A driver causes or contributes to an accident, then runs off without stopping. That is a hit-and-run accident.
These accidents can be as minor as damage to a fixture or as devastating as a person being severely injured or killed. The aftermath of such an accident can be life-changing for everyone involved.
Hit-and-run accidents are unfortunately all too common in Texas and other parts of the country. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 11 percent of all traffic accidents are hit-and-run events. Additionally, 1,500 people die every year from hit-and-run accidents.
How these incidents are handled varies from state to state. Here's how a hit-and-run is typically handled in the State of Texas.
How Are Hit-And-Runs Handled In Texas?
From a criminal standpoint, hit-and-run offenders can face a number of years in prison and massive fines since it is a third-degree felony. Unfortunately, a good number of hit-and-run offenders go uncaught, even in today's monitored world.
In a hit-and-run incident, the first step is to contact emergency services. Describe the hit-and-run vehicle to 911 as much as possible. The police will come out and take an accident report. If anyone is injured, EMTs can evaluate the situation and determine if someone needs to go to the hospital. If you are a victim of a hit-and-run, it is important to get the names and contact information for witnesses and copies of all police reports.
If the police can track down the hit-and-run driver, they can arrest that person and prosecute him or her. The victims of the accident can then contact that person's insurance company and pursue appropriate compensation for injury and damage.
What If The Hit-And-Run Driver Is Never Found?
If the police cannot track down the hit-and-run driver, or the accused does not have insurance, gaining compensation for injury and damage gets more complicated. Instead of pursuing compensation from the other driver's insurance company, it becomes necessary to gain compensation through your own insurance carrier. That is not always easy because the insurance company is going to take every step to deny or minimize the claim. That is why it is important to have an attorney experienced in personal injury law involved.
The attorney can help you clearly demonstrate that the accident was the fault of the other driver through police reports, damage assessments and witness statements. The insurance company may continue to fight the claim. In those cases, the attorney can help you prepare your case and represent you in court.
If you have been a victim of a hit-and-run driver, you need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Stockard, Johnston & Brown, P.C. in Amarillo can help. Our personal injury team can give you aggressive representation to obtain the personal compensation you deserve.davic via photopin cc