Whether we like it or not, accidents occur every day. Hundreds of accidents occur on Texas roads daily. While some are minor, resulting in cuts, bumps, and bruises, many are much more severe, causing long-term injuries and even death. Regardless of the seriousness of the accident, it is common knowledge that you must remain at the scene of the accident after to identify yourself to other involved parties or the police and provide aid to those injured.
Unfortunately, countless drivers flee the scene of an accident following a car accident, which is known as a hit-and-run accident. According to AAA, in 2015, there were an estimated 737,100 hit-and-run accidents across the U.S. In 2016, there was a record number of hit-and-run crash fatalities, totaling 2,049.
These accidents happen at an alarming rate. Car accidents are complicated on their own, but they become even more difficult when someone drives away after a wreck. These accidents often cause significant property damage and leave victims with serious injuries. When a driver flees the scene, it adds more stress to an already stressful situation.
Fortunately, even without the identity of the fleeing driver, hit-and-run victims can still recover compensation for the damages they sustained. While these cases are almost always complicated, it pays to have the help of an experienced and talented hit-and-run attorney on your side.
At Wormington & Bollinger, we will use our years of experience and our legal prowess to secure you the compensation you deserve. Give us a call to learn how we can help you following a hit-and-run accident.
What is a Hit-And-Run Accident?
In Texas, a hit-and-run accident is legally defined as a “failure to give information and render aid.” It occurs when one driver leaves the scene of an accident without giving the other involved parties their identification or waiting for the police. These accidents are serious offenses. They become felonies if someone suffers injuries or dies.
Typically, you must remain at the scene to help those who need medical assistance and exchange insurance and contact information with the other parties. In many cases, the police will arrive to create a police report. These are all necessary steps to ensure compensation.
Often, the driver that flees the scene is the at-fault driver. They drive off because they know they were at fault and want to avoid responsibility. In many cases, they were doing something illegal that would get them in more trouble (drunk driving, driving with a suspended license, driving without insurance, etc.).
Regardless, there is no excuse for fleeing the scene of an accident. You could be leaving someone in critical condition, and you put those people at more of a disadvantage. Fortunately, you can still recover damages.
Steps to Take Following a Hit-And-Run Accident
All accidents are stressful on their own, but when a driver flees the scene and leaves you alone to deal with the aftermath of a wreck, it complicates things. Remember, do not pursue the fleeing driver. Leaving the scene could also put you in a compromising situation.
Here are some steps you should take following a hit-and-run accident:
- Call 911. Your health and safety should be paramount. Call 911 to contact the police and ensure the appropriate emergency medical services are on their way.
- Remain at the Scene. As we just mentioned, do not pursue the fleeing driver. Remain at the scene of the accident. If you leave as well, it could imply they you were at fault yourself. Stay put until the proper authorities arrive or unless you need immediate medical attention.
- Write Down What You Remember. While you wait for the authorities to arrive, write down everything you remember about the accident, especially about the fleeing vehicle. Include:
- The car’s make, model, and color
- Physical description of the driver
- Any distinguishing features of the vehicle (dents, scratches, bumpers stickers, etc.)
- The direction they went
- Any characteristics on their license plate
- Collect Evidence. Take pictures of the scene of the accident, your injuries, and the damage to your car. Collect any witness statements you can to strengthen your case. They may also be able to provide you with vital information about the other driver. Collect these witnesses’ contact information, as well.
- Contact Your Insurance Company. Speak with your insurance company to learn what steps you need to take to recover damages.
There are several car insurance coverage options available to Texas drivers that cover hit-and-run accidents, depending on the circumstances of the accident. While identifying the fleeing driver is the ideal outcome so you can file a claim against them, sometimes you can’t always do that in these kinds of accidents.
However, certain insurance coverages can help you recover damages you sustained in these accidents. For example, Texas law does allow you to file an uninsured motorist claim. Remember, these coverages are not required by law. They only apply if you have chosen them. Contact your insurance company following a hit-and-run accident to learn what your options are.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
All accidents can be devastating and stressful. When the at-fault driver flees the scene of the accident, things only get more complicated. Without the identity of the driver, it becomes increasingly difficult to recover compensation for the damages you sustained. While you can file an uninsured motorist claim with your car insurance, not everyone has that coverage.
It is not necessary to retain the services of a car accident attorney in hit-and-run cases, but it can prove to be useful. At Wormington & Bollinger, our team of expert Dallas attorneys can use their knowledge of the law to navigate this process efficiently. We can use our years of experience and legal prowess to handle insurance adjusters and all involved parties to secure our client’s compensation while they recover.
Hit-and-run accidents are complicated and stressful. If you do have uninsured motorist coverage, you can still recover damages even if you never discover the identity of the at-fault driver. Fortunately, our team of attorneys is here to help through this challenging process. Contact Wormington & Bollinger today to learn how we can help.