When motorists are involved in an accident in Texas, the drivers are legally required to stop and exchange contact information and insurance data. Sometimes, a driver will not be so cooperative and will flee the scene. This can be for a number of reasons. None of them are beneficial to you. Other parties may leave the scene of a collision because they are uninsured. They could have bench warrants and fear being arrested, or they might be driving with a revoked or suspended license. Other times, they are under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs. Hit-and-run accidents can be a misdemeanor or a felony. It depends on how extensive the damage is and if there are any injuries or deaths. There are laws to protect you and experienced Houston vehicle accident lawyers can protect your legal rights.
Immediately after the accident, there are a few things you should do to help yourself. If possible, try to get the license number of the vehicle that fled. It would also be advantageous to use your cell phone to take a photo of their vehicle’s damage, so a team of Houston car wreck attorneys can match that damage to yours. Then, call the police to report the incident. Give them the other driver’s license number if you were able to get it. The next thing you should do is complete an accident report with your insurance company by phone or online.
It is important to get written statements, including the names, addresses and contact information of any witnesses. These statements will confirm the Houston car accident and can make a big difference if the case goes to trial. This step is frequently overlooked during the confusion after a motor vehicle wreck, especially if there are injuries involved. Take several photos of the scene of the accident, including skid marks and sight lines. Record your version of the wreck in writing or on a cell phone. Document all of your contact with the police. Take notes of what they have to say regarding who was at fault. Their words may prove to be very valuable later.
Be sure you have your registration and proof of insurance to show the authorities. They will want to see this information so that they can properly report the incident.
Just as there are things that you should do after a hit-and-run accident, there are things that you absolutely should never do. Do not chase the other driver. Remain at the scene of the wreck. You will not make the situation any better if you leave the scene too. Pull your car to the side of the road so that you do not block traffic while you are waiting for the police to arrive. If you cannot move your vehicle, do not wait in it if it is in a lane of traffic. Find a nice, safe seat off the roadway, and try to calm yourself.
Hopefully, you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage through your auto insurance company. This is very important in a hit-and-run case. It may prevent you from having to cover the cost of repairing your car or the cost of visiting the emergency room. You can adjust the limits of both types of coverage so that you are protected in such a situation. Some drivers carry the lowest liability coverage that is allowed by law. If the accident caused an injury to you or one or more of your passengers, that minimum will probably be exceeded. In that case, your uninsured coverage limits can be supplemented by your underinsured coverage.
Protect yourself in the event of a hit-and run accident by knowing what to do and what to refrain from doing. When deciding on a Houston attorney, look for one with experience and a staff of investigators who will find the culprit and gather evidence so that you can win a civil suit and be compensated for the damage to your vehicle and any health care costs incurred by you or your passengers.