According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, police discovered a woman in a wrecked vehicle on Interstate 30 on July 15, 2020. Law enforcement officers identified the woman as 36-year-old Elizabeth Martinez-Ramos of Fort Worth. She was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. 

The Tarrant County medical examiner had not made a ruling about her death. The vehicle was near the Bridgewood Exit in the 5300 block of Interstate 30 in the middle of the westbound lanes. The Fort Worth Police Department did not provide any details of the accident.

Hit and Run Accidents in Fort Worth

It is unknown whether another vehicle was involved in the above crash. It could have been a hit-and-run accident. Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are common.

Texas traffic laws require that you stop at an accident scene. However, many people ignore the law. The reasons for fleeing an accident vary, but some common reasons why someone might leave an accident scene include:

  • The driver does not have a license
  • The driver does not have automobile insurance
  • Outstanding arrest warrants or traffic tickets
  • Fear of facing a wrongful death claim or personal injury claim
  • Fear of being charged with vehicular homicide

Sadly, when a hit-and-run driver causes an accident, the victims can sustain severe injuries. The victims may also incur substantial financial losses that they must now pay themselves. 

If another driver flees the scene of an accident, call 911 immediately. Provide the make, model, and color of the vehicle, if possible. When the police officer arrives at the accident scene, try to give the officer as much information as you can remember about the vehicle.

Eyewitnesses can be very helpful after a hit-and-run accident. If a person sees the accident, but cannot remain at the scene until the police arrive, ask for the person’s name and contact information so that you can give that to the police officers.

Damages in a Hit-and-Run Accident

Hit and run crashes can cause traumatic injuries. Victims may sustain traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, back injuries, whiplash, and soft tissue injuries. In severe accidents, a victim could be paralyzed or otherwise disabled.

The damages caused by a hit-and-run accident include economic or financial losses such as:

  • Hospital bills and surgical costs
  • Physician’s bills
  • Therapy costs
  • Personal care costs
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Decreased earning potential
  • Medications and medical equipment

The automobile accident may also cause noneconomic damages. Noneconomic damages include a person’s “pain and suffering” caused by the accident. Noneconomic damages can also include physical pain, PTSD, depression, emotional distress, disabilities, scarring, and loss of enjoyment of life.

The compensation received for a car accident claim depends on several factors. When the other driver is responsible for the crash and flees the accident scene, you may never recover compensation from the at-fault driver. However, you may be able to receive money for an uninsured motorist claim.

What is Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

Uninsured motorist (UM) insurance is an optional insurance policy that you can add to your car insurance coverage. UM insurance is not required in Texas, but your insurance provider must offer the coverage when you purchase required liability car insurance. 

UM coverage protects you if you are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. Most policies also cover accidents caused by hit-and-run drivers. 

Your insurance provider “stands” in the shoes of the other driver. You file your accident claim with your insurance company. Your insurance company should compensate you for your damages up to the policy limit.

Uninsured motorist coverage is usually much less expensive compared to liability insurance, especially for the protection it offers.

For example, if your damages from an accident caused by an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run driver total $100,000 or you have UM coverage in at least that amount, you should receive a payment from your insurance company under your policy.

Do I Need an Attorney to File an Uninsured Motorist Claim?

Many people assume that they do not need a car accident attorney because they are working with their insurance provider. However, you are not working with your insurance agent. 

You are working with a claims adjuster who treats your car accident claim the same way as he treats other claims. The insurance company will try to pay as little as possible for your injury claim. Therefore, it can be in your best interest to speak with an injury lawyer about your claim before accepting a settlement offer, signing documents, or providing a statement.

Treat your uninsured motorist claim as you would any other car accident claim. Be careful what you say to the insurance adjuster, and do not sign a blanket medical release form. Remember, the first settlement offer from an insurance company is typically lower than the actual value of your personal injury claim.