Texas drivers (DPS) involved in an accident are expected to stop at the scene and fulfill specific legal requirements. Not all motorists comply with the law, however, and some will leave the scene of the crash due to lack of insurance, fear of being cited or arrested, or other reasons.
Given the population of Dallas County, hit-and-run accidents occur frequently. When you have an auto accident in Dallas, Call Kraft & Associates PC to fully understand the best course of action for you and your family.
If someone hit you and fled the scene in Dallas, be sure to contact the police immediately and contact a knowledgeable injury attorney. Texas law forbids motorists from leaving the scene of a car crash. Those who flout the law can face criminal charges. While the state may pursue a criminal case against a hit-and-run driver, the accident victims may need to pursue a separate civil lawsuit seeking monetary damages if the accident caused serious injuries.
Kraft & Associates P.C. has a 45-year track record of fighting for justice for car accident clients and their families. We have the resources and experience to assist you if a hit-and-run driver has turned your life upside down.
Our car accident lawyers will be ready to discuss your hit-and-run injury case when you call our office or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Under Texas Transportation Code §550.023, a driver involved in an accident causing injury or death of a person or vehicle damage must comply with the following:
Under Dallas Transportation & Accidents Laws, a driver involved in an accident that results or is reasonably likely to result in injury to or death of a person must pull over at the scene of the accident, determine whether anyone involved in the accident requires help, and remain at the scene of the accident.
Failure to comply with these requirements constitutes a hit–and–run offense and may lead to criminal charges for leaving the scene of an accident. The hit-and-run charge may be a Class C misdemeanor or a Class B misdemeanor in property damage cases, depending on whether damage exceeded $200.
A hit and run is considered a third-degree felony when a crash results in serious bodily injury and a second-degree felony when a hit–and–run crash causes death. Offenders can face fines and jail time.
When you are involved in a hit–and–run accident, try to make note of the make and model of the vehicle and jot down or photograph the fleeing vehicle’s license plate if possible. Call 911 immediately. Leaving the scene of an accident can be a serious criminal offense.
Request an ambulance if you or anyone in the accident needs emergency medical care. If you do not need emergency treatment, you should still get an evaluation of your medical condition as soon as possible. A doctor may diagnose injuries such as a concussion that are not immediately apparent to you.
It is useful to take photos or videos of the accident scene and the other vehicles involved and any skid marks on the pavement. Photograph your own injuries. If there are witnesses, ask them for their names and phone numbers, assuming the police haven’t already gathered this information.
Be careful about what you say publicly about a hit-and–run accident. Avoid discussing your injuries or posting anything about the crash on social media. Such electronic communications may be used against you by an insurer to cast doubt on the seriousness of your injuries or shift the blame to you if you happen to admit to any degree of responsibility for what happened. Insurance adjusters look for reasons to deny your claim or reduce the value of the claim.
If an unidentified offender is still at large, you may need to seek compensation through your own uninsured motorists’ policy. Hit-and-run accidents are covered as part of uninsured motorists’ insurance coverage.
An insurance company is never going to be totally on your side, even when you are the policyholder. If you have sustained serious injuries, make sure that you have an experienced hit–and–run accident lawyer in Dallas negotiating on your behalf with any insurer to seek maximum compensation for your injuries.
A hit–and–run accident will often be handled in two separate legal proceedings. Once apprehended, a state prosecutor will oversee a criminal case against the driver for a hit-and-run charge in Dallas.
As a hit-and-run accident victim with significant injuries, you may need to file a separate civil lawsuit against the driver who fled the scene if he or she has been apprehended. A civil action will seek to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repairs and replacement, and other damages, regardless of the outcome in criminal court.
An experienced hit-and-run accident lawyer in Dallas can help you pursue a civil lawsuit against the person who left the scene.
A driver who avoids a charge or a criminal convicted for leaving the scene of an accident may do so because a prosecutor was not able to satisfactorily prove their guilt and/or may plead guilty to a lesser charge to avoid a stiffer penalty. A hit-and-run charge can also be dismissed without a finding because of the lack of solid evidence or, again, based on a plea bargain.
A criminal conviction can be a boost to a civil case. But even if the hit-and-run driver is not found guilty in criminal court, the driver could still be held liable through the civil action.
An accident victim may still have a valid civil lawsuit, even if a hit-and-run charge is dismissed. Civil lawsuits only need to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, a lower standard of proof than the standard applied to criminal cases.
Based on the lesser standard used in civil court, a judge or jury only has to believe that a defendant more than likely committed the offense as opposed to believing that it is the only logical conclusion.
A hit–and–run accident can result in a misdemeanor charge against the driver who fled in cases resulting only in property damage, including a hit-and-run on an unoccupied vehicle. Property damage of less than $200 is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $5000. Property damage exceeding $200 is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up-to 180 days in jail.
Under § 550.021 of the Transportation Code, leaving the scene of an accident that results in the death of another person is a second-degree felony in Texas punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up-to 20 years in prison. A hit-and-run accident that causes serious bodily injury is a third-degree felony punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up-to 10 years in prison.
A driver could avoid a possible third-degree felony charge by arguing that an injury did not constitute a serious bodily injury. Leaving the scene is nonetheless a criminal offense.
The Transportation laws in Texas provides that any hit-and-run accident involving a minor injury is still punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Did you sustain severe injuries, or was your loved one harmed or killed in a hit–and–run accident in Dallas? Let the dedicated attorneys at Kraft & Associates help you hold those responsible for your hit-and-run accident accountable.
You should not have to pay medical bills because another driver was irresponsible and then fled the scene of the accident. Our legal team will do everything legally possible to help you get full compensation for your injuries and related losses and a measure of justice.
You should always consult a personal injury lawyer before signing anything presented by the insurance company or accepting any offer.
The attorneys at Kraft & Associates are committed to protecting your rights and helping you obtain full compensation after a hit-and-run accident.
Call (214) 999-9999 today or contact us online to arrange for a free consultation to discuss your hit-and-run case with a knowledgeable member of our team.
There are no upfront legal fees; you only pay us if we recover compensation for you.