Despite having some of the strictest and most severe penalties in the country for hit-and-run violators, Texas has the eighth-highest hit-and-run rate in the nation. All crashes are stressful enough, but this type of wreck can complicate things even further. Let’s take a look at what makes a wreck a hit-and-run and what you should do if you’re ever the victim of one.
What is a hit-and-run?
A hit-and-run is a crash where a driver collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, or property and leaves the scene. In Texas, if you flee the scene of a crash without providing your information, you can be charged with a serious crime.
Here are 7 steps to take if you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run crash.
What should you do after a hit-and-run?
1 – Make sure everyone is safe.
The first step after any crash is to check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If anyone is hurt, call 911 immediately to request medical assistance. Safety should always be your #1 priority.
2 – Call the police.
Provide as much information about the vehicle that fled the scene as possible. The more information you can provide, the better. Details like color, make and model, bumper stickers, decals, or tinted windows can all be incredibly helpful for the police in their investigation.
The police may also request that you submit an accident report form or other documents such as photos of the scene or any damage to your vehicle.
3 – Search for potential witnesses.
Ask any bystanders if they witnessed the wreck. Be sure to get their contact information and provide it to the police in case further investigation is needed. If the crash happened near a business, you can even ask if there is security camera footage that you could access.
4 – Document everything that you can.
Take pictures of the crash site from multiple angles and make note of any damage to your vehicle. Write down the names of all witnesses and any other details that could be helpful to both the police and your insurance company.
If your vehicle is still on the road, ask a police officer for help in taking photographs safely. Remember, safety is your #1 priority.
5 – Communicate with the police and your insurance company.
Continue to provide the police with all the information that they need. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re confused about the process or what information they’re asking for.
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, contact your insurance company to file a claim. Even though the at-fault driver fled the scene, they may still be liable for your damages.
6 – Seek legal advice if necessary.
If you have any questions about the legal implications of a hit-and-run crash or feel that you’re being bullied by your insurance company, call an experienced lawyer who will fight for you. They can provide valuable advice on how best to handle your situation and also inform you of any legal rights you may have.
7 – Take care of yourself emotionally.
Being the victim of a hit-and-run crash can be a traumatic experience. Take time to recover and process what happened. Don’t be afraid to reach out to family, friends, or professional counselors for support.
Hit-and-runs can feel overwhelming, but following these steps can help make the process a bit easier. Remember to stay calm, document all evidence, and contact an attorney if you think it is necessary.
Disclaimer: The content in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and is only intended to provide general guidance on the topic of hit-and-run crashes. For specific questions or legal advice, please contact an experienced attorney.