A hit-and-run is a motor vehicle accident in which a person, usually the one at fault, drives away from the scene without stopping. Motorists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists can all fall victim to a hit-and-run. Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal act, and if the accident caused bodily harm or death, it is considered a felony.
In many cases, drivers who flee the scene of an accident do so because they know they are at fault, they do not have auto insurance, they broke a traffic law that caused the accident, or they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Hit-and-run drivers leave the scene of an accident because they know they would likely be incarcerated otherwise. It is an unlawful, dangerous, and reckless decision to leave the scene after an accident.
Victims of hit-and-run accidents are entitled to compensation for losses, such as medical costs, lost wages from missing work, pain and suffering, and other damages. Although the means from which you are compensated may differ, hit-and-run accident victims are able to recover damages just as any other person injured in a crash.
The collision between you and the other motorist may have been an accident at first, but the motorist’s decision to flee the scene after the crash is intentional. For this reason, victims in a hit-and-run case can oftentimes recover punitive damages from the defendant if they are found and sued in civil court. Punitive damages are designed to punish a negligent party due to their particularly egregious, reckless, and intentional act.
What to do after a Hit-and-run
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run, call the police immediately. Calling law enforcement as soon as possible can increase the chances of finding the hit-and-run driver and also get you the medical attention you need. In addition, a hit-and-run must be reported to the police if you intend on seeking compensation for your injuries or property damage.
It may not always be plausible to get a look at the driver or the vehicle before they flee the scene. If you do happen to get a good look at the vehicle (make, model, color, type of vehicle), the license plate number, or description of the driver, be sure to relay this information to the police. You can also ask witnesses to the accident if they saw the driver or the vehicle that hit you before driving off.
In order to find the driver that caused the wreck and fled the scene, law enforcement or your attorney may be able to check footage from surveillance cameras in the area. Our firm has experience handling hit-and-run accidents, and we will exercise all available options to try and locate the motorist in your hit-and-run.
How to Get Compensation if the Hit-and-run Driver Can’t be Found
Unfortunately, negligent drivers in a hit-and-run can be difficult to track down and are sometimes never caught. In these cases, for injured victims, there are still options available to receive compensation for their losses.
If you suffered a hit-and-run injury in Texas, you can make a claim with your insurer to cover your damages, such as property damage, medical costs, and lost wages. In order to do so, you must have uninsured motorist coverage through your auto insurance provider. Drivers are not required to buy uninsured motorist coverage, or UM coverage, but it is an option insurance providers are required to offer. When buying auto insurance, it is always a great idea to purchase underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage.
While you would assume your insurance company would be looking after your best interests after a hit-and-run, insurance claims adjusters may try to short you on the full amount of compensation you need to cover your injuries and other losses. An attorney experienced in hit-and-run accidents can help handle insurance adjusters and negotiate for the payment you are owed. If you believe you are being lowballed or underpaid by you insurance company, call our law offices today.
Injured in a Hit-and run? Contact our Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a hit-and-run, call Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys. Hit-and-run cases can be delicate, especially when the other driver cannot be located. Our attorneys can ensure that your insurance company is acting in your best interests and help you get compensated for your property damage and injuries. Speaking with an insurance company without the help of a lawyer could be potentially detrimental to securing reimbursement for your losses.
After a hit-and-run, you don’t have to fight your battle alone. Our team of lawyers is available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim and assist you. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.