I Was Involved in a Hit and Run: What Are My Legal Options?
If you were impacted in a hit and run, you’re probably wondering, “What are my legal options?” The damage has been done and now steps must be taken to secure the fair financial compensation that you deserve. If you don’t know where to begin, that’s okay. The car accident attorneys at Reed & Terry, LLP have offices in Katy, Sugar Land, and Richmond, TX, giving clients easy access to our team after suffering a car accident. Get started building your case with a free consultation and case review.
When Should I Call an Attorney?
By the time you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already suffered the hit and run accident, left the scene of the crime, and are wondering, “What now?”
The answer to when it’s time to call an attorney is right away. Our car accident lawyers help simplify the process of filing a claim and explain how to navigate the legal realm.
For the sake of covering all of our bases, let’s start with steps you can take to protect yourself directly after the accident:
- Stay in Place- Since the other driver has fled in the hit and run, you may feel like staying where you are isn’t important, but it is. Call the police from the scene of the crime, even if it’s only you there.
- Call the Police- Start by calling the police and detailing the other vehicle to them. Include the make and model to the best of your ability, as well as the license plate number if you were able to see it.
- Gather Evidence- Your smartphone is a powerful tool in a hit and run scenario. Take pictures of the damage to your car and the surrounding accident area. Gathering this initial evidence can greatly pay off down the line when building your insurance claim.
- Seek Medical Attention- Before calling an attorney, seek out medical attention for any injuries you’ve sustained. Even if you don’t feel hurt, this is a critical step. Try not to worry about the cost of medical bills at this point. Our attorneys will fight to obtain fair compensation for these bills and other damages you’ve incurred. The most important thing after an accident is to ensure you’re safe and able to assist our lawyers when needed.
- Contact Your Insurance- Begin by calling your provider and notifying them of the accident. Be matter of fact and refrain from making any statements that could be used against you, such as admitting partial fault. After this initial contact, we can communicate directly with your provider to ensure you aren’t low-balled or being taken advantage of.
- Contact Our Lawyers- Now it’s time to contact our team. Get in touch with us and we can start building your case and get you the fair compensation you deserve after suffering any physical and property damages.
Hit and Run Laws in Texas
The state of Texas doesn’t take hit and run accidents lightly. There are laws set in place to punish the hit and run offender if and when they are caught.
The Texas Transportation Code requires offenders to stop their car and return or stay at the scene of the accident. If a driver fails to stay on the scene until instructed otherwise by an operator, the following fines can be imposed:
- Felony of the second degree if the victim dies from the offender’s actions.
- Felony of the third degree if serious bodily injury is caused by the hit and run offender.
- Maximum fine of $5,000 if the accident resulted in a minor injury.
- Maximum imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for five years or one year in county jail if the accident resulted in a minor injury.
What Are Your Legal Options in Texas?
You might be at a loss for what to do following a hit and run accident. Since there’s no one to report for causing the accident, you might feel helpless but there are steps you can take.
File a Police Report
When you call the police to the scene of the crime, you can file a police report to find the offender of the hit and run. However, you shouldn’t rely solely on a police report to grant you the compensation you need to cover the cost of your medical bills and property damage.
The main reason for filing a police report is to have substantial documentation of the accident to show your insurance provider. You and your attorney need to compile evidence to support your claim and a police report is one of the most important documents to have.
File an Uninsured Motorist Claim
Your best legal option following a hit and run is to file a claim with your insurance provider. You’ll want to file an uninsured motorist claim since the offender is unknown, and thus, uninsured. An uninsured motorist insurance claim can help you pay for property damages and medical bills you incur from the accident.
Contact Car Accident Lawyers for Guidance
Navigating this process can be confusing, but hiring our law firm ensures that you get the most out of your insurance claim. Our attorneys gather additional evidence to support your claim and work directly with your insurance provider. This way, you know you’re getting the best deal and that the providers aren’t taking advantage of you.
The answer to when it’s time to call an attorney is right away.
In the case that the police are able to find the offender, we can continue pushing for compensation at the same time criminal charges are filed against the offender.
Were You in a Hit and Run Accident?
Reach Out to Our Attorneys
Insurance companies are not your friend. Their goal is to make money and they will try to lowball you when it comes to the compensation you can collect. Use our online form or call our personal injury attorneys for a free consultation and case review. We can fight for your rights and handle all aspects of the claims process so that you can focus on a full recovery.
About Jackson R. Reed
Attorney Jackson R. Reed has served clients since 1994. He is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA), the Texas Trial Lawyers Association (TTLA), the Houston Trial Lawyers Association (HTLA), and the State Bar of Texas.