Hit and Run Car Accidents
Were you involved in an accident caused by a driver who fled the scene? If so, you’re not alone. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a hit-and-run accident occurs somewhere in the United States about once a minute.
It’s common to feel frustrated and angry after a hit-and-run crash, but it’s important to remember that you have options. At Tate Law Offices, our attorneys have helped thousands of people just like you obtain money for their medical bills, lost income, and other losses. We have a greater than 99% success rate. Contact us today to learn more about how our hit-and-run lawyers can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
What Is Considered a Hit-and-Run Accident in Texas?
A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver collides with a pedestrian, a fixed object, or another vehicle and then leaves the scene of the accident without stopping to exchange information or render assistance. Leaving the scene of a car accident in Texas is not just insensitive and dishonest. It’s also illegal.
Under §550.023 of the Texas Transportation Code, any motorist involved in a collision that results in injury, death, or damage to an attended vehicle is required to:
- Stop their vehicle and remain at the scene of the accident or as close by as possible without obstructing traffic any more than necessary.
- Provide their full name, address, vehicle registration number, and insurance details to any individuals involved in the collision.
- Show your driver’s license to anyone who asks to see it.
- Provide “reasonable assistance” to anyone who was injured as a result of the accident, which may include arranging to have them taken to a medical facility.
Anyone who fails to stop and provide their information or render assistance may be subject to criminal hit-and-run charges.
What Happens If I Leave the Scene of a Car Accident?
If you are involved in an auto accident in Texas, you are legally obligated to remain at the scene even if you were not at fault for the wreck. The only exceptions include:
- Accidents that leave you seriously injured and in need of emergency care
- Accidents involving unattended vehicles, after which you are simply expected to leave behind a note with your contact details
- Accidents that occur in “dead zones” of cell phone reception, after which you are permitted to leave the dead zone to make phone calls as needed
If you leave the scene of a Texas car accident, you could face criminal and civil penalties regardless of who was responsible for the collision itself. This is why notifying the police before leaving the scene of any crash is essential.
If you were involved in a Texas hit-and-run case and the other person left the scene, contact us for legal advice on how to pursue a recovery for you injuries.
What Happens If the Other Driver Leaves the Scene?
If you were involved in an accident and the other driver left the scene, contact the authorities and our law firm immediately. Give the police as much information about the other person and their vehicle that you have. Police can take the details and look for additional evidence or witnesses that may help identify the hit-and-run driver.
If investigators succeed in identifying the hit-and-run motorist, they could face the following consequences:
- Liability for the accident– If you file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the other driver, they may be responsible for the cost of any accident-related personal and financial losses you suffered.
- Fines– The other driver could be fined up to $500 for a hit-and-run resulting in property damage and up to $5,000 for a hit-and-run resulting in bodily injury.
- Jail time– If the hit-and-run results in more than $200 in property damage, the other driver could face up to six months’ jail time. Drivers can receive up to one year in county jail or five years in state prison for hit-and-runs resulting in relatively minor injuries, or two to ten years in state prison for hit-and-runs resulting in serious injury.
- Loss of driving privileges– Conviction of any hit-and-run offense could result in the suspension or revocation of the driver’s license.
- Loss of insurance– Many auto insurance providers will cancel a driver’s policy if they are convicted of a hit-and-run violation.
In some cases, it may be impossible to locate the driver who left the scene of an accident. If this is the case, you will likely need to rely on your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage or other relevant policy for compensation. You likely have UM/UIM coverage unless you explicitly refused it. An experienced Texas hit-and-run attorney can help you demand the maximum compensation to which you’re entitled. Remember, insurance companies are looking out for their own profit margins, and they’ll do whatever they can to pay out as little as possible. An experienced hit-and-run accident lawyer will help protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
What to Do If You Have Been Involved in a Hit-and-Run Accident
Being the victim of a hit-and-run accident can leave you feeling hurt, angry, and unsure of where to turn for help. Fortunately, there are several simple steps you can take to protect your rights after a hit-and-run:
- Remain at the scene– Unless you need emergency medical care, stay put. If you leave the scene of the wreck, it could become more difficult to establish that the other driver did so first. However, make sure you are in a safe place.
- Contact the police– Call the police as soon as possible to tell them what happened.
- Take photos of everything– Take photos of the vehicle damage, any visible injuries you sustained, and other evidence of the crash, such as vehicle skid marks or broken car parts.
- Write down what happened – While your memory is fresh, write down everything you can remember about the accident, the other driver, and their vehicle. Relay these details to law enforcement.
- Look for other evidence– Look around the scene for other possible sources of evidence, such as traffic cameras and eyewitnesses.
- Contact a car accident lawyer– Talk to an attorney who can help you file a hit-and-run accident claim as soon as possible.
How to Report a Hit-and-Run Accident in Texas
Once you have contacted the police about the hit-and-run accident, you may also want to report the crash to your insurance provider. Many insurers require you to report accident.
Depending on the specifics of your insurance policy, your insurance company may cover the costs of the hit-and-run. It’s a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable attorney before you contact your insurance carrier so you have a clear idea of what your policy covers and what kinds of statements could damage your case.
Contact Tate Law Offices Today
When you need a hit-and-run accident lawyer after a Texas car crash, look no further than the trusted team at Tate Law Offices. We understand the complexities, and there are many, involved in Texas hit-and-run law and insurance claims. We can guide you through the process while fighting for fair compensation. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.