In an ideal world, nobody would leave the scene of an accident without providing their contact information. Having to try to unscramble what just happened on your own, without the other driver being there, makes things much more complicated.
How are hit and run accidents defined?
These types of accidents are defined as those in which one of the involved parties chooses to leave the scene without sharing their information. This also includes accidents where a party leaves without helping an injured person. It doesn’t matter whether the party who leaves was responsible for the accident or not. It’s illegal to leave the scene of an accident either way.
One of the most common examples of these accidents occurs when a driver hits a pedestrian and continues driving without stopping to check what happened or offering assistance. Another instance would be a driver hitting an empty, parked car and leaving the scene.
What can you do if you are involved in a hit and run accident in Austin, TX?
First of all, it’s perfectly understandable that you may be feeling frustrated. You are sure it was not your fault but the other driver left. Leave your anger and frustration aside and check for injuries. Are you or your passengers injured? Get medical assistance if the injuries seem like they can’t wait. And even if they can, don’t delay in getting medical attention as soon as you are able to legally leave the scene of the accident. You may have suffered an injury that may not be self-evident and might require treatment.
As soon as possible, call the police. It is your responsibility to notify the authorities about the accident, particularly when there are injuries and property damage over a certain amount. You’ll be glad to have the police report if you’re injured and need to seek compensation. Your insurance company may make you track down the report or case number.
Document everything you cal while you’re on scene. This includes taking photographs or videos of the damage. Shots of your car should cover every angle. Try to capture the way your car looks on the road and any landmarks that may be around it. Make a note of the date, time, and location of the accident.
If there are any witnesses that are willing to talk to you, record their points of view and their contact information.
Are there specific laws that apply to hit and run accidents in Texas?
There are, and “leaving the scene of an accident” laws in Texas are strongly enforced. The law requires you to stay at the scene of an accident, or in cases where that’s not possible, to leave a note with your contact information. In accidents with major property damage or injuries, the penalties are severe. The driver could face a felony charge with a penalty of 2-10 years in jail. In cases there are no injuries, the punishment decreases to one year.
If you left the scene of an accident and are caught, it would be very difficult for you to justify your actions and provide a credible defense.
What actions are you required to perform?
- Render aid to the injured person or persons
- Exchange personal information including driver’s license numbers and insurance details.
A Texas Hit and Run Attorney is Here to Help
If you were involved in an accident with a hit and run driver, it’s still possible to get compensation. Call Lee, Gober & Reyna, PLLC today to schedule your free initial consultation so you can make an informed decision.