Being involved in a car accident in Houston is a stressful and often painful experience. It can be an even worse experience when the driver who hit you flees the scene and leaves you to deal with the aftermath of the crash alone. Hit and run accidents are among the most common types of car accidents in Houston, and they often leave victims scared and unsure of what to do next. Texas is ranked among the top ten states in the county for its high number of hit and run accidents, which means you will likely experience one while living in the state.
Many victims of hit and run accidents require help to find the driver that hit them. Thorough investigations are required to track down and hold the person who caused the collision and then fled accountable. You may see requests for help to identify the driver who caused the accident on the local news. In just the past few months, multiple people have been killed in Houston in hit and run accidents, including Kathleen Lynn who was killed on December 17, 2020 while walking near the Galleria. This tragedy, while heartbreaking, is incredibly common in our massive city. In another case, Kristan Daniels was crossing the street on March 22, 2021 was hit by an unknown vehicle that failed to stop to render aid. She later died from her injuries. Hit and run accidents can cause severe injuries and even death. It is essential to know what to do in case this happens to you or someone in your family.
Committing a hit and run accident in Texas is a serious criminal offense, especially if the accident involved serious bodily injury, death, or property damage. It is the duty of all Texas drivers to stop and render aid and/or provide insurance information when involved in a car accident. There are serious penalties for leaving the scene of a car accident that range from a misdemeanor to a felony depending on the circumstances.
The penalties for causing a hit and run accident under the Texas Penal Code include:
- Fines of up to $500 if it was a minor accident
- Up to six months in county jail if the estimated car accident damage was more than $200
- Two to ten years in prison for fleeing the scene of a car accident that resulted in serious bodily injury or death
If you are involved in a hit and run accident, you should still follow all appropriate car accident protocols if possible including calling emergency services to report the incident. If you have been injured, seek immediate treatment from the emergency medical personnel who arrive at the scene of the accident. Try to remember everything you can about the vehicle that hit you, including the make, model, and color. If you saw the driver, try to remember details about their appearance, including if they were male or female, younger or older, had dark or light hair, etc. All of these details will help the police locate and identify the vehicle and offending driver that caused the car crash. Take pictures of the scene of the accident, including your vehicle and any property damage sustained. If there were witnesses, ask for their contact information and ask if they saw the vehicle that hit you. If you are able to, take a moment to walk around the area near where the accident took place, looking for security cameras that may have recorded the incident. This evidence could be essential in finding the at-fault driver and pursuing legal action against them.
After gathering as much information as possible, inform your auto insurance provider about the accident. In Texas, if you have been involved in a hit and run accident and cannot locate the driver who fled, you can still make a claim under your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Your insurance company was required to offer you these coverage additions when you bought your policy. If you did not reject this coverage in writing, the insurance company will be required to pay for the damages caused by the hit and run accident. Damages may include medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, property damage, and more.
Unfortunately, your insurance company may make it difficult for you to receive payment for your claim. They will want you to prove that you were actually struck by another vehicle that then fled the scene. Having an experienced hit and run accident attorney on your side to help prove your case will make the process much easier. Insurance companies are notorious for doing all they can to deny valid claims and pay as little as possible. Hiring a competent, reliable motor vehicle accident attorney soon after the crash will be critical to receiving as much financial compensation as possible for your damages. Your attorney will help build your case by gathering evidence, speaking to the police, talking to witnesses, and working all applicable insurance companies.
Houston Hit and Run Car Accident Law Firm
The personal injury trial lawyers of J.D. Silva & Associates have extensive experience helping clients navigate these often confusing and difficult situations. Our team handles all insurance company negotiations so our clients can focus on getting better. We work hard to get you the money you deserve and have the resources to see your case through to the end. Contact us today at 281-971-3200 to discuss your case with our team for free.