According to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, hit-and-run deaths 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 percent since 2009. In 2016, alone, more than 2,000 people died as a result of hit and run crashes.
More than half a million hit-and-run crashes occur each year. Additionally, the total percentage of fatalities that involve a driver fleeing the scene has risen by more than 5 percent. However, that number rises to 20.5 percent when looking at crashes in which the victims were pedestrians.
What Factors Contribute to the Hit and Run Rise in Texas?
The AAA Foundation’s research indicates that states with higher population 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 percent 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 drivers 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 doesn’t want to lose job
What are the Penalties for a 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 fatality involved hit-and-run carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. In addition, the Texas legislature passed a law that made it a failure to stop and render aid after an accident; an act punishable by up to 10 years.
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 court. In fact, because of the nature of a hit and run case, the damages court orders will likely increase. If your case is successful, the driver who caused the crash will likely be held responsible for paying 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. We recognize that 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. Getting the make, model, license plate number and other identifying factors of the vehicle 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.
Call a Carlson Law Firm Attorney Today To 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. Hit and run lawyers can help investigate the crash and find the person responsible for your injuries. A hit and run lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm will work tirelessly on your behalf to identify the person responsible for your damages. 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.
Contact us for a free consultation with an experienced hit and run lawyer at any of our locations across the state of Texas.
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.