In a startling example of the dangers facing pedestrians in Seattle, a hit and run driver struck four pedestrians in the early hours of the morning on January 26, 2015.
According to the news story, the four pedestrians were standing on the median when they were struck. The driver of the hit and run vehicle was going approximately 40 miles per hour through an intersection when she reportedly jumped the curb, hit the pedestrians in the median, as well as a tree, and kept going.
All four pedestrians suffered injuries, ranging from cuts and bruises to a broken leg and possible skull fracture.
Law enforcement found and arrested the driver on suspicion of DUI and vehicular assault.
Who pays for damages in a hit and run?
Because law enforcement officers were able to find the driver in this case, the pedestrians will be able to hold her liable in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
If the hit and run driver has insurance, her insurance policy will cover the pedestrians’ injuries up to her claim limit.
What if law enforcement officers are unable to find the driver?
Unfortunately, in many cases, officers are not able to find the drivers in hit and run accidents. In these cases, injured parties may need to file a claim with their own insurance company if they have personal injury protection (PIP) or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM).
Both PIP and UM/UIM coverages are optional in Washington State so it is best to check your policy to see if you carry them. You may also be able to use your health insurance to tend to your injuries.
If you do not carry these coverages when you are the victim of the hit and run accident, you very rarely have other options. The best thing to do is to make sure you have these coverages before an accident.
This is also true if the officers find the driver but she is uninsured. You will need to use your own policies to tend to your injuries.
Is there a way to help officers find the driver?
To maximize the chances of finding the driver, it is helpful if you or witnesses can identify any of the following characteristics for the police to investigate:
- Car's make/model, color, location, direction, license plate number
- Nearest cross-streets
- Identifying characteristics
Even with this information, however, sometimes the drivers simply seem to disappear into thin air. This is why it is so important to maintain adequate insurance.
Pedestrian injuries in hit and run accidents can be severe and debilitating, and understanding the complicated insurance policies can require professional assistance. Contact Max Meyers Law PLLC at 425-242-5595.