What Evidence is Needed to Convict on a Hit and Run?

Hit and Run Evidence

 

If you have been injured in an accident where the driver failed to stop and identify themselves, then you may be wondering what legal options you have to be compensated. In Washington state, the action of hit and run is illegal under criminal law and civil law and can result in significant monetary damages. If you are considering legal action, then it is important to speak to an experienced attorney who can help guide you.

What is a Hit and Run?

Under Washington law, a hit and run occurs when a driver leaves the scene of an accident without stopping to render aid or exchanging personal information. This is also referred to as a “failure to stop and render aid.” A hit and run can result in either felony or a misdemeanor criminal charges, depending on the severity of the accident.

Hit and runs are considered especially serious because they often involve victims who are seriously injured or killed. When a driver flees the scene, it becomes much more difficult for the victim to receive compensation for their injuries. In some cases, an insurance company may refuse to pay out claims if they determine that the driver committed a hit and run.

What are the Laws for Hit and Run in Washington?

The Washington state hit and run laws are governed by RCW 46.52.020. The law requires that drivers involved in an accident must stop at the scene and exchange information with the other driver or render aid if necessary. If a driver fails to do this and leaves the scene, they can be charged with a hit and run.

There are two types of hit and runs in Washington after an auto accident: felony hit and runs, and misdemeanor hit and runs. A felony hit and run occurs when someone suffers a bodily injury or is killed in an accident. A misdemeanor hit and run occurs when there is no injured person and only property damage.

The penalties for a hit and run depend on whether it is classified as a felony or a misdemeanor. A felony hit and run can result in fines, jail time, or both. For a misdemeanor hit and run, the penalties may include a fine or community service.

If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, it is important to speak to an experienced Washington lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and work with insurance companies to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

What Types of Evidence are Needed to Convict?

In order to prove that a hit and run occurred, prosecutors will need to establish several key elements of the crime. These elements include:

  • That an accident occurred
  • That the defendant was the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident
  • That the defendant knew or should have known that an accident occurred
  • That the defendant willfully failed to stop at the scene of the accident
  • That the victim suffered damages as a result of the accident

There are a few different types of evidence that can be used to establish these elements. First, witnesses can provide testimony about what they saw happen. This can be especially important if there are no other eyewitnesses to the accident.

Second, physical evidence can be used to connect the defendant to the incident. This may include the defendant’s license plate, vehicle damage to the defendant’s car, or debris from the accident scene. Third, surveillance footage or security camera footage may have captured the accident on video.

This can be helpful in establishing the sequence of events and identifying the vehicles involved. Circumstantial evidence can also be used, as well as any police report on the matter. Make sure to call the police department and ask to speak to a police officer to make a report. Document any medical treatment for any personal injuries that you suffered.

What is the Burden of Proof?

In order to convict a defendant of hit and run, prosecutors must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high burden of proof and requires that there be no other reasonable explanation for the events that occurred other than the defendant’s guilt. If there is any doubt as to whether the defendant is guilty, then they should be acquitted.

Can a Hit and Run Be a Civil Case?

Yes, a hit and run can be a civil case under Washington negligence law. Under negligence law, you must prove four main elements to be successful, they are:

  • That you were owed a duty of care by the other driver,
  • That the other driver breached that duty of care,
  • That the other driver was the proximate cause of your injuries or other damage, and
  • That you actually suffered injury or property damage.

If your case is filed as a civil case, then your burden of proof is lower than in criminal court. The burden of proof for a civil case is proof by a preponderance of the evidence.

This means that it is more likely than not that the events occurred as alleged by the plaintiff. If both civil and criminal cases are filed, then they will process independently of one another. If the defendant is found guilty in a criminal court, then that verdict can be used against him or her in a civil court. If you have legal questions, then call us at the Law Office of Sofia Miguel so we can help!

Sofia’s No Fee Guarantee

Attorney Sofia K. Miguel guarantees that you will never write a check to our law firm under Sofia’s “no fee guarantee.” Consultations are free and if your case is selected, then Sofia will also cover all of your court costs incurred during your hit and run case.

Sofia only gets paid when you do. Her services will cost you nothing out of pocket; simple as that. Let Sofia’s nearly twenty years of experience in helping people recover from their injuries get to work for you now.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a hit and run near Seattle, Puyallup, or Tacoma, WA, then contact us for an initial consultation with Sofia Miguel as she is ready to help you fight to get the money you deserve. Call us at 253-200-4471, come visit our office right here in Puyallup at 702 S. Hill Park Dr. #207, or contact us online anytime. We are here for you.

Personal Injury Attorney Puyallup

Sofia K. Miguel, Attorney

Sofia K. Miguel has extensive litigation experience; she has tried or arbitrated hundreds of cases throughout Western Washington. She graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2000 and has 17 years’ experience representing injured people. She is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and an EAGLE member of the Washington State Association for Justice.

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