When you are involved in a vehicular accident, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver. However, what if you don’t know who the driver is? In a hit and run accident, the guilty driver flees the scene after hitting a pedestrian, another vehicle or someone’s property, leaving the victim extremely vulnerable.
What Is A Hit And Run Accident?
It is a crime to knowingly leave the scene of an accident without exchanging information with the other party. There are many reasons people drive away from the scene of an accident. They may not have auto insurance, or a valid driver’s license. They may have been drinking and driving and are scared of the consequences. Whatever the reason may be, it is illegal in Texas.
Before Sept. 1, 2013, hit and run accidents in Texas were considered a third-degree felony, which can result in a 10-year prison sentence, depending on the severity of injury and property damage. Now, hit and run accidents are as serious as intoxication manslaughter, a second-degree felony, and can carry a maximum penalty of 20 years behind bars.
What Happens If I Am In A Hit And Run?
Victims of hit and run accidents are put in a very difficult situation. The victim needs to find the perpetrator and make a record of the accident for insurance and legal purposes.
Immediately following a hit and run, you should call for help. Refrain from chasing after the driver and instead write down as much information as you can, like the driver’s license number, color, make and model of the vehicle. Contact the police so the accident will be officially recorded. If you are injured, seek medical attention.
What If The Driver Wasn’t Insured?
Whether the victim has suffered an injury, or damage to their car or other property, they can still file a lawsuit to recover compensation. If you obtain the guilty driver’s information, file an insurance claim with their insurance company. If the perpetrator is not insured, however, you must file a claim with your insurance company. Depending on your policy, you may have coverage for accidents involving uninsured drivers.
Additionally, victims can bring the negligent driver to court and file a lawsuit for property damage or personal injury. Compensation may help cover the cost of repairing your property, medical expenses, physical therapy and more.
To help ensure to receive the compensation you deserve, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. A good personal injury attorney can build a strong case based on the accident report and witness testimonials. Even if the driver is not identified, a lawyer can provide invaluable guidance and counsel. If you have been the victim of a hit and run accident in Plano, Allen, Frisco or McKinney, contact personal injury lawyer, Amy VanDeLoo of the VanDeLoo Firm, at 972-200-5080 for a free consultation.