I Was Involved in a Hit and Run.
Do I Still Have a Case?
Any car accident is a stressful event that may leave you feeling confused and overwhelmed. However, the situation can become even worse if your vehicle was hit by a motorist who leaves the scene of the crash. If this was the case, you have been involved in what is known as a hit-and-run accident.
A hit and run can leave you feeling helpless and confused regarding your next steps. You may not know whether or not you can file a claim or if you are entitled to any compensation. Following a hit and run, it is crucial to know what steps to take to secure the compensation you deserve.
At Ellis & Thomas, PLLC, our car accident attorneys handle many different automobile accidents, including hit and runs, in Houston and throughout Texas, including Montgomery, Brazoria, Harris, and Fort Bend counties. We assist victims of hit-and-run accidents as they seek to put together a successful insurance claim to help them pursue the compensation they need.
What Is a Hit and Run?
A hit and run is a motor vehicle incident in which a motorist leaves the scene of the collision without stopping and exchanging information with other parties involved in the accident. According to the AAA Foundation, approximately 700,000 hit and run accidents occur throughout the United States each year. Hit and run crashes account for about 12% of all motor vehicle accidents in the nation.
Texas is known for some of the strictest hit-and-run laws in the country. Leaving the scene of an accident without stopping can result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction, depending on the extent of injuries and property damage.
Requirements When an
Accident Occurs in Texas
Texas law requires anyone involved in a traffic accident to stop, remain at the scene of the accident, and exchange contact information, regardless of who is responsible for causing the collision.
Under Texas law, motorists must stop their vehicle immediately or immediately return to the scene of an accident when they cause a collision involving injuries, death, or property damage. The law also requires motorists to report their accidents to the police under the following circumstances:
The collision results in injuries or death;
Any of the vehicles have been damaged to the extent that they cannot be safely moved;
Any of the drivers are suspected to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
Any of the motorists do not have mandatory insurance coverage; or
The other driver flees the scene of the accident.
When an accident occurs, motorists in Texas must exchange information with other parties involved in the collision. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TDOT), exchanging information with the parties involved in a motor vehicle accident includes; the names, phone numbers, addresses, driver’s license, vehicle license plate, identification numbers, and insurance information.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Provision
Texas has special insurance coverage that protects motorists who were involved in accidents with uninsured and underinsured drivers. The coverage is known as uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. However, the UM coverage covers your losses not only if the other driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage or no coverage at all but also if you were involved in a hit-and-run collision.
If you were involved in a hit and run, you could pursue compensation by filing an insurance claim under your UM coverage. However, Texas law does not require all drivers to purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Even if you do not have UM coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, you may still have options for financial compensation.
Steps to Take if You Were in a Hit and Run
Many people do not know what steps to take when involved in a hit-and-run collision. Whether you or your vehicle is struck by a motorist who fled the scene of the accident, you should take the following steps:
Write down any information you can remember. Any information you can remember about the fleeing vehicle could be useful. Write down anything you remember from the accident, including the license plate number, the make, model, color of the vehicle, and any identifying information about the driver behind the wheel.
Contact the police. Under Texas law, you must report a car accident if the other driver fled the scene of the accident. Obtaining a police report is also essential for the success of your future insurance claim.
Find witnesses. If anyone has witnessed the accident, it is critical to talk to them and write down their contact information. Witness statements can provide powerful evidence in a hit-and-run case.
Contact your insurance provider. It is equally important to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. Ideally, you should notify your insurer of the accident while you are still at the scene of the collision.
Speak with a skilled attorney. While you are not required to contact a car accident attorney, doing so can help you understand your legal options and pursue the financial compensation to which you are entitled.
Our knowledgeable car accident attorneys at Ellis & Thomas, PLLC, provide accident victims, including those involved in hit and runs, with the legal support they need.
Get the Legal Support You Need
Have you or your loved one been injured in a hit-and-run accident? It is vital to speak with our attorneys at Ellis & Thomas, PLLC, to get immediate legal assistance. We are committed to helping accident victims maximize the success of their claims and ease their recovery process. You can schedule a free consultation with our experienced attorneys by reaching out to our office in Houston, Texas. We also serve clients in Harris County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, and Brazoria County, Texas.