation can I expect in a hit and run case?
Should I speak with representatives of the insurance companies?
What if the individual who hit me cannot be found?
If you have a question about your hit and run accident that was not addressed above, contact our attorneys for a free consultation. Call us today at 206-741-1051 so our hit and run attorneys can learn about your case and how we can help you.
Helping Victims of Hit and Run Accidents Move Forward
Our Hit and Run Attorneys Are Your Best Advocate
You may wonder why you need an attorney. After all, won’t the insurance companies just take care of everything? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is no. You must always remember that insurance is a business, and insurance companies’ primary concerns are not protecting you – their No. 1 objective is protecting their bottom line. Quite often their first offer is not their best offer, and it may not come close to providing you the compensation you need and deserve. Negotiating with them will likely be necessary.
Our Strong Law Hit and Run Lawyers Provide Expert Counsel
If you are the victim of a hit and run accident, the advice and counsel of qualified legal professionals may prove to be your most valuable asset. With our team of hit and run attorneys working for you, we will not only serve as fierce negotiators with insurance companies, we are also aggressive litigators.
Whether your case settles or goes to trial, you can count on our hit and run law firm to fight for all of the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Jed Strong, our founder, previously worked as an in-house attorney for a large insurance company. Our hit and run attorneys leverage his personal experience and knowledge to make sure you receive the settlement you deserve.
As a hit and run accident victim, you have experienced significant trauma. The physical and emotional recovery process can be challenging and will likely require all your energy. As your attorneys, we will manage every step of the legal process on your behalf, including overseeing any investigations, communicating with insurance companies, negotiating settlements and, if necessary, representing you in court. You can focus 100% of your efforts on getting well.