Recently there have been some hit and run accidents that hit the news. Earlier this month, a Western Washington University student was hit on I-5, and the driver was later arrested. Last October, this pedestrian was hit but got off lucky.
As a driver, it’s the number one rule embedded in our head as a moral obligation-never leave the scene of an accident, no matter what. Being involved in a serious automobile accident, especially if injury results, creates an overwhelming feeling of wanting to run away from the situation for many. However, this is not the right choice to make from both a legal and moral standpoint.
In Washington, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident you caused:
Duty in case of personal injury or death or damage to attended vehicle or other property—Penalties.
(1) A driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the injury to or death of any person or involving striking the body of a deceased person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident or as close thereto as possible but shall then forthwith return to, and in every event remain at, the scene of such accident until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of subsection (3) of this section; every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
Car accidents are traumatic and emotional for all involved; even witnesses are traumatized, especially if they are a relation or friend of the victim. However, the penalities you may face if you leave the scene of an accident you cause add needless pain and suffering to those involved. Modern forensics make it very difficult for hit and run drivers to successfully hide. No matter what, if you are involved in an accident, either as the one who caused it, the victim, or a witness, stay on scene. Here is more information on what to do if you are involved in a car accident in Bellingham.