According to Texas state motor vehicle laws, those involved in even minor car accidents are required to stop their car at the scene, stay there, and do certain things before leaving.
As any car accident lawyer can tell you, there are unfortunately times when a driver may leave the scene illegally before any of that happens.
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, what should you do?
Car accident attorneys suggest that you learn about the laws pertaining to car accidents and know how to handle the situation if you are involved in one where the other driver does not stop.
A Costly Problem for Drivers and Pedestrians
Every year, millions of dollars in damage is caused and thousands of people are injured even fatally in hit-and-run car accidents where one driver leaves the scene.
Data compiled by the NHTSA finds that in 2015 alone, there were nearly 750,000 hit-and-run accidents, which was 11.7% of all recorded accidents that year.1
Among those, there were more than 138,000 or 5.9% of all car crash injuries and 1,819 or 5.1% of all traffic-related fatalities caused by hit-and-run drivers.1
Driver Responsibilities When Accidents Occur
Throughout the USA including Texas, any driver who either causes or is involved in a car accident that results in any type of property damage or injury is required to stop their vehicle and take certain necessary actions.
Failure to stop and do so could result in arrest and being criminally charged with leaving the scene of an accident or hit-and-run.
Penalties can be as high as felony charges that include up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
To avoid this from happening to you, car accident lawyers stress the importance of:
- Pulling over as close to the scene of the accident as possible yet out of traffic so as not to cause an obstruction.
- Seeking medical assistance if anyone at the scene requires it.
- Remaining at the scene until police arrive to investigate the accident and make a report.
- Exchanging driver and insurance information.
- Contacting a car accident attorney about your accident.
What To Do In A Hit-and-Run Accident
In the event that you are involved in a car accident and the other driver leaves the scene, it’s important to stay at the scene and immediately contact the police to report the accident.
Check on everyone in the vehicle with you and determine if medical assistance is needed, then check the physical damage done to your vehicle.
Next, call a car accident attorney and your insurance company to let them know what happened.
Above all, don’t move anything!
As much as possible, allow the police to view the accident scene as it happened without moving anything.
They will question you to get a description of what happened and ask about the car and driver who hit you, which will be used in an investigation to locate the hit-and-run driver.
They will want to know things like the make, model, color, and condition of the other car, license plate number, identifying factors about the driver, and other details that can help them.
Know What to Do When Involved in A Hit-and-Run
While you cannot prevent a driver from leaving the scene of a car accident, you can help the police and your insurance company make sense of the event by knowing what to do if one happens.
Talk to a car accident lawyer about your what to do if you’ve been left at the scene and most importantly, avoid being charged with this serious offense by pulling over if you’re the one who caused it!
Hildebrand & Wilson, Attorneys at Law
7930 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
1AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Driver Behavior & Performance: Hit-and-Run Crashes: Prevalence, Contributing Factors and Countermeasures. April 2018