When at least one driver leaves the scene of a crash, it is a hit and run accident. Hit and run accidents can happen to occupied vehicles, unoccupied vehicles, or to pedestrians and bicyclists. No matter who is involved in the crash, it is illegal to flee the scene of an accident.
Nevertheless, hit and run accidents and fatalities are on the rise. In 2016, there were 2,049 hit and run fatalities, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This is the highest number of hit and run accident deaths on record since 1975.
If you were hurt, or your loved one was killed, in a hit and run accident, a Fort Worth hit and run accident lawyer with Ben Crump Law, PLLC may be able to help you seek compensation. To learn more, contact our office at 800-959-1444.
How to Seek Awards
Clearly, you cannot file an insurance claim or civil lawsuit against a driver who flees the scene unless they are located by the police. It can take time for law enforcement to find the suspect if they are ever caught. Even then, you may find that an insurance claim is not an option.
Some drivers who flee the scene of an accident do so because they are uninsured or underinsured, and they fear penalties or that they will not be able to pay for the damages.
If the driver who hit you is not apprehended or they are uninsured, your only chance at financial awards may be through your own insurance provider. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, by law, drivers must carry, at minimum, liability insurance to pay for damages and injuries if they hit another vehicle.
However, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which would help cover your costs in the event of a hit and run, is optional. If you do not carry additional forms of coverage, you may want to work with an attorney to help you achieve the best possible insurance payout.
For a free legal consultation with a hit and run accidents lawyer serving Fort Worth, call 800-598-7557
What to Do After a Hit and Run
If law enforcement was not called to the scene of your accident, you need to file a police report. Texas law requires any accident involving injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000 to be reported within 10 days. The sooner you involve the police, the sooner they can begin looking for the suspect who hit you.
Following your accident, you should try to recall as much information as possible about the other driver. The more details you can provide law enforcement, the better their chances of catching the suspect.
Try to remember the exact location, date, time, and cause of your accident, as well as any details about the other vehicle, such as make, model, color, or license plate number. If you have any photographs of damages to your vehicle, be sure to give them to the police.
Finally, if you did not require medical treatment at the scene, make sure to double-check yourself for injuries. Some injuries, like whiplash, may not present themselves immediately. If you believe you are injured, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Fort Worth Hit and Run Accident Lawyer Near Me 800-598-7557
Hit and Run Accident Laws
It is against the law to leave the scene of a car accident. Texas Transportation Code § 550.021 mandates drivers to stop immediately following an accident in order to provide aid if needed, and exchange information.
Drivers who flee after causing property damage may face misdemeanor charges. Drivers who flee the scene after injuring or killing another person may face felony charges, up to $5,000 in fines, and up to five years in prison.
In addition to criminal charges, if the driver is caught, a Fort Worth hit and run accident lawyer with Ben Crump Law, PLLC may be able to help you hold them responsible in a civil lawsuit.
Negligence Laws and the Statute of Limitations
Under Texas law, even if your accident was partly your fault, you may still be able to seek compensation. Texas follows a model of comparative negligence. This means that as long as your amount of responsibility for the crash is at or below 51%, you can still pursue awards. Any settlement you receive will be reduced by your amount of fault. Therefore, if you are awarded $100,000 but are 30% at fault, you would recover $70,000
If you believe you may want to take action in court, you will need to be aware of the statute of limitations. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 allows two years from the time of your accident to file claims for property damage, personal injury, or wrongful death. If the statute of limitations expires, you may not be able to pursue your case.
Ben Crump Law, PLLC
Ben Crump Law, PLLC believes in giving a voice to the voiceless. If you were hurt in a hit and run accident, you should not have to face the costs of your damages alone. We may be able to help you seek compensation, even if the driver who hit you is never located.
A Fort Worth hit and run accident lawyer may be able to help you recover awards for your medical costs, including medications, surgeries, and more. Our team may be able to help you seek awards for pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damage. If your loved one was killed in a hit and run accident, we might be able to help you seek wrongful death benefits.
Whether fighting in court or negotiating with insurance providers, our legal team can help you through every step of your case. If your injuries are not your fault, you should not have to bear the costs alone. We will work to achieve a settlement so that you can focus on healing.
For more information, contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC at 800-959-1444 for a risk-free consultation.