How to Handle a Hit and Run Car Accident
Being in a car accident can be a harrowing experience. Even more harrowing is being involved in an accident where the party at fault leaves the scene without stopping to face the consequences of their actions, or one in which the party at-fault dies.
In either of those situations, the victim of a car accident may face an uphill battle in recovering compensation. However, with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, recovery is possible.
What Does it Mean to be at Fault?
Fault is an important part of liability, and therefore an important part of personal injury law. To recover for the damages you have suffered in an accident, you will need to prove that the other party was at fault — that due to their negligence, they directly caused the injuries you have suffered.
What if the Other Driver Takes Off After the Accident?
A hit-and-run car accident can pose complicated factual and legal problems in attempting to recover the damages you’ve incurred as a result of your injuries. Car accident hit-and-run laws are often state-specific, and it’s important to understand what your state says about hit-and-run accidents. In Texas, for example, failure to stop after a car accident that causes injury to a person or property can result in both civil and criminal liabilities. In addition to being a crime, this conduct also speaks to the other party’s potential fault liability.
Even if the other driver takes off without stopping, it may still be possible to bring a claim against them for the injuries you have suffered. Of course, a hit-and-run presents several issues that need to be overcome. For example, it will be necessary to inspect the evidence carefully, as well as to work with the authorities to find the identity of the other driver.
An experienced and knowledgeable car accident attorney can help investigate the facts, interview witnesses, examine the evidence, and communicate with the police and others to help find the party responsible for your injuries. Moreover, they can negotiate with the other party’s insurance company on your behalf to obtain a fair and reasonable settlement to compensate you for your damages.
What if the Driver at Fault Dies in the Accident?
If one party dies in a car accident, the ensuing personal injury case can quickly become complicated. When the party at fault dies, the question may come up: Is it still possible to recover for the injuries and damages they caused during the accident?
In short, recovery is still possible. First, you may be able to seek compensation from the driver’s insurance company, as the insurance policy was in effect while the accident occurred. That said, it may be possible to recover compensation from the other driver’s estate, particularly if the other driver’s insurance policy does not cover the full amount of your damages, or, if the deceased driver was uninsured or underinsured. In some cases, your own insurance policy might also be helpful if your policy covers the difference between your damages and the other driver’s available policy limits.
What Should You Do to Preserve Your Rights and Avoid Liability after Hit-and-Run Accidents?
To help preserve your rights after an accident in which the other party at fault drives away, take the following steps:
- Get to a safe place and call 911. Report the accident to the police and obtain medical attention for any injuries you have suffered.
- Take notes. Write down an account of what happened while you are still at the scene, including anything you remember regarding the accident and the other driver.
- Document the accident. Take photographs of the scene, your car, and your injuries.
- Talk to people. Speak with any witnesses and take down their account of what happened before, during, and after the accident.
- Give details. Provide the authorities with any information you can remember about the other driver and their car.
- Get your insurance on the phone. Call your insurance provider to report the accident and make a claim.
- Get medical help. Even if you are feeling well, you may have suffered injuries that will manifest later. It is important to get checked out by a medical provider and receive help for your injuries.
- Get legal help. Call a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney for a consultation and to discuss potential next steps.
How Can Johnson Garcia Help?
Johnson Garcia, based in Houston, Texas, has years of experience in helping victims of car accidents — including hit-and-run accidents — obtain sizable settlements. We have worked hard to build a reputation as a trusted personal injury law firms in the area.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another party, contact the Houston-based legal team at Johnson Garcia. We can be reached by phone at 832-844-6700. Your initial consultation is free.