Legal Help For Texas Hit and Run Victims
Any accident can be physically and financially devastating. A hit and run accident can make an already stressful situation even worse. Significant medical bills and repair costs can pile up fast. You may be worried you won’t receive compensation for damages, or it may be unclear how to earn compensation in the event of a hit and run accident. Understanding more about hit and run accidents and the claims process may help relieve some of the stress you have.
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What Is A Hit and Run Accident?
As the name implies, a hit and run accident is a type of car accident where a driver intentionally leaves the scene without providing any contact information. A driver may take off after hitting your unattended parked car, or they may speed off after a collision on the road.
Methods Used To Find Hit and Run Drivers
All hope is not lost just because the at-fault driver drove away. The police have several tools at their disposal to help you find the runaway driver.
- Surveillance Cameras: Highway cameras aren’t the only resources available to local authorities. In the golden age of video, many businesses and homes have security cameras set up. These cameras may have recorded your accident and can be used to track down the driver.
- Eyewitnesses: Gathering eyewitness information will be important. The police can collect additional information on the other driver from those that witnessed the accident.
- Social Media/News Outlets: Depending on the case, police may take the story to local news outlets, who then also distribute the story across social media. The news coverage may lead to the submission of additional details. It could also lead the driver to come forward to help the victim.
- Dash Cam Footage: If you don’t own a dash cam, it’s highly recommended you invest in one. Many Texans don’t own a dash cam, yet spend $60-100 a month on home security cameras. Car accidents occur with more frequency than home burglaries and you can invest in a dash cam for a one time payment ranging from $30-100. It’s worth investing in security for your car. At the very least, a dash cam will prove that a hit and run actually occurred. High definition dash cams can also capture the drivers plate in certain circumstances.
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What To Do After A Hit and Run Accident
As a victim of a hit and run, you’ll likely be struck with shock, stress, pain (if injured on impact), and possibly anger. The sudden nature of a hit and run can leave you with a lot to process. It’s important to remain calm, avoid making any regrettable decisions, and document as much as you can. After a hit and run you should take the following actions:
- Do not try to stop or chase down the driver yourself: For many drivers, the first instinct in a hit and run accident is to chase down the at fault driver in an attempt to retrieve information. However, chasing down the driver could put your life and the lives of others at risk with reckless driving.
- Try to document the make, model, and license plate of a vehicle: The more information you have on the vehicle, the easier it will be for authorities to try to track down the driver.
- Call the police immediately: It’s important to report the accident to Texas authorities. Try to provide as many details as possible.
- Obtain information from any witnesses: You’ll want to retrieve names, addresses, and phone numbers for any bystanders who witnessed the accident. Their statements could also help authorities track down the runaway driver.
- Take photos of the accident scene and any damage or injuries: There is no such thing as too much evidence. Make sure to document the damage to your property, the street the accident occurred on, and any injuries you sustained. This evidence will help when your claim is filed.
- Contact a local Texas car accident attorney: Even if you don’t decide to retain the services of an attorney, most attorneys offer a free initial consultation. It’s worth scheduling a consultation to have your accident reviewed and receive legal advice regarding your case. Nevertheless, it’s to your benefit to hire an attorney. Your attorney can help you investigate the accident and pursue a claim, so that you earn the compensation you deserve.
Can You File A Claim To Recover For Hit and Run Accidents?
If the at-fault driver is identified, you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance. Fortunately, you are not out of luck if the driver cannot be found. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you can make a claim against the coverage. With uninsured motorist coverage, you can claim both economic and non-economic damages.
Naturally, many victims worry that filing an uninsured motorist claim will cause premiums to go up. Insurance companies will use this misconception to their advantage and try to offer a reduced claim in return for the same rates. However, Texas law forbids insurance carriers from raising your rates based on uninsured motorist claims.
A Fort Worth Car Accident Attorney Can Help
The car accident attorneys at Patterson Law Group have dedicated their careers to protecting the rights of all those who have been injured in Texas, regardless of the severity of those injuries. If you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident, our attorneys can help you put together a case that will earn you the compensation you deserve. Contact Patterson Law Group today to schedule a free initial consultation. Simply fill out the contact form on this page or call (817) 784-2000.