Brian White | February 14, 2018 | Auto Accidents
A hit-and-run car accident is not like other accidents. There is no at-fault driver around to take responsibility and pay for your damages. The guilty driver has fled, often without leaving behind much evidence for an investigation. You’re stuck picking up the pieces, tending to physical injuries, property damage, and emotional distress. Luckily, it is possible to receive compensation for your losses after a hit-and-run, with or without the at-fault driver taking accountability. Here’s how the hit-and-run recovery process works in Texas.
Call the Police
First and foremost, call the police to report the accident. In Texas, you should always report a hit-and-run collision, even if it doesn’t fulfill the traditional reporting requirements of causing injuries, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage. It’s important to get an official report of the crash as proof that it occurred and that you’re not filing a fraudulent insurance claim. Police can collect evidence for you such as eyewitness statements and clues from any property damage, such as the color of the other vehicle’s paint.
Go to the Hospital
Avoiding allegations of insurance fraud is important while seeking compensation for a hit-and-run. Every year, insurance companies lose about $34 billion in fraudulent property/casualty claims. Insurance companies are consequently strict when it comes to hit-and-run claims. There is often only one person’s account of these crashes – yours. Thus, your insurer might launch a more in-depth investigation of your claim. Going to the hospital right away if you suffered injuries is one of the ways to combat allegations of fraud, as it shows you sought medical attention for injuries the same day as the collision.
Document Your Journey
Another way to prove the legitimacy of your case is to document your hit-and-run right from the start. If you’re badly injured, have a friend or family member come to the scene of the crash and collect information. Take photographs of your injuries, any property damage, and the roadway where the crash occurred. If there are any relevant details, such as pieces of the other vehicle on the ground, take photos of these as well. Take down the name of the police officer and the number of your report. Write down the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses. Keep copies of your medical records and bills after visiting the hospital.
Call Your Insurance Company
Once you have the basic facts and information about your accident, call the number on the back of your car insurance card. Insurance could cover your personal injury and property damages. All insurers must offer uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage to drivers. If you don’t want this coverage, you must reject it in writing. This type of coverage will pay for your expenses due to a hit-and-run driver.
Your insurance company will treat the crash as if the driver had stayed on the scene, but did not have adequate insurance. In Texas, there is a mandatory $250 deductible on property damage claims through UM/UIM insurance, but it will cover you, your family members, vehicle passengers, and people driving your car. Simply call your insurer and follow the agent’s steps to filing a UM/UIM claim.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in Houston to Help You
If you do not have UM/UIM coverage, your other option could be to file a personal injury claim. You could potentially bring a civil claim against an insurance company, the driver (if found), a product manufacturer, the city government, and/or other parties.
It takes a skilled personal injury attorney in Houston to investigate your accident and assign fault. An attorney can also help you go head-to-head with your insurance company in settlement negotiations or bad faith claims. If a hit-and-run accident in Texas left you with serious injuries or expensive property damage, talk to a lawyer about your rights and options.