A Guide to Navigating Hit-and-Run Incidents in Texas: What to Do if You’re the Victim
In Texas, the penalties in place for hit-and-run accidents depend on the damage caused by the hit-and-run driver. Such penalties could be:
- Deaths or Serious Injuries: the driver will be subject to felony charges, if located. For accidents resulting in a fatality, the charge is a second-degree felony. For cases resulting in serious bodily injury, the charge is third-degree felony.
- Less Serious Injuries: drive may face imprisonment for up to five years and/or a fine of up to $5,000, if identified.
- Vehicle Damage: severity of charge is contingent on extent of vehicle damage. Damages less than $200, results in a charge of Class C misdemeanor, but if damage surpasses $200 it is elevated to a Class B misdemeanor.
Individuals may choose to flee the scene for various reasons, often related to their legal status or their physical and mental condition at the time of the collision. If a driver is under the influence, they might be afraid of facing DUI charges or getting arrested. In the event that you find yourself in a hit-and-run situation in Texas, it is crucial to be familiar with the following updated protocols. Here’s what to do if you become a victim of a hit-and-run accident in the Lone Star State:
Prioritize Your Safety
While we outline several crucial actions below to assist authorities in identifying and locating the at-fault party, your personal safety should always be the top priority. If there are injuries or if your vehicle is stranded in an unsafe location, such as a busy road or highway, immediately call the police to report the potential danger. If possible, improve your safety by either moving your vehicle out of harm’s way or leaving it in a secure location.
Swiftly Gather Information
Even if you have only a few critical moments to anticipate a collision, the impact can still spike adrenaline, leaving you in a state of shock. Once you confirm there are no injuries and you are safely away from harm, collect as much information as possible about the other party. Key details include the license plate number, make, model, and color of the vehicle. Note additional characteristics such as rims, bumper stickers, tinted windows, or corporate logos. If the collision happens during daylight or in a well-lit area, and you can see the at-fault driver before they leave, gather information about them as well, including sex, age, hair style and color, and skin color. If you have a pen and paper, jot down this information to rely on later.
Contact Local Authorities
It is imperative to call the police to report the accident. In Texas, fleeing the scene of an accident involving personal damage or injury is against the law. A police report will be invaluable to verify your damage claim with your insurance provider, especially if you plan to seek compensation for damages.
Recollect the Accident Details
If the at-fault driver flees, your testimony becomes crucial evidence. Recall the cause and location of the accident, providing a precise and accurate depiction of the truth. Document this information along with your list of identifying details.
Gather Witness Information
Speak with any potential witnesses who may have observed the fleeing vehicle or the collision itself. Collect their contact information, and when the police arrive, inform them of any witnesses who saw the accident.
Stay at the Scene
Resist the urge to follow the fleeing vehicle, as chasing the at-fault party can endanger you and other passengers. In most cases, the at-fault party will attempt to escape at high speeds. Instead, remain at the accident scene, wait for the police, and use the time to calm down and collect as much information as possible while preserving the integrity of the accident scene.
Contact the professionals at Reynolds and Reynolds as your dedicated legal team. We will fight for maximum recovery after a hit-and-run or fatal call accident. Our expert attorneys in Frisco are here to help you receive the settlement you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation here or call (972) 684-5011 to speak with a local attorney today. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for more information.