Accidents happen in Texas daily, and usually, they are minor. Unfortunately, sometimes a hit and run accident occurs, where the driver responsible for the crash leaves the scene. A hit and run accident can be frustrating because the at-fault driver is liable for the medical bills and other damages due to the collision yet cannot always be held accountable.
When you get hurt in a hit and run crash, there are several things you should do after the incident.
What is a Hit and Run?
A hit and run accident is one in which the at-fault driver intentionally leaves the scene. A driver is required by law to stop and render aid whenever they are involved in a crash that results in injury or death. According to the Texas Transportation Code, drivers must stop at the scene or immediately return to the scene and remain there to provide injury assistance. The driver must provide his or her name and address, registration number of the vehicle, and insurance information. The driver must notify law enforcement of the accident.
Failing to stop following a hit and run is a criminal offense and is punishable with fines and a jail sentence if convicted.
Why do Drivers Choose Not to Stop?
There are many reasons a driver may not stop after being involved in an accident. One of the common reasons is that the person is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
Some drivers may not have insurance or might not have a valid driver’s license. The driver may have an outstanding arrest warrant or maybe an undocumented immigrant in fear of being deported.
A driver may try to get away with a hit and run because he or she does not want to face the responsibilities and penalties of the accident. A driver is likely to get caught eventually, though, mainly helped by local surveillance cameras and witnesses.
What to do if You are the Victim of a Hit and Run
If you are involved in an accident, like a crash at a red light and the other driver flees the scene, do not take matters into your own hands. Following or pursuing the driver could be dangerous. Write down the make, model, color, and any other details about the car you noticed.
If you can see the license plate, note it, or take a quick photo. Call the police and wait for the officers to arrive to make a police report. The police will receive a statement from you and any witnesses. They may also review the scene of the accident to locate any cameras that may have recorded the incident. Take photos of the scene and your vehicle if it is safe to do so.
Visit the doctor or emergency room for medical treatment soon. The police will immediately look for the car and might locate the negligent driver.
Besides criminal charges, the driver may owe you compensation for your medical bills and other damages such as lost wages and pain and suffering. Persons injured in a hit and run crash, do not delay.
If the police do not find the driver, look at your auto insurance policy to see if you have uninsured motorist coverage.
Contact an injury attorney for a free initial case consultation.