Drunk driving is dangerous; there’s no doubt about it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration…
According to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, deaths caused by hit-and-run crashes are now at a record high. The organization says that more than one hit-and-run crash occurs every minute in the United States. Nationally, hit-and-run crashes have risen by more than 7.2% since 2009. In 2016 alone, more than 2,000 people died as a result of hit-and-run crashes.
When the person at fault for the crash leaves the scene, victims may feel that they have no chance to get fair compensation for their damages and injuries. However, a personal injury attorney with the right knowledge and experience can help.
What Factors Contribute to the Hit-and-Run Rise in Texas?
The AAA Foundation’s research indicates that states with higher populations tend to have more fatal hit-and-run crashes. While Texas is the second most populous state in the U.S. with over 28 million people, it currently ranks 8th in the country for hit-and-run crashes. The state has seen a 60% increase in hit-and-run fatalities involving pedestrians and bicyclists since 2009.
There are several reasons that hit-and-run crashes are on the rise in Texas. Interestingly, the correlation between hit-and-run crashes and the introduction of the smartphone is no coincidence. The popularity of smartphones is in part responsible for more drivers taking their eyes off the road.
In addition to increased cell phone use, there has been a crackdown on driving on Texas roadways without the proper insurance. Knowing the criminal penalties of driving without insurance may cause a driver to flee from the scene of the collision.
Other reasons a driver may flee the scene include:
- Suspended license
- Too many tickets
- Invalid driver’s license
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- In the act of committing a crime (stolen vehicle)
- Driving a company car and not wanting to lose job
What Are the Penalties for Hit-and-Run Crashes?
In 2013, Texas increased the criminal penalties for leaving the scene of an accident if there is a fatality involved. Since September 2013, failure to stop and render aid is a second-degree felony. A hit-and-run with a fatality carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. In addition, the Texas legislature passed a law that made failure to stop and render aid after an accident an act punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
While a hit-and-run driver will be subject to criminal penalties, the driver can also be found liable in civil court. Yes, civil remedies do exist for victims of hit-and-run crashes.
In many cases, hit-and-run victims are unsure if they can receive compensation for their injuries. This is especially true for victims who only carry liability insurance. However, an expert hit-and-run lawyer can help you find the responsible party and get the compensation you deserve. In fact, because of the nature of a hit-and-run case, the damages will likely increase. If your case is successful, the driver who caused the crash will likely be held responsible for paying for your:
- Medical Care
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Property Damage
What Should I Do if Someone Hits Me and Flees?
First and foremost, you should stay calm after a hit-and-run. You may feel angry after the crash, but you should never follow the driver who fled the scene. The person behind the wheel may be dangerous. In addition, if you follow the driver, you’ll miss the opportunity to collect important witness information.
Secondly, you should try to get as much information about the vehicle as you can. If you are hit and the driver flees, get the following information:
- Color of the car
- Make and model of the car
- License plate number
- Notable characteristics of the driver
It is also important to note which direction the driver fled the scene in. Getting as much identifying information as you can will make it easier to find the vehicle later. Moreover, this is information that the police and your attorney will need.
Next, you should call 911 to report the event. Offer as many details as possible. If you took down the license plate number, give this information to the 911 operator and police when they arrive at the scene. You should also speak to witnesses and obtain their contact information, including their full name, address and phone number. And finally, you should photograph your car and the scene of the accident.
If you are injured, seek immediate medical attention. It is always important to ensure the health and safety of anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident. Following the advice of a treating physician increases the chance of physical recovery after traumatic hit-and-run crashes. It will also protect you from any arguments the defense will make about how your injuries were received.
What are the Benefits of Hiring an Injury Lawyer After a Hit-and-Run Crash?
Hit-and-run crashes are complex situations that require the help of an extremely skilled lawyer. Depending on your level of coverage, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company to get the help you need. It’s important that you carry UM/UIM insurance coverage in the event that you are involved in a hit-and-run crash. This coverage will make sure that you get some relief for damages suffered, including the following:
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury. Covers physical injuries you suffered from an uninsured driver who is at fault.
- Collision. Compensation for your replacement or repairs of your vehicle.
- Medical payments. Can cover medical expenses for injuries sustained in the hit-and-run crash.
Carlson Law Firm attorneys have a history of being able to find the at-fault driver who fled the scene and recovering thousands of dollars for injured clients. An injury attorney can get access to footage and other surveillance accounts that responding police officers may not care to investigate. If you were injured in a hit-and-run crash, contact an injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.
The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
Hit-and-run crashes are on the rise in Texas and all over the United States. By hiring a hit-and-run attorney immediately after a crash, you are ensuring your best chances for recovery. Our firm has the resources to fully investigate the ins and outs of your case. Get the honest answers and dedicated legal representation you need after your life has been turned upside down by hit-and-run offender’s negligence.
We serve injured clients statewide. No appointment is necessary during normal business hours, and bilingual staff members are available to assist our Spanish-speaking clients. Hablamos tu idioma.