Texas law requires drivers to stop if they have been involved in a car accident which results in (or was reasonably likely to result in) injury to others, a fatality or property damage. Despite these requirements, some drivers flee the scene of an accident. They may do so for any number of reasons such as:
- They don’t have insurance coverage.
- They lack a valid driver’s license.
- They have an active warrant for their arrest.
- They were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time.
Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense in Texas. Law enforcement officers respond to hit-and-run accidents and try to catch the drivers who flee crash scenes. Still, many of these drivers get away. They are never identified.
If you suffered severe injuries or lost a loved one in a hit-and-run accident in the greater Dallas area, it does not mean that you must bear the costs and burdens of the crash simply because the driver left the scene. Kraft & Associates, P.C., has served clients in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for nearly a half-century. Our attorneys can review your case and discuss all of your legal options. Call or reach us online today and learn more about how we can help you in a free consultation.
What Should You Do After a Hit-and-Run Crash in Dallas?
Every driver involved in a crash must immediately stop or return to the scene of the accident and determine whether anyone involved requires emergency medical care. They are expected to stay at the scene and give their name, address, registration, driver’s license number and insurance information to others involved in the collision.
If the other driver in your accident does not stay at the scene, you should:
- Call 911. You should contact law enforcement right away to report your accident. Officers will usually respond by immediately searching the area for the other driver.
- Take photos. You should try to collect as much information as possible from the scene of your crash. Use your cell phone to take multiple pictures, including a photo of the other car, if possible, before it leaves. Photograph your car as well and get shots of the surrounding area such as road signs, lane markings, debris and skid or tire marks.
- Get witness information. If anybody saw your crash, make sure to get their names and phone numbers. These people can be valuable witnesses later on. They may also be able to provide information that helps to locate the other driver.
- Get medical attention. Any time that you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should always seek medical attention. You should go to a hospital even if you do not think that you were hurt. A doctor can check you for injuries and start treatment. Timely documentation of your injuries will also be important as you move forward with filing a hit-and-run accident claim.
- Notify your insurance company. You should report your accident to your own insurance company. If the other driver is apprehended, and the driver’s insurance company contacts you, you should not talk with the insurer unless you have legal representation. In fact, you can simply refer the insurer to your attorney.
Can You Recover Compensation After a Dallas Hit-and-Run Crash?
Like many people who are involved in hit-and-run accidents, you may be understandably concerned that the other driver will not be caught, and you will have no way to recover damages for your injuries. However, even if the driver is not caught, you may have options available to you.
- Filing a claim against the other driver The driver typically will face criminal charges for fleeing the scene. The driver may also be ticketed or charged for underlying behavior that caused the crash such as speeding, reckless driving or driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.If the driver is caught, you can file a claim with that driver’s auto insurance company. If the driver fled the scene because the driver was uninsured, then you can sue the driver. However, the driver will likely lack the personal wealth or resources necessary to pay any judgment.
- Filing a claim with your own insurer Under Texas law, auto insurance companies must offer you uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. You should have this coverage unless you rejected it in writing. If the other driver in your case is not apprehended, and you have UM/UIM, you can file a claim with your own insurance company. You can also file a claim if the other driver is caught, and you discover that the driver was uninsured or had insurance that fails to fully cover your losses.UM/UIM can cover – up to your policy limits – your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, disfigurement and permanent or partial disability in a hit-and-run accident. It can also cover any family members, someone driving your car with your permission and passengers in your car if they are injured in the crash. Although you would need to pay a $250 deductible for a property damage claim, you would not have to pay a deductible for a bodily injury claim.Keep in mind: All insurance companies are in business to make money. So, even your own insurer may look for ways to deny your claim or pay you as little as possible. This is why you need to have an aggressive advocate on your side who will protect your rights.
How Can a Lawyer Help You After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Dallas?
When you hire an attorney after a hit-and-run accident, the attorney can conduct an independent investigation of your crash. The attorney can determine the cause of your accident and collect evidence. Additionally, the attorney can assist police or independently take measures to locate the driver who caused your accident.
If the driver is located, your lawyer will be able to assist you in dealing with that driver’s insurance company. If that driver is uninsured, the attorney will be able to assist you with your other options such as filing a claim with your own insurance company. A lawyer can negotiate with any insurance company, whether it is the other driver’s or your own, and pursue a full and fair settlement of your claim. If necessary, your lawyer should be ready to take your case to trial.
Get Help from a Dallas Hit-and-Run Accident Attorney Today
Did you sustain catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a hit-and-run crash in Dallas? Contact Kraft & Associates, P.C., and speak with an experienced auto accident attorney as soon as possible. We have helped others just like you to take action against negligent drivers and pursue hit-and-run claims with their own insurance companies. We’re ready to fight for you and seek the justice you deserve. Call or reach us online today for a free consultation.