You just got into a car accident and the driver who was at fault fled the scene. Now you’re worried. Are you going to have to pay your medical bills on your own? Who’s going to cover your car repairs? Do you have any legal recourse?
With the help of a Houston car accident attorney at Johnson Garcia LLP, you can take certain steps to have the best chance possible of getting the compensation you may deserve.
Hit-and-run accident statistics
Crash crashes happen all the time in the Lone Star State. In data from 2018, it was found that one person is killed in a car crash every two hours and 24 minutes, one person is injured every two minutes and seven seconds, and one reportable crash happens every 58 seconds.
A hit-and-run accident occurs when one driver hits into another or they hit a person or object on the road and then flee the scene. It’s illegal in Texas to flee the scene of an accident but unfortunately, more than one hit-and-run happens every minute across the United States, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety. There are 682,000 hit-and-run accidents every single year on average.
What to do when the other driver commits a hit-and-run accident?
If you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident in Texas, then you need to take the right actions before contacting a Houston car accident attorney. First, pull over to a safe area and take a look at your injuries. Then, call the police to let them know what happened. If you’re able, start collecting evidence of the accident including vehicle damage, and witness information.
If you can safely snap a photo of the other driver’s car and its license plate before the driver pulls away, then that will be helpful. If not, resist chasing after the other driver. Instead, stay and take notes on what kind of car they were driving, including the make/model, color, any distinguishing features (decorations, modifications, etc.), and any part of the license plate number you may remember.
If you saw the driver, write down a physical description of them, too. If there were witnesses, gather statements and their contact information in case you need to follow up later on. Look around to see if there are any traffic or surveillance cameras that may have captured what happened during the hit-and-run accident.
Share these notes when speaking to the police after they arrive to create a report of the accident. They will need this information so they can hopefully find the driver who fled the scene.
After you finish up with the police, head to the hospital to get checked out for visible and hidden car injuries. Make sure you get X-rays done to see if there are any internal injuries. Tell the doctor about any pain you’re in, even if it doesn’t seem serious at the moment. Your injuries could get worse over time.
When you get home, call your insurance provider and let them know about the hit-and-run accident so you can start your car accident claim.
How a Houston injury attorney can help you in a hit-and-run accident
When it comes to your own car insurance, you may be able to receive compensation from various types of auto policies. For example, your insurance may include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for bodily injury or damage to your property, collision coverage, and personal injury protection (PIP). These policies can help cover damages such as medical payments if you or anyone else in your car was injured in the hit-and-run accident.
Though you may be entitled to compensation, it’s very hard to receive a fair amount from insurance companies. They are known for paying out very small settlements to people as well as using deceptive tactics to try to blame you as the injured driver for the accident. They might even claim that something else caused your injuries and that they shouldn’t be held responsible for them.
The good news is your Houston personal injury lawyer will step in and aggressively negotiate with your insurance company to put the odds in your favor. Your injury attorney will also calculate the different types of damages, including non-economic and punitive, that would apply to your claim that you might not have even thought of going after.
For instance, if you got injured so badly that you can no longer do your favorite hobbies, then you may be able to get compensation for your medical bills and for loss of enjoyment. If you had to take time off from work to go to doctors’ appointments, then you could claim a loss of wages. If you are prevented from working at your job anymore, you may be able to claim a loss of future wages.
Most importantly, after a hit-and-run accident, you need the time to focus on getting better. Don’t add the stress of fighting with your insurance company. Instead, let the experienced Houston car accident attorneys at Johnson Garcia LLP handle all the work for you.
Our 30+ years of experience has helped us recover over $100 million in damages for our clients, and we won’t charge you anything unless we win. Give us a call or contact us online today for your free consultation. We’re standing by and ready to help you!