Brian White | November 7, 2020 | Auto Accidents
Data published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that more than one hit-and-run accident occurs each minute in the United States. In 2016, we had the highest number of fatalities on U.S. roads from hit-and-run accidents. The record-shattering number of hit-and-run fatalities represented a 60 percent increase since 2009.
Hit-and-Run Laws in Texas
According to the Texas Transportation Code, a driver is legally required to stop at the scene of an accident involving injuries or property damage. Drivers can be charged with Failure to Give Information or Render Aid, which could be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the crash.
There are many reasons why a person might not stop at an accident scene. Common reasons for hit-and-run accidents include:
- The driver was intoxicated
- A driver did not have the required automobile insurance to operate the vehicle
- A person may have been driving without a valid driver’s license
- The driver might not have realized he caused an accident
- The person could have outstanding warrants
It does not matter why the person left the scene of a car accident. If the person was responsible for causing the accident, they could be held financially liable for the damages caused by the accident. However, catching a hit-and-run driver can be a complicated process.
Catching a Hit-and-Run Driver in Texas
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, call 911 immediately to report the crash and request emergency assistance. Give the 911 operator as much detail about the vehicle that hit you as possible. While waiting for the police to arrive, write down as much information as you can remember while the accident is fresh on your mind.
Information that you can gather from your memory and from talking to witnesses that can help officers with a hit-and-run investigation includes:
- Make and model of the vehicle
- Color of the vehicle
- License plate number
- Description of any damage, bumper stickers, or other details that help identify the vehicle
- Physical description of the driver and passengers
Make sure that you ask witnesses for their names and contact information. Some individuals might stop to render aid, but they may leave before police officers arrive.
The hit-and-run investigation could take several months to complete. The investigation begins with an accident report.
Depending on the traffic accident location, the police might visit homes and businesses in the area to inquire about videos from security cameras. The police will check traffic cameras to determine if the vehicle can be identified from video footage. They also interview eyewitnesses and gather statements regarding the accident and the hit-and-run vehicle.
While the police investigate the accident, you might want to consult with a car accident lawyer. A lawyer can offer additional suggestions that could aid in the hit-and-run investigation.
The length of the investigation depends on the case. Unfortunately, many hit-and-run drivers are never identified. If you do not have a license plate number and there is no video evidence of the accident, the police might not locate the driver.
What Can I Do if a Hit-and-Run Driver is Never Identified?
You need to take several steps after a hit-and-run accident to protect your legal rights regarding a personal injury claim.
As with any automobile accident, make sure that you seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. Documenting your injuries is a key step in seeking compensation for damages.
Report the accident to your insurance provider as soon as possible. If the hit and run driver is never identified, you might be able to recover compensation for damages from your uninsured insurance coverage. However, you must prove that another driver caused the traffic accident.
You must also prove that you sustained injuries because of the case accident. The severity of your injuries and the amount of financial losses related to the accident significantly impact the value of your uninsured motorist claim.
Even though you are dealing with your insurance provider, it is prudent to discuss your case with a hit-and-run accident lawyer. Insurance claims adjusters work for the insurance company. Their priority is to protect the insurance company’s best interest, which is to avoid liability for claims whenever possible. If the company is liable, the adjuster’s job is to pay as little as possible to settle the claim.
Your insurance agent does not have control over your claim. He may not be your ally in seeking compensation for your injuries and damages. A car accident lawyer is your ally and will do everything within his power to recover a fair and reasonable settlement for your hit-and-run accident claim.