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What to Do If You're the Victim of a Hit & Run

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In Texas, as in other states, it is illegal to flee the scene of an accident. If another motorist hit you but did not stop, leaving you with injuries and a damaged vehicle, you are likely feeling a mixture of distress, frustration, and concern. Is there a way to find the hit-and-run driver? Can you make them pay for your medical bills and property damage, or will you have to pay for those yourself? Should you report the incident to the police? Will you need to file an insurance claim?

At Daspit Law Firm, our attorneys understand the overwhelming nature of these types of car accidents. Because of this, they’ve provided helpful information for victims of hit-and-run accidents, including what you can do after the collision to seek compensation for your damages. Keep reading to learn what to do if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident!

Driver Responsibility after an Accident

Texas state laws mandate that any motorist who hits another motorist, bicyclist, pedestrian, animal, stationary vehicle, or property must stop and provide assistance and information, including insurance information. Failure to do so constitutes either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances.

If someone hits your parked car, your fence or mailbox, or any of your property, he or she must stop and either locate you or leave a note with relevant contact information, insurance information, and other details of the accident.

Steps to Take Immediately after a Hit & Run

Hit-and-run accidents are, by nature, unexpected. As a result, you may have been unable to gather very much information about the person/vehicle that hit you, especially if they sped off or if the accident occurred on a highway or at night. This is understandable, as your primary concern after any accident should be to ensure your personal safety.

If you are involved in an accident, safely pull over your car to the side of the road or exit the vehicle entirely. Examine yourself and other passengers and immediately call an ambulance if anyone is injured. Only after you have done these things should you try to get as much information as possible about the driver who hit you.

If possible, try to get any of the following information about the hit-and-run driver:

  • The color of their vehicle
  • The make/model of their vehicle
  • Their vehicle’s license plate number
  • Identifying physical features of the driver
  • Their behavior before and after the accident

You should also take note of the time, location, and date of the accident. If you are unable to get any of this information, look around to see if there were any witnesses to the accident. If so, take down their statements.

Reporting the Accident to the Police

After a hit-and-run, contact local law enforcement and have them come out to the scene of the accident. The police may be able to help you gather evidence at the scene, including witness statements or nearby security footage from local businesses (if applicable). The police will also file an official report and, if you were able to take it down, look up the hit-and-run driver’s license plate number.

If your parked car or other property was apparently hit by another motorist, carefully examine the extent of the damage. Take pictures and record statements from anyone who may have witnessed the accident. Then, call local police and report the incident. Have them file an official report.

Obtaining Compensation After a Hit & Run

If you or the police are unable to locate the driver who hit you, that doesn’t mean you cannot recover compensation. Texas auto insurance providers offer several forms of coverage to protect people who are involved in accidents in which the other party does not have or does not provide insurance information.

Check your auto insurance policy to see if you have any of the following coverage options:

  • Collision coverage
  • Personal injury protection (PIP)
  • Uninsured motorist coverage
  • Underinsured motorist coverage

You may be able to recover compensation through your own insurance provider if you have one or multiple of these coverage options.

Note, however, that most of the above-mentioned coverage is not mandatory; you will only be covered if you have elected to have this coverage added to your policy. The one exception is PIP, which is mandatory unless you signed a waiver declining it.

When to Contact an Attorney

If you sustained damages in a hit-and-run accident and you believe you are entitled to compensation through your own insurance policy but are having trouble actually getting this compensation, it’s a good idea to reach out to an auto accident attorney. At Daspit Law Firm, we understand how to navigate hit-and-run accident claims, including how to help you obtain compensation through your PIP or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Contact our attorneys today at (888) 273-1045 to learn more about how we can assist you.

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All too often, accident victims are steamrolled by insurance companies determined to minimize or deny their claims. Don't let this happen to you. Hire us to fight for the compensation you deserve.

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