Many drivers involved in a hit-and-run may not know that they still have the ability to pursue legal action, even when they don’t know who the driver is. In Texas, a person guilty of a hit and run can face both criminal and civil charges for fleeing the scene.
If you were involved in a hit and run, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and property damage. Following your accident, you’ll want to seek representation from an experienced San Antonio hit-and-run lawyer. One of our knowledgeable attorneys from Janicek Law will evaluate your claim and help you proceed with legal action against the responsible party. To talk with a San Antonio car accident attorney, call 210-366-4949 today.
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
When a driver leaves the scene of a car accident before calling the police, talking to the other driver, or helping anyone injured, they’ve committed a hit and run. According to Texas Transportation Code Chapter 550, drivers are required to stop when involved in an accident. These accidents can involve a driver hitting a parked vehicle without waiting to meet with the other driver or a driver striking a pedestrian, bicyclist, other motor vehicles, or a piece of property. Any driver that does not stop following an accident could be charged with criminal penalties. If the accident resulted in injury or death, the driver who fled the scene could face prison.
When you’ve been involved in a hit and run, call car accident attorneys at Janicek Law as soon as possible. Even though you don’t have information about the other driver, our attorneys can still help you seek financial compensation for any injuries or damages caused by the accident.
How Common Are Hit and Run Accidents in the United States?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that over 737,000 hit-and-run accidents occurred in 2015. This number of accidents means a hit-and-run occurs every 43 seconds in the United States. The Automobile Association of America (AAA) reported 1,980 fatal hit-and-runs in 2016, which resulted in 2,049 total fatalities. Part of the report that AAA released showed higher numbers of hit-and-run related accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists, making up 70% of the fatalities from 2016. As larger cities are encouraging residents to walk or ride bikes to decrease traffic, this, unfortunately, puts those individuals at risk of being involved in an accident.
In the same year that AAA released its hit-and-run report, Texas was ranked number eight on the list of states with the highest hits and runs. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of hit-and-run fatalities in Texas increased by 30%. Since that report was released, Texas has fallen off the list of states with high hit-and-run fatalities.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident
If you’re involved in a hit-and-run motor vehicle accident, there are specific steps that you should take to ensure the safety of yourself and your passengers. Following these steps is also important if you want to seek a hit-and-run claim against the other driver involved, who fled the scene.
Your first step after being involved in a hit-and-run is to call the police. When you call 911, make sure to report any injuries and if they may need medical treatment. Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been injured, it’s important to seek medical attention. Many injuries related to car accidents can show up later, like brain injuries or spinal cord injuries. Other catastrophic injuries you may not realize you’re suffering from, like nerve and organ damage, can be life-threatening. Seeking medical attention is also crucial if you want to seek compensation for your injuries by pursuing an accident claim. Your San Antonio hit-and-run attorney will use your medical records as part of their evidence proving that the accident led to your injuries and other damages.
While you wait for law enforcement to reach the scene, it’s important to document any critical information related to the driver that fled the scene. Write down a description of the motor vehicle, license plate number, bumper stickers, damage, make, model, color, and any other identifying information that can help law enforcement find the missing driver.
Once on the scene, the law enforcement officer will interview witnesses and collect evidence for the hit-and-run crash report. The information you provide the officer regarding the other vehicle, eyewitness accounts, and accident photos will all be compiled into an official accident report. This police report will help your personal injury attorney if you pursue an accident claim against the other driver.
Ask the law enforcement officer for a copy of the police report, as most insurance companies require this documentation when filing your claim.
Don’t Admit Fault
When you contact your insurance company notifying them about the accident, do not provide them with any information about the accident or your injuries. You can inform them that you’re seeking legal representation by contacting a San Antonio hit-and-run attorney and seeking medical treatment.
It’s recommended to wait until after you’ve consulted with your attorney at Janicek Law before giving your insurance company an official statement. Any information you provide your insurance agency can be used against you when pursuing your claim.
Contact Your Auto Insurance Company
It’s still important to contact your auto insurance company following your accident. You can provide them with the information outlined above, but avoid giving details related to injuries and other information related to how the accident happened. Your hit-and-run attorney will advise you on what to provide the insurance company with that will not affect your accident claim.
Your auto insurance company will be able to explain things like will your insurance cover a hit and run, if you have uninsured motorist coverage, and more. You could risk losing your insurance policy if you don’t call your auto insurance following your hit and run accident.
Report the Hit and Run to TxDOT
Following a hit-and-run car accident in Texas, residents must file a report to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). If the accident resulted in injuries, death, or property damage over $1,000, you must report the accident to the TxDOT if the police did not visit the accident scene and file their own crash report. Those involved in hit-and-runs have ten days to file their report. If your accident resulted in injuries, death, or property damage over $1,000 and you do not file within the ten-day window, you could have your driver’s license suspended.
Hire a Hit and Run Lawyer
In typical car accident cases, the drivers involved will exchange information like driver’s licenses, insurance company details, and more which can help when you’re pursuing an accident claim. However, with a hit and run, you often don’t know anything about the driver of the other vehicle involved.
Hiring a San Antonio car accident attorney is imperative to the success of any personal injury case. This is even more important when dealing with a hit-and-run claim because your attorney will do everything in their power to find the at-fault driver to ensure financial compensation for your injuries.
How to Report a Hit and Run to TxDOT
To report a hit and run on the TxDOT portal, visit their website to find the CR-2 Form, also known as “The Blue Form.” You will be required to submit information that includes the following:
- Date of the accident and time, if available
- Where the hit and run happened
- Cars and individuals involved
- Damaged vehicles and what that damage is
- A narrative of what happened (do not include accident photos)
The information in the CR-2 form can hurt your hit-and-run claim. It’s recommended to review the form with your attorney from Janicek Law before submitting it to ensure no information can be held against you.
Hit and Run Accident Damages
While no amount of financial compensation can undo the damage done by your car accident, it can remove the financial responsibility from you and place it on the at-fault driver. The financial losses that the hit-and-run attorneys from Janicek Law have recovered for their clients include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Counseling expenses
- Mobility aids, like wheelchairs and walkers
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And more
If your hit-and-run car accident resulted in losing a loved one, you could have grounds to pursue a wrongful death claim. The compensation for this type of lawsuit will cover funeral costs, burial costs, loss of benefits, and more.
Call a San Antonio Hit and Run Lawyer at Janicek Law Today
Any type of car accident can have devastating results. If you were a hit and run victim, it can be even challenging to recover compensation since the at-fault driver is often unknown. You should not be held financially responsible for your injuries and other damages that a negligent driver caused. To learn more about your legal rights surrounding your hit-and-run accident claim, contact the attorneys at Janicek Law by calling 210-366-4949. The sooner you schedule your free initial consultation, the sooner we can help you along your road to recovery.