Were you a victim of a hit-and-run accident? These Houston auto personal injury cases can be extremely complicated. In many cases, you may want to hire an attorney to help with the process of locating the driver and seeking compensation for your damages and injuries. Let’s discuss what to do after you’ve been injured by a hit-and-run driver.
Unfortunately, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that 13% of all car crashes are hit-and-run accidents. Hit-and-run accidents are where a driver doesn’t stop to exchange information and render aid after an accident. This can occur in parking lots with unoccupied vehicles, to other property like fences, or on the road where both cars are driving. In this article we’ll focus on accidents where both cars are driving.
Houston Auto Personal Injury Cases for Hit-and-Runs
When it comes to hit-and-run cases, there are generally two options for your case. The first is to locate the driver and seek compensation from them. This might involve filing a claim against their auto insurance if they have it, or filing a lawsuit against them in civil court. A Houston auto personal injury attorney can help with this process and advocate for your rights after you’re a victim of a hit-and-run.
In other cases, you may not be able to locate the other driver. If this occurs, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company. However, this really depends on your policy coverage. Some insurance policies may cover damages and medical bills after an accident with a hit-and-run driver. Others may not. It’s important to check your specific policy for more details. In any case, there are a few steps to follow after a hit-and-run accident if you’re able to help your case.
What to do Immediately After a Hit-and-Run
Being in any accident can be shocking and confusing, but after the other driver runs away, you might be at a loss for what to do. Generally, you should follow similar steps after a hit-and-run accident as any other accident. The number one thing to do after an accident is check that everyone is okay and offer reasonable aid.
Stay at the Scene!
One of the first things to know is that you should stay at the scene of the accident, even if you didn’t cause it, and even if the other car drives away. It might be tempting to try to follow the hit-and-run driver, but this can be dangerous. First, leaving the scene means you may miss out on valuable evidence for your Houston auto personal injury case. You might miss getting witness information and it often delays your ability to call the police. In addition, catching up to a hit-and-run driver is difficult and may lead you to break traffic laws like speed limits. Also, if you do catch up to the other driver, you don’t know what their reaction will be, which could put you in danger. So, we recommend stopping and staying at the scene after a hit-and-run accident.
Call the Police to Report Hit-and-Run Accident
After you stop, the next step is to call the police (and an ambulance if you’re injured). Calling the police is important after a hit-and-run. Law enforcement often help investigate the accident and attempt to find the hit-and-run driver. They will ask you and any witnesses for information to help them locate the driver, which can be important for not only catching the criminal, but can also help you identify who to seek compensation from.
Also, the police will file a police report for the accident. This is important, as it can help your case in many ways. Your Houston traffic accident lawyer can use police reports to help find more evidence, and they’re also typically required if you file a claim against your insurance if you don’t find the other driver.
Gather Evidence for Your Houston Auto Personal Injury Case
As you wait for police to arrive, you can start to gather evidence if you can safely do so. This evidence may be helpful to police as they search for the driver. Also, it can help your case as you seek compensation for damages and injuries. There are a few things you can do to start gathering evidence right after your accident.
Write Information Down While It’s Fresh
Once you’ve made sure everyone is okay and you’ve called the police, take some time to write down everything you can think of pertaining to the accident. Doing this right away can help because the information is fresh in your mind. For instance, write down the circumstances of the accident, and any information about the car or driver you can remember. Some things to write down include:
- Car make and model
- Car color
- Driver description
- License plate number (even if you only remember part of it)
Also think about other descriptors about the car. For example, whether it looked new or old, whether it had rust or any special paint features, bumper and window stickers, or anything else that is distinctive. You can give this information to the police and your Houston car injury attorney to help with your case.
In addition, take pictures of the damage and the area if you can. It’s good to take a wide variety of pictures, as you never know what might help your case. In some cases even a picture of some paint pieces left by the at-fault driver may help.
Witnesses may also be helpful for your hit-and-run Houston auto personal injury case. Even if you didn’t catch the license plate number, description, or how the accident happened, someone else may have. Consider getting contact information from witnesses and ask them to stay to give a statement to police.
Car accident witnesses can include other drivers and pedestrians. In some cases, people inside nearby homes and businesses may also have seen something helpful. Even if they didn’t see it with their eyes, they may have video footage that might be helpful for your case. Many businesses and homeowners have security cameras that may have recorded part of your accident or the other driver.
Talk to a Houston Traffic Accident Lawyer
Next, many people talk to a lawyer about their Houston auto personal injury case. This can help as you look at options for compensation. An attorney can help gather information, may have suggestions for locating the other driver, and also help as you file claims or lawsuits to obtain compensation. An attorney can be invaluable as you consider different courses of action after a hit-and-run accident.
DeSimone Law Office – Experienced Houston Auto Personal Injury Attorney
If you were injured in a car accident, our attorneys at DeSimone Law Office are here for you. We offer guidance for filing insurance claims, car accident settlements, and pursuing lawsuits for your accident. We have helped settle thousands of cases and offer years of experience in personal injury. Our attorneys advocate for your rights and work hard to help you get compensation after a car crash. Contact us now for a free case evaluation with our attorneys. We’ll review your case and help you understand your legal options.