Posted in Car Accident on April 20, 2020
A hit-and-run auto accident means the at-fault party flees the scene without exchanging information with the other driver or even finding out if the victim needs help. If you get into a hit-and-run accident in San Antonio, it is critical to take the right steps to protect your rights. Gathering information, seeing a doctor and taking other steps could preserve your right to file a claim to damages.
What Is a Hit-and-Run?
Any time a driver in a car accident leaves the scene in Texas, it is the crime of hit-and-run. Texas Statute 550.021 states that every operator of a vehicle involved in an accident that causes an injury or is reasonably likely to have caused an injury must stop at the scene of the accident or as close as possible. The driver must return to the accident if he or she did not stop right away. The driver must determine if any victims require aid and stay at the scene until he or she has filled the duties of care. These include helping victims and exchanging contact information. Failing to comply with any of these requirements could be a criminal offense.
Criminal Penalties for Hit-and-Run
If a hit-and-run crash results in someone’s death, it is a felony crime of the second degree. If it causes serious bodily injury, it is a third-degree felony. A hit-and-run accident that causes property damage only is a misdemeanor: Class B or Class C depending on the value of the damages. A guilty verdict during a hit-and-run criminal case could lead to penalties such as months to years in a county jail or prison, as well as fines of $500 to $5,000 or more.
Civil Penalties for Hit-and-Run
Hit-and-run is a crime in Texas. It is also a civil tort or wrongdoing. Civil torts expose the wrongdoer to liability, or financial responsibility, for the accident and injuries in question. Unlike a criminal hit-and-run charge, which the state brings against a defendant, it is up to the injured accident victim to file a civil claim against the at-fault driver. If the victim’s lawyer can prove the fault of the driver, the driver may have to pay civil penalties to cover medical bills, property repairs, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
Do’s & Don’ts of Handling a Hit-and-Run
If you become the victim of a hit-and-run auto accident in Texas, stay calm and do not try to chase the person that struck you or your vehicle. Remain at the scene and call the police. It is important to call the cops after a hit-and-run so they can officially document the accident. This can help law enforcement find the at-fault driver. It can also serve as proof during a car insurance claim. If anyone has injuries, request paramedics. Then, start documenting your crash, if you can.
- Write down where the hit-and-run occurred, approximately what time, the weather conditions and any other relevant information.
- Write down anything you remember about the hit-and-run driver and/or vehicle.
- Take photos and videos on your smartphone of the crash scene and property damages.
- Speak to eyewitnesses. Get their names and contact phone numbers.
- Tell the police what happened. Write down your post-accident report number.
- Go to the hospital and ask for copies of all treatment plans and medical records.
- Call the correct insurance company (yours or the at-fault party’s) to initiate a damage claim.
- Ask a San Antonio car accident lawyer for legal assistance with your case.
A detailed account of the hit-and-run accident could help the police identify the at-fault driver. Call a lawyer as soon as possible for assistance with a civil hit-and-run claim. A successful claim could reimburse you for many expenses, with or without identifying the at-fault driver. A lawyer can assist you with the correct type of insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit in Texas.
Contact the Law Offices of Maloney & Campolo today at (210) 404-7423 for a free consultation.