What do I do if I’m in a car accident? Am I at fault for the car accident? What if I’m involved in a car accident and I don’t know who is at fault?
I recently spoke at a local high school and was asked some really good questions by the students. A lot of them were 16-18-year-old students and recently started driving. I’m going to highlight some of the questions they asked over a couple blogs as they are questions I’m asked often and it is great for new drivers and experienced drivers to know the laws in Washington as it relates to any car accident.
What do I do if I cause a car accident? Can I leave the scene of the accident?
RCW 46.52.020 addresses the duties in case of personal injury or death or damage to attended vehicle or other property and the subsequent penalties.
You can read the full statute here (https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.52.020 ), but any driver involved in a car accident must remain at the scene of the accident until the driver has fulfilled the requirements noted in subsection (3):
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person, or involving striking the body of a deceased person, or resulting in damage to any vehicle which is driven or attended by any person or damage to other property shall give the following information:
- His or her name,
- Insurance company,
- Insurance policy number,
- Vehicle license number;
- And shall exhibit his or her vehicle driver’s license
Failure to adhere to the statutory requirements are punishable under subsections (4) and (5) and the punishments range from a gross misdemeanor to a felony.
It is important to make the above-noted information available to you in the vehicle as these are items required at the scene of an accident. In my next blog, I will address the requirements that must be fulfilled if you’re involved in a car accident with an unattended vehicle or property.