It is against the law in Texas to leave the scene of an accident. Nevertheless, people do this almost every day, leaving behind badly injured victims.
Pedestrians are uniquely vulnerable in a hit and run accident. They can suffer much more serious injuries than those riding in cars and require longer recovery times. If you have been struck in a hit and run, reach out to an Austin pedestrian accident attorney today. We will be happy to discuss your options.
Texas Laws on Hit and Run Accidents
Texas Transportation Code §550.021 is the section that deals with accidents that cause bodily injury or death. According to the law, the driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident must:
- Immediately stop or immediately return to the scene of the accident
- Remain at the scene and provide important information, such as their registration number, name, insurance, and driver’s license if requested
- Provide reasonable assistance to the injured, including taking someone to the hospital or calling for an ambulance
Unfortunately, many motorists do not follow these requirements but instead leave injured pedestrians to fight for themselves. It is against the law, but unless the driver gets caught, they will not suffer any punishment.
Next Steps After an Accident
After the accident, you should try to contact the police as soon as possible. Share any information you have about the driver who struck you:
- Color and make/model of the vehicle
- Any distinguishing marks about the vehicle, such as a bumper sticker
- What direction the vehicle was traveling in
- Any description of the driver, if you saw anything
- As much of the license plate as you saw
Witnesses might also have important information that they can share with the police. If the accident happened near a business, then surveillance video could have captured the vehicle, also. An attorney can help canvass the area and find as much useful information as possible.
Of course, getting medical help is the most vital step, so ask someone to contact an ambulance if you can’t get to the hospital on your own. Receiving prompt treatment is important for your recovery.
Compensation for a Hit and Run Crash
Generally, a person who has been struck can bring a lawsuit against the negligent driver. However, there is a hurdle in a hit-and-run crash—you often can’t identify the driver. This means there is no one you can sue. If the police find him or her, then you can sue or bring a claim against the driver’s insurer. Unfortunately, many drivers flee the scene because they do not have insurance.
Unfortunately, you might never find out the driver’s identity. If you have health insurance, then you can use that to help defray the costs of medical care. You might also have short-term disability insurance through your work, which can help cover lost wages.
If you purchased personal injury protection benefits or uninsured motorist coverage, then they could provide compensation even though you were a pedestrian. Check your policy.
Meet with an attorney to review your options. Robert Littlefield Buford III, Attorney at Law, has represented many pedestrians injured in car crashes. Give our firm a call. We offer a free consultation.