Seeking Injury Compensation After a Hit-and-Run Accident
Fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal in Texas; serious criminal penalties await a hit-and-run driver, and once caught, they must also pay for the damage and injuries you suffered from their negligence.
Evidence of their crime that is gathered by law enforcement certainly helps with your civil damages claim or case. And an experienced hit-and-run accident lawyer who finds even more evidence to support your claim is a most valuable asset by helping you recover:
- ALL your current and future medical bills
- Lost income (past, present and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Possible punitive damages
- And more, in certain cases.
What Happens if the Driver Who Hit You (and Ran) is Uninsured or Underinsured?
It’s possible they left the scene because they have no insurance, a violation of Texas law. If this happens, recovering money from the hit-and-run driver is indeed a challenge. If you cannot find them (or it takes awhile), or if it turns out that they have no insurance or assets to pay you, then your own insurer may be your only option.
You likely have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) on your Texas auto insurance policy unless you formally rejected it. UM/UIM was created for this kind of scenario. So if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, your own insurer is supposed to pay damages up to the UM/UIM limits of your policy.
What to do if you’re in a Car Accident with a Hit-and-Run Driver
Your insurance claim against the negligent driver – when or if they are found – will be much stronger for your lawyer to win fair hit-and-run injury damages if you follow the steps below. And if the driver is not found, the claim filed with your own insurance company should go much smoother if you keep these things in mind:
- Stay calm. If possible, take pictures with your phone, including the driver, vehicle and license plate number. Note the time of the accident, location, and damage to your vehicle.
- Get names, contact information, and other statements from any witnesses.
- Call the police. After their accident report has been filed (usually the next day), get a copy.
- Ask business owners for video footage. Ask the police if there are traffic cameras that might have recorded the accident.
- Seek medical treatment for your injuries.
- File a UM/UIM insurance claim. Or, if you were a passenger in the vehicle that was hit, file the claim and cite your policy’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) rider. The driver of the vehicle you were in can file for you if you do not drive and have no insurance.
- Contact a seasoned auto accident lawyer with experience in representing hit-and-run victims.
If you are not seriously injured, many of the above tasks you can do yourself. If a family member has been badly injured in a hit-and-run, this task may fall to you as well. And accident lawyers’ investigators uniformly perform a lot of these tasks for their injured clients.
What to Do if you’re a Cyclist or Pedestrian Hit-and Run Victim
A growing number of hit-and-run accident victims are bicycle (and motorcycle) riders and pedestrians. Their injuries are typically far more serious, since they have much less protection than vehicle drivers and passengers. Plus, motorists don’t always drive with the safety of cyclists in mind, nor are they always looking out for pedestrians. Many believe a lot of these mishaps are caused by driver inattention (distracted driving). Sometimes the driver may not even be aware they’ve hit someone.
The same principles for building a strong case apply after these accidents. Take pictures, get witness statements, call the police ASAP, get as much information as possible, get medical attention quickly, and call your insurance company.
It’s also an excellent idea to find a seasoned auto accident lawyer with experience in handling hit-and-run claims by pedestrians and cyclists.
Our Lawyers Help Hit-and-Run Victims Get the Money They Deserve
Negotiating with insurance companies after a hit-and-run can be difficult, stressful and complicated, especially since all your insurance company is hearing is half of the story. The perpetrator is absent. You should consult with an experienced Houston hit-and-run accident attorney who can negotiate on your behalf. The insurance company has professionals representing its interests and they question EVERY claim. You should have your own lawyer fighting for your rights.