Finding the Negligent Driver is Essential
Suffering injuries and damage to your vehicle can be overwhelming and painful. This frustration becomes amplified when the driver responsible for the accident avoids responsibility by speeding away from the scene. Many victims mistakenly believe they will end up paying the bills for their recovery. Hit-and-run cases for the injuries they have suffered. Nevertheless, you can recover damages in hit-and-run cases if you take careful steps to discover the negligent driver's identity.
The professionals at the Mayday Law Office understand the difficulties you may encounter after a hit-and-run accident that results in injuries and damage to your vehicle. We’re here to help you hold negligent drivers who flee the scene accountable for their wrongdoing. You deserve to have passionate and professional attorneys on your side who will work tirelessly to receive the largest possible settlement. If you were injured in a hit-and-run accident, contact our office at (281) 519-2741 to schedule your complimentary consultation.
Your Responsibilities in a Car Accident
Texas law requires drivers involved in car accidents to take specific actions. The drivers must stay on the scene to render first aid to anyone needing it. If no one is injured, the drivers must remain to exchange contact information and wait for the police to arrive. If the accident involves damage to the road infrastructure, such as knocking down a streetlight, the drivers must still stay on the scene until the police arrive.
What to Do If the Other Driver Leaves
Sometimes, the other driver leaves the accident scene, commonly because they may be driving while impaired, may not have a valid license or are otherwise distracted. Your first step should be to call the police to come to the scene. You must stay until the police arrive unless medical necessity requires you or your passengers to leave for immediate treatment. Failure to remain at the accident scene, even in a hit-and-run accident, can result in criminal charges against you.
As tempting as it may be to follow the fleeing driver, don’t do it. Gather information on the scene and let the police do their work.
If you can do so, document the damage to your vehicle through photos. You should also attempt to talk to witnesses, as some may be able to describe the vehicle that hit you and took off and may even be able to recall a partial or complete license plate number. Both actions are critical, as any information that you can give the police will be crucial in helping track down the negligent driver as well as helping you pursue a possible lawsuit.
Suing the Driver Who Fled
Identifying the driver who fled is critical to filing a hit-and-run lawsuit. Working with a lawyer experienced in these cases can possibly help you find the perpetrator. Your lawyer and the police can look for evidence, such as security cameras in the area that may have captured the vehicle speeding off after the mishap. Enhanced technology can often lead to positive identification along with examining any damage the other vehicle may have sustained. Once you find the driver, you can begin to build your case.
Collecting Compensation if the Driver is Not Found
If the driver is not found, you can film a compensation claim with your insurance company and receive money through the uninsured motorist coverage on your policy. You shouldn’t necessarily assume that the insurance company is looking out for your best interests. In these situations, the company will often offer the lowest possible compensation. Gather all your medical bills and let your attorney fight for a fair settlement instead of signing the first offer.
Criminal and Civil Consequences of Hit-and-Run Accidents
If police can find the driver, prosecutors can charge them with a misdemeanor or a felony. Accidents that result in serious injuries or death typically are felonies. Those involving property damage usually lead to misdemeanor charges. Both can result in fines and prison sentences.
The court may order drivers responsible for the accident who flee the scene to pay you punitive damages. Regular damages are sometimes paid through the at-fault driver’s insurance, but punitive damages are awarded to punish the driver’s bad behavior. Even though almost all accidents are unintentional, hit-and-run driving is reckless and egregious because fleeing the scene is intentional.
A successful civil claim will probe whether the other driver acted recklessly or intentionally. The amount of damages awarded is determined by how reckless the court finds the driver’s actions along with that individual’s financial situation. Among the types of damages you can sue for include medical expenses, vehicle repair bills and lost wages.
Injured in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Were you or a loved one injured in a hit-and-run accident in Houston, TX? Contact our office at (281) 519-2741 to discuss your case.