If you are driving and end up in an accident, what are your responsibilities as a motorist? If you are uninjured, can you simply drive away and keep going to your destination?


When any type of accident occurs—whether it involves a pedestrian, bicycle, motorcycle or other vehicles—you must stop at the scene. If the other party is injured, you must render medical aid. If nobody is injured, you should still exchange contact information in case you need you file a claim with your insurance company. You may find out that your car is severely damaged or you may develop pain and injuries down the road.


If you do not stop at the scene of a car accident in Washington, this is called a hit and run accident. A hit and run is illegal and is typically punished as a misdemeanor. However, if the victim is injured or killed, the charge can escalate to a felony.

What the Law Says

A hit and run accident occurs when a driver purposely leaves an accident scene without leaving contact information. This includes hitting parked cars and leaving no note with contact information.


Under RCW 46.52.020, Washington motorists have a duty to immediately stop after being involved in an accident. They should confront the other motorist and any passengers and check to see if there are any injuries. If so, then they should call for medical help and stay at the scene until help arrives.


If there are no injuries—just vehicle damage—then the parties should exchange information, including name, address, vehicle license number, insurance company and policy number. The parties may choose to call the police and wait for police to arrive, especially in major accidents.


For misdemeanor cases, you could still face up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. For Class B felony cases, you could face 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Contact a Washington Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are facing hit and run charges, it’s important to seek legal defense. A hit and run charge have serious consequences, especially if the victim was injured or killed. Contact the Washington criminal defense attorneys at The Nahajski Firm. We have nearly 40 years combined legal experience in representing clients in Seattle, Puget Sound, and surrounding areas. Find out more about how we can defend you. Call us at (206) 621-0500 or contact us online to request a free consultation today.