Readers of this blog know that Washington state law provides that those who are injured in a car accident can recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit if the accident was caused by another driver’s negligence. In the case of a fatal accident, the immediate family may be compensated for their damages through a lawsuit based on the legal theory of wrongful death.
But what happens if the injured or their family members can’t find the negligent driver? In other words, what happens in the case of a hit-and-run?
Recently, police said a woman who is suspected in the fatal hit-and-run death of a pedestrian in the Seattle area was arrested in another state. A spokesperson for the Kent police said the 20-year-old woman was arrested on an unrelated charge in Colorado.
According to news reports, the fatal auto-pedestrian accident occurred when a 29-year-old man was walking along a roadway in Kent. Police said they discovered the man’s body when they were investigating an unrelated accident. Realizing the man had been struck by a car, officers searched the area and found a vehicle that had been recently abandoned. Witnesses described the driver of that car and said she had fled in another vehicle, possibly headed out of state. After a woman meeting the description was arrested in Colorado, police there contacted Kent police.
When a driver flees the scene of an accident, it complicates efforts of the injured to recover compensation. However, it’s important to remember that hit-and-run drivers are often caught.
Under Washington state law, a driver who is involved in an accident resulting in injury or death must remain at the scene and render assistance. Failure to do so is considered a felony.
Police are increasingly good at tracking down people suspected of being involved in hit-and-run accidents. Members of the public, who of course are concerned with safety, often cooperate with the authorities in tracking down these suspects.
If you have been injured, or if a loved one was killed in an accident, speak to a lawyer about your case. Even in the case of a hit-and-run accident, you may have legal options available to recover compensation.
Source: The Seattle Times, “Woman wanted in connection with fatal hit-and-run in Kent arrested in Colorado,” Paige Cornwell, Sept. 12, 2017