Getting in a car accident is never ideal; you have to get insurance involved, deal with the damage that occured, and recover if you experienced any injuries. As if this isn’t bad enough, if it was a hit and run, you may feel like you have no support.
Getting in a car accident is never ideal; you have to get insurance involved, deal with the damage that occurred, and recover if you experienced any injuries. As if this isn’t bad enough, if it was a hit and run, you may feel like you have no support. When a hit and run occurs, it means that the driver of the vehicle knowingly leaves the scene without providing their information. This, in turn, leaves the victim to deal with the damage. If you can relate to this situation, then you may be asking if there’s any action you can take to protect yourself.
Can You Press Charges Against a Hit and Run Driver?
Yes, you can press charges against a hit and run driver. Depending on the severity of the crime, as well as the state that it occurred in, hit and run accidents may be punishable in different ways. Many times, the driver can be charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are the less serious offense, but they can still result in jail time, smaller fines, and temporary punishments. Felonies, on the other hand, are usually granted when serious physical harm was inflicted to the victims, and they usually result in long jail or prison sentences, fines, or permanent loss of certain freedoms.
In addition to pressing criminal charges, victims can also pursue civil penalties against the driver. This will serve as compensation for the harm that they experienced and can include lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and damage to property.
Now that you know that you’re legally able to press charges against a hit and run driver, the next important step is knowing what to do if you are involved in this situation.
What to Do in a Hit and Run Situation
Since the driver of the hit and run is not planning on taking responsibility, the situation can get complicated. That’s why it’s even more important that you know exactly what to do if you ever find yourself in this situation. Here are the steps that you should follow.
Step #1: Make sure no one’s injured
The very first thing that you should do is make sure that everyone’s okay. If someone is injured, you should seek medical help immediately. We should also point out that you should never follow the driver who is leaving the scene, as this can expose you to an even more dangerous situation.
Step #2: Gather information
This step is crucial for your case; the more information that you gather, the better. First, you should search for witnesses. If the accident occurred on a highway, then it’s not as easy to track down the other cars that were passing by. If there are still people around that witnessed it, however, then they can be a huge help to finding the driver. Ask them for any details that they remember and for their contact information in case you and your lawyer need it. You should also take pictures of the accident scene and the damage that was done. If you can, you should also take note of:
- Location and time of the accident
- Description of the other driver, as well as the make, model, and color of their vehicle
- License plate number
- Security cameras, as they can help prove the accident and help you gather more information on the driver
Step #3: Report the accident to the police
Don’t wait to report your crime; do it as soon as you can. In fact, many states require that the accident is reported within 24 hours of occurring, so the sooner the better. When you report the crime, give them any useful information that you have gathered.
Step #4: Notify your auto insurance company
Every insurance plan is different. Some will be able to protect you under uninsured motorist coverage, while others will not be able to help you unless you know who the other driver was. The good news is that Texas law requires insurance companies to include uninsured motorist coverage in your policy, meaning you may be covered. Either way, you should notify your insurance company to better understand if you’re protected.
Step #5: Hire an attorney
Attorneys know exactly what you need to do to get the compensation that you deserve. This is because they’ll help you navigate the legal process while fighting on your behalf to help you win your case.
If you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident, contact our lawyers at AMS Law Group. We will help you understand the specific laws that Texas has about hit and runs, while helping you gather the information needed to win your case. We are also experts in other types of motor vehicle injuries, in case you or someone you know needs help getting compensation for any injuries and damages that were inflicted.