Being injured in a car accident is an upsetting experience and even more so if it was a hit and run accident. Depending on the severity of the accident, a hit and run can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, provided that the driver is identified and apprehended. If the hit and run driver is not caught, obtaining compensation can become complicated. In any event, the surest way to protect your interests is to work with the right car accident attorney.
Conveniently located in Houston, Sherman Law Firm frequently represents hit and run accident victims. We are knowledgeable about the applicable insurance laws and have a proven history of obtaining favorable settlements for our clients. If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, we will advise you of your rights and explore all of your options for obtaining compensation.
What is a hit and run accident?
A hit and run accident in Houston occurs when a motorist is involved in a collision with another vehicle (or pedestrian) and leaves with the scene. Nonetheless, all motorists in Texas are required to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in injuries or property damage, exchange identification and insurance information, and offer assistance if possible.
Although it is unlawful to flee the scene of an accident, hit and run accidents are more likely to occur when the other driver:
- Does not have automobile insurance
- Has a suspended license or a prior record traffic violations
- Is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Regardless of the reasons for fleeing an accident scene, a hit and run driver who is apprehended may face criminal charges, civil legal action, and other consequences. Nonetheless, finding the other driver can be challenging, even though surveillance cameras and smartphones often capture many car accidents on video. This is why it is so important to call the police immediately after a hit and run accident. Not only can the police begin an investigation to identify and apprehend the driver; the police report will be important evidence in your injury claim.
How can I obtain compensation in a hit and run accident?
If the hit and run driver can be identified, a personal injury claim can be brought against that individual, regardless of whether he or she is formally charged with or convicted of a crime.
Our attorneys can file a personal injury claim seeking compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and other losses. You may also be awarded punitive damages that are intended to punish the hit and run driver and to deter others from leaving the scene of a car accident.
If the fleeing driver has not been found, you may be able to seek compensation from your own insurer, provided that you purchased Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. All insurance companies in Texas are required to offer such coverage to policyholders. In sum, UM coverage allows you to file a claim with your own insurance company for drivers and passengers injured in accidents with uninsured drivers — including hit and run drivers.
If you selected UM, the minimum amount of coverage must be equal to the mandatory minimum coverage required by state law:
- $30,000 for each injured person
- $60,000 for injuries per incident
- $25,000 for property damage
It is important to note that strict deadlines apply for filing UM claims so it is important to act quickly. By failing to file a UM claim within the required time period, the insurer will likely deny the claim. This is why you should call the police immediately after a hit and run accident and seek medical treatment. The reports of the police and first responders will serve as valuable evidence in support of your personal injury claim.
Contact Our Houston Hit & Run Accident Lawyer
If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, you may be concerned about paying for your vehicle damage and medical bills while trying to recover. Our legal team will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident and work with a team of private investigators when necessary to identify the other driver. If the hit and run driver cannot be identified, we will explain how UM coverage works and work with the insurance company to settle your claim.
Although insurance companies typically seek to deny UM claims or pay as little money as possible to settle, we will make sure you receive the full value of your claim. If the insurer fails to make a reasonable offer, we may recommend filing a civil lawsuit to recover damages. If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run accident, we know how to fight for your rights. Contact our office today to set up a free consultation.
The Sherman Law Firm serves clients in Harris and Montgomery Counties and throughout the Houston area.