Car accidents are never pleasant and even when drivers exercise the utmost caution, serious accidents can still occur. In an ideal situation, both drivers involved will pull over, assess the damage, and exchange insurance information in a timely, calm manner. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. What happens when someone is hit and the responsible party drives away? What rights does a victim of a hit and run accident have? Hit and run accidents are very serious, and Texas law imposes harsh penalties when drivers flee the accident scene.
What Is a Hit and Run Accident?
An accident is considered a hit and run anytime a driver involved in a crash leaves the scene without exchanging information with the other parties involved. Whether you are driving a vehicle or it is parked, if someone hits it and then bolts, you have become the victim of a hit and run. Sadly, this scenario happens more often than you might think.
In a recent Lubbock incident, a man hit a vehicle and failed to stop and render aid after seriously injuring another driver. The man disregarded a red light, struck another vehicle, and fled the scene on foot. Fortunately, the at fault driver was later found and arrested. Still, many victims find themselves wondering what their rights are after being involved in this type of motor vehicle accident.
Car accidents often involve very intense emotions. Sometimes drivers who cause crashes are overwhelmed with fear and feel the only way to protect themselves from criminal charges and/or civil liability exposure is to leave the accident site; however, this is illegal in Texas. People who run from the scene of a car accident can actually face harsher penalties than they would have if they had stayed and cooperated.
If a driver causes an auto accident and fails to stop and render aid to an injured person, they be criminally charged and serve time in prison. In addition to criminal consequences, injury victims are entitled to file a civil lawsuit against the negligent driver.
When a car accident occurs, fleeing the scene can cause other injured drivers and passengers to suffer greater injuries or even death. If there are incapacitated victims and a party involved in the crash flees the scene, it could take minutes or even hours for help to arrive – and help could arrive too late. When a driver causes a motor vehicle collision, he or she needs to do everything in their power to ensure the victims receive the help they need. If they fail to do so, it can have catastrophic consequences.
What Do I Do After A Hit and Run Accident?
First and foremost, if a vehicle hits you and the responsible party flees the scene, you should call the police immediately. Also, try to make note of any characteristics of the car the offender was driving so you can share it with officers once they arrive. Try to get the make and model of the driver’s vehicle and the license plate number, if at all possible. If you were able to see the driver, try to remember what they looked like, including identifying characteristics. This will be helpful not only for the police, so they can hopefully catch the driver, but also for your personal injury lawyer and any insurance companies involved with processing the claim.
Next, you should assess the damage, take photos of your vehicle, and speak to any possible witnesses. Also, keep in mind that if the accident occurred in a parking lot or garage, it is possible there is surveillance footage of the incident.
Finally, you should contact an attorney for help seeking the financial compensation you deserve for your damages and for help in dealing with your insurance carrier and any other insurance companies involved. If the identity of the person that hit and ran remains undetermined, you can file a claim under your own uninsured motorist coverage if you have it.
Hit and Run Accident Help
In Texas, it is illegal to flee the scene of a motor vehicle collision. Under the Texas Transportation Code, a driver must stop, render aid, and exchange insurance information if they crash into another vehicle. Penalties for fleeing the scene include fines, incarceration, driver’s license suspension, and more.
At Liggett Law Group, our attorneys have extensive experience successfully handling hit and run accident cases and we know how to coordinate with law enforcement to ensure victims get justice. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a hit and run accident, our team of trial lawyers can help you get the financial compensation you deserve. Texas has legal limitations on how long an injured party has to file a lawsuit after a car accident, so don’t delay in contacting the Lubbock, Texas auto accident attorneys at Liggett Law Group for a free consultation.