What to Do If You’re the Victim of a Hit and Run in Texas
In defiance of strict Texas laws requiring that all parties of an accident remain at the scene, hit and run automobile accidents do occur on a regular basis. According to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than one hit-and-run crash occurs every minute in the US.
Reasons an individual would potentially flee the scene of an accident commonly involve their standing with the law or physical/mental state at the time of the crash. If the driver is intoxicated, they may fear being arrested or charged with a DUI. If you find yourself in a situation where the opposing party of an accident flees the scene, it’s vital you’re familiar with the following protocols. Here’s what to do if you’re the victim of a hit and run accident in Texas:
Secure Your Safety. While we suggest several critical actions below to help authorities identify and locate the at-fault party, nothing is more important than your personal safety. If there are injuries, or if your car is stalled or stranded in an unsafe place such as a highly trafficked road or highway, call the police immediately to report that you are potentially in danger. If you are able to improve your safety, either by moving your car out of harm’s way or leaving your car safely, do so.
Quickly gather as much information as possible. Even when you have a crucial few moments to see a crash coming, the impact may still spike your adrenaline and leave you in a state of shock and surprise. Once you’ve determined there are no injuries in your vehicle and you are safely out of harm’s way, do your best to calm yourself and begin collecting information about the opposing party. The most useful information to remember is the license plate number, make, model, and color of the vehicle. Other notable characteristics sometimes include rims, bumper stickers, tinted windows, or corporate logos. If the collision occurs during the day or in a well-lit area and you are able to see the at-fault driver before they leave, collect any information you can about them as well: sex, age, hair style and color, skin color. If you have a pen and paper, try writing down all of this information so you don’t have to rely entirely on your memories of this stressful moment.
Contact the local authorities. It’s imperative you call the police to report the accident. The police will help locate and potentially arrest the at-fault party, in the case they flee. In Texas, fleeing the scene of an accident involving personal damage or injury is against the law. A police report to verify your damage claim with an insurance provider will come in handy, especially in the event you wish to seek compensation for damages.
Precisely recall how the accident took place. If the at-fault driver happens to flee the scene, your testimony is likely the only evidence to support the validity of your claim. Know the cause and the location of the accident. Describing exactly what took place is important in establishing a sound and accurate depiction of the truth. You can write this down along with your list of identifying information, if available.
Collect information from potential witnesses. It’s always a good idea to speak with any witnesses who may have seen the fleeing vehicle or collision itself. Be sure to jot down as much contact information as possible. Once the police arrive, inform them of any witnesses who saw the accident.
Always remain at the scene of an accident. To preserve the integrity of the accident scene, resist the urge to follow the opposing vehicle if they choose to drive away. Chasing the at-fault party could put you and the other passengers in danger. In most cases, the at-fault party will reach excessive speeds in an attempt to flee the area. Instead, remain at the scene of the accident and await the police, using your time to calm down and work on collecting as much information as possible.
The Law Offices of Reynolds & Reynolds, PLLC will work hard to help you put the pieces of your life back together and receive compensation for damages and injuries incurred. As your dedicated legal team, we will fight for maximum recovery after a hit-and-run or fatal car accident. Contact us for a free consultation today. There will be no attorneys’ fees unless we obtain financial compensation for you.