Brian White | June 24, 2021 | Car Accidents
Hit and run accidents can cause debilitating injuries. Sadly, victims of hit-and-run crashes have the burden of dealing with the consequences of the crash. Accident victims often incur substantial financial losses since they cannot hold the hit-and-run driver responsible.
Drivers flee from the scene of an accident for many reasons. Common reasons why a driver might leave the accident scene include, but are not limited to:
- The driver does not have car insurance
- A person is driving without a driver’s license or has a suspended driver’s license
- A driver might be intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs
- The individual may have outstanding warrants or other criminal matters
Leaving the scene of an accident is against the law. If the police officers identify the hit-and-run driver, they may charge them with a crime. Also, the driver may be held liable for damages if the driver caused the accident.
Unfortunately, tracking down a hit-and-run driver can be challenging. Law enforcement officers may never find the driver who caused the accident. If not, what can you do about the damages caused by the crash?
There may be compensation available for your damages after a hit and run. If you have uninsured motorist insurance coverage (UM), you might recover compensation for your damages from your insurance provider. Talking to an uninsured motorist claims lawyer is a good first step after a hit-and-run accident.
What is Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage?
Drivers are required to have minimum amounts of liability insurance. Liability insurance compensates accident victims when a driver causes a crash. However, approximately 20 percent of drivers in Texas do not have liability insurance coverage.
Uninsured motorist insurance coverage compensates you for injuries and damages caused by a driver with no insurance. It also compensates you if you are injured in a hit-and-run accident caused by another driver.
Your uninsured motorist coverage may pay for your damages, including:
- Medical expenses and cost of treatment, including surgeries, doctors’ bills, hospitalizations, medications, and therapies
- Loss of income, including benefits, commissions, and bonuses
- Pain and suffering damages, such as mental anguish, physical discomfort, emotional distress, and loss of quality of life
- Travel expenses to and from doctors’ visits
- Help with household chores and the cost of personal care
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Permanent disabilities and impairments
Insurance policies in Texas must include uninsured motorist (UM) coverage unless the person declines coverage. Therefore, if you declined UM coverage, you would not be able to file a claim. However, if you chose to keep UM coverage, you may recover compensation for your damages, even if the hit-and-run driver is never identified.
You Must Prove the Hit-and-Run Driver Caused the Accident
Do not assume that your insurance company will automatically pay a hit-and-run accident claim. The company only pays the claim if you can prove the hit-and-run driver caused the collision. Therefore, you may want to hire a car accident lawyer to handle the claim.
A lawyer investigates the crash to gather evidence proving fault. Evidence that the lawyer may use to prove the other driver caused the crash might include:
- Video evidence from traffic cameras or surveillance cameras
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Skid marks and other evidence from the accident scene
- Opinions and evidence provided by experts, such as accident reconstructionists
Your insurance company may dispute liability for the claim. It may try to blame you for causing the crash or contributing to the cause of the collision. Before discussing the crash with a claims adjuster for your insurance provider, it is wise to learn about your rights and the steps you need to take to protect yourself from an experienced Houston car accident lawyer.
Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Texas
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, follow these steps:
- Call 911 to report the accident. You need an official record of the crash.
- Tell the 911 operator and the police officers as much as possible about the other vehicle, such as the make, model, and color of the car, while the facts are fresh in your mind. The police will conduct a hit-and-run investigation to identify the driver.
- Seek medical attention for your injuries. In addition to protecting your health, prompt medical treatment increases the chance you can recover fair compensation for your damages.
- Take pictures and make a video of the accident scene, if possible. Ask each person who stops to offer help for their names and contact information.
- Do not make a formal statement or sign any documents for the insurance company until you talk with a personal injury lawyer about your case.
- Document your damages by keeping copies of bills, invoices, and receipts for expenses related to the accident.
Even though there might not be another party involved in the personal injury claim, your time to file a claim is limited. Do not delay in contacting a lawyer for help. Waiting too long to file a claim for a hit-and-run accident could result in your claim being denied by a judge.