Do I Need a Lawyer After a Hit and Run Accident in Fort Worth, TX?
Hit and run accidents occur when drivers cause car crashes and leave the scene of the accident. In Texas, it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident with injury or property damages. Also, the at-fault driver could be liable for damages under civil law.
What can you do? The driver fled the scene of the accident. Should you call a Houston hit-and-run accident lawyer for help? Yes, in the event of an accident, it is important to reach out for legal representation.
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How Can a Fort Worth Hit and Run Accident Attorney Help Me?
It is always in your best interest to discuss an accident claim with a Fort Worth car accident attorney. Being in a car accident is stressful. Dealing with a hit-and-run accident case can be even more stressful.
Even if law enforcement officers catch the hit-and-run driver, it is not guaranteed that you will receive the compensation you deserve for damages caused by the negligent driver.
Reasons why you need a lawyer after a hit-and-run accident in Fort Worth:
- You need to understand your rights and options regarding a hit-and-run driver
- An attorney understands insurance laws that can help you recover money for damages
- A lawyer knows what damages you can claim after a hit-and-run accident
- An attorney helps you prove the hit-and-run driver caused the crash, which is a necessary step if you want to recover money for an accident claim
- You have someone who investigates the car accident, gathers evidence, and monitors the law enforcement investigation
- Your lawyer handles the insurance claim, so you do not need to deal with claims adjusters and investigators
- Understand your options for recovery by filing uninsured motorist insurance claims
- An attorney knows how to value your damages correctly to maximize recovery
Hit and run accidents cause severe injuries, property damage, and other losses. Give yourself the best chance of receiving money for a claim by working with an experienced Fort Worth injury attorney.
What Are Your Obligations After a Hit and Run Accident?
The Texas Transportation Code requires drivers involved in a traffic stop involving personal injury, death, or property damage to stop. In addition, Texas law requires drivers to remain at the accident scene until they fulfill their duties under the law.
Unfortunately, many drivers ignore the law. Common reasons why a driver would flee the accident scene include:
- No insurance coverage
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Fear of lawsuits and civil liability for damages
- Driving a stolen vehicle
- Possession of illegal drugs, firearms, or items
- Driving without a driver’s license
- Fear of changes to immigration status
Fleeing an accident scene that involves injury or death is a crime. The criminal charge is a felony punishable by fines and imprisonment. Leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage is generally charged as a misdemeanor offense.
What Should You Do After a Hit and Run Accident in Fort Worth?
If the driver flees the scene of a car crash, you should:
Report the Hit and Run Accident to the Police
You should always report a hit-and-run accident by calling 911 from the accident scene. You need to file a police report. Immediately notifying the police might help law enforcement agencies locate the hit-and-run driver.
Write Down What You Remember About the Automobile
Write down as much information as you can remember about the vehicle that hit your car. That includes the license plate, color, make, and model of the vehicle.
Try to remember any details about the vehicle that can help identify the driver, such as vehicle damage or writing on the vehicle. Every detail you remember helps law enforcement officers catch the hit-and-run driver.
Document the Accident Scene
It is important to document the accident scene after an auto accident involving a hit-and-run driver. Take photographs of your vehicle, the damage to the car, and the surrounding area. Also, get a picture of anything that could have contributed to the cause of the crash.
If there are eyewitnesses, ask for their names and contact information. They may be helpful in locating the driver or proving that the accident was not your fault. Note any video cameras that might have captured the collision and the driver leaving the accident scene.
Seek Immediate Medical Treatment
Do not refuse medical treatment. Saying you are fine or okay could hurt your car accident case. Instead, if you do not want to go to the hospital by ambulance, tell the police officer that you intend to call your doctor about accident injuries.
See your doctor as soon as possible for an exam. Make sure to report all symptoms you experience after the car accident. Even the slightest symptom could indicate a traumatic injury.
Failing to seek medical care, document your injuries, and follow your doctor’s treatment plan could result in the insurance company denying your claim or alleging you made your injuries worse by delaying medical care.
Who Pays the Damages for Hit and Run Accidents?
Texas is an at-fault state. Drivers must have liability insurance coverage to compensate victims for damages when a driver causes a motor vehicle accident. The at-fault driver in a car accident could be responsible for damages including:
- Medical bills
- Physical pain and suffering
- Lost wages, benefits, and reductions in earning potential
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of quality of and enjoyment of life
- Impairments and disabilities
The insurance company for the at-fault driver should pay damages for an accident claim. Unfortunately, a hit-and-run accident means there is no one to pay your claim unless you find the hit-and-run driver.
However, if you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, you could receive money for your claim from your insurance company.
How Does an Uninsured Motorist Claim Work?
Texas requires insurance companies to offer uninsured motorist insurance as part of automobile insurance policies. However, drivers may decline UM coverage.
Hopefully, you did not decline coverage. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance provider should compensate you for damages as if it was the insurance company for the at-fault driver.
You must prove that the hit-and-run driver caused the crash. Therefore, you could have problems recovering compensation for a hit-and-run accident even though you are dealing with your car insurance company. An insurance adjuster assigned to your case will always protect the insurance company by minimizing your recovery, notwithstanding that you are a customer.
A Fort Worth hit-and-run accident attorney understands the requirements for filing and winning an uninsured motorist accident claim. The lawyer investigates the accident to gather evidence proving the driver who left the scene is the one who caused the crash.
Are There Deadlines for Filing Uninsured Motorist Claims After a Hit and Run Accident?
Typically, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases applies to hit-and-run accident claims and UM claims. The deadline for filing under Texas Civil Practices & Remedies Code §16.003 is two years from the accident date.
Do not delay in seeking legal advice. There are exceptions to the statute of limitations that could apply in your situation. The longer you wait to hire a lawyer, the greater chance that evidence proving fault disappears or is destroyed.
Contact Our Fort Worth Hit and Run Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
We understand you are frustrated, angry, and devastated by a hit-and-run accident. Our personal injury lawyers at Stephens Law work to get you the money you deserve so you can put a hit-and-run crash behind you. Contact now to schedule your free consultation and case review with an experienced hit-and-run accident attorney in Houston, TX.