This happens more often than we would like to think and it can be a very difficult situation, particularly if there are serious injuries involved. Leaving the scene of an accident is against the law, and yet, it still happens. Often the reason someone leaves an accident scene is because they are not supposed to be driving in the first place, due to a DWI/DUI or a suspended license. But, what do you do?
The law in Texas requires that a driver stop and perform certain actions, including: rendering aid to the injured person, exchanging drivers’ licenses and insurance information if asked, and if a police officer has been called and is on police to arrive, if they have been called.
Leaving the scene of a car accident can result in the driver, if apprehended, being charged criminally and/or have a claim filed against him or him in the form of a civil lawsuit. The crime committed, either a felony or a misdemeanor, depends on the severity of the damages and injuries caused in the wreck. If the hit-and-run caused serious bodily injury or death, it may be a felony. The penalties for hit-and-run in Texas include six months in county jail to 10 years in state prison and/or fines of $500 to $5,000 or more.
So what do you do? First, call the police. In some cases, the police are able to identify a driver and that means you can try to seek damages from that driver. However, if the police do not locate the driver and he or she remains unknown, you may still able to file a claim through your own insurance company.
Second, call your insurance company. You may have purchased insurance on your own policy that would protect you in these situations.
The first type of coverage is personal injury protection (PIP). PIP is important insurance that may pay for some of your medical expenses and reimburse you for the loss of some your earnings. There can be several potential PIP policies. If the car that you are riding in at the time of the wreck has insurance with PIP, then the PIP will provide benefits to everyone riding in that car at the time of the wreck. But what if you’re in someone else’s car? If you’re in someone else’s car, then your own car insurance covering your car, even if your car wasn’t in the wreck, may have PIP that can cover you. PIP is so important that the law is that you automatically get $2,500.00 of PIP (and you can buy other amounts more than $2,500) unless you specifically reject it in writing.
The other option for your injuries is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you bought this coverage on your own car (or if you’re a passenger in a car that has uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage), then you can make a claim on that policy. UM/UIM will actually cover both personal injury damages and property damages to the vehicle.
If you don’t have any applicable uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, then you might be able to make a claim on your insurance’s collision coverage.
In order to recover damages and compensation for medical care, you need to have the right type of optional insurance coverage, because you can never be sure what whether an accident is going to happen and how it may affect you physically and financially.
Other Auto Accident FAQs:
- A big rig hit me, and police are citing the trucker and saying it was his fault. What are my rights?
- After my car accident, the other driver’s insurance company refused to pay my doctor’s bills. Why did they do that? The other driver was cited as being at-fault for the accident.
- Am I required to notify my insurance company of the fact that I was involved in an accident?
- Am I supposed to call the police if I have been involved in a car accident?
- Am I supposed to talk to the police when they arrive on the scene of an accident, or do I have to call an attorney first?
- An insurance adjuster for the other driver called me and wants a recorded statement? Should I go ahead and provide them with one?
- An insurance agent for the at-fault driver called me the other day and wanted to ask a bunch of questions. Is it okay to talk to the agent?
- Are there any other distractions while driving that I should be aware of and avoid?
- Can I file a claim for compensation, after a car crash where investigation showed my vehicle was defective?
- Do I have a case if I was involved in a car accident and was a passenger?
- Do I have to go to court and talk about my accident? I really don’t want to do that.
- Do I have to go to court if I choose to file a personal injury lawsuit after my car accident?
- Do I need to call the other driver’s insurance company and inform them of the accident?
- Do I need to hire a lawyer after a car wreck? And if so, when?
- Do I need to hire an attorney right after the accident, or can I wait until later and I have spoken to the insurance company?
- Do I really need to hire a lawyer? Can’t I just handle the insurance company issues on my own?
- Doctors at the hospital where I was taken after my accident said I needed treatment for my injuries. I not have health insurance or insurance of any kind. What do I do?
- How can I figure out the value of damages after my car accident?
- How do I even know if I have a successful accident claim?
- How do I know if I can file a lawsuit against the other driver involved in my accident?
- How much money can I expect in a settlement offer?
- I cannot pay the medical bills as a result of the accident I was in. What am I supposed to do?
- I felt fine after my car accident and refused medical treatment. Several days later I began experiencing pain in my neck and back. What do I do now?
- I have been involved in a collision. Is there anything I can do to protect or preserve the evidence?
- I immediately notified my insurance company about an accident that I was involved in. What else am I supposed to do?
- I need to see a doctor after being involved in an accident. What am I supposed to tell them and what do I need to be aware of?
- I really need to get on with my life after my accident. How long does it take for accident claim to be settled or go to court?
- I rear-ended another car, but my SUV was pushed into the one in front of me by another vehicle. Am I considered to be the at-fault driver in this case?
- I think I was partly to blame for my car accident. How does that affect my case?
- I was a passenger in a car involved in a crash and was injured. Do I have a legal claim?
- I was hit by another driver ramming into my vehicle after hitting a pothole. Who is responsible for an accident like that?
- I was in a bad car accident and the doctor says it’s going to take a long time to heal and I may need surgery. What would my accident claim be worth?
- I was in a bad car accident in Texas about a year and a half ago. Can I still file a lawsuit?
- I was in a car accident and got really lucky. There was hardly any damage to the vehicle. However, I did sustain injuries. Does lack of vehicle damage affect any claim I may have?
- I was in a car accident and was not really hurt, but my wife says I should see a doctor anyhow? Do I need to?
- I was in a multi-car accident. Do I have to call all the insurance companies?
- I was in an accident and the other driver left the scene. What do I do?
- I was in an accident that broke my pelvis in several places and need more than one operation to be able to walk again. My husband was the driver and he was at fault for the accident. Can I sue him?
- I was injured in a car accident about a week ago. The other driver’s insurance adjuster called me and asked for my medical records. Should I provide them?
- I was involved in a bad accident that sent several people to the hospital. The crash was my fault. Am I entitled to any compensation?
- I was involved in a bad accident when another vehicle rear-ended me. I’ve been getting phone calls from the other party’s insurance adjuster. What do I tell them?
- I was involved in a car accident and broke my leg and several ribs and need surgery. Do I need an attorney to help me get compensation for my medical bills?
- I was involved in a car accident in Texas and it was partially my fault. Can I still seek compensation?
- I was involved in a car accident last week, but it was not my fault. I was injured and went to hospital. What do I do now?
- I was involved in a collision with another car. Do I need a personal injury attorney to deal with this accident?
- I was involved in a fairly serious car accident. What compensation may I receive from the at-fault driver?
- I was involved in a hit and run accident. What do I do?
- I was involved in a recent car accident. How long does it take to file a claim?
- I was rear-ended and the other driver said it was my fault. How is that possible since he ran into me?
- I was recently involved in a car accident. How long do I have before I can pursue my legal options?
- I was recently involved in a collision with another car. I was not wearing a seat belt. Am I still able to recover damages?
- I was T-boned by a drunk driver. Can I file a lawsuit?
- I was the victim of a driver who fled the scene of the accident. The police have no idea who the individual was. May I claim compensation?
- If I decide to file a lawsuit against the other driver in the car accident I was involved in, how long does it take to get it settled?
- Is there a statute of limitations on when I can file a car accident claim?
- It looks like the damages from my car accident are greater than the insurance coverage of the at-fault driver. What do I do in a situation like that? Can I still collect damages?
- My daughter was in a car accident and the police told her she was responsible for the accident. The insurance company said she was not. What factors deem someone responsible for a car accident?
- My insurance company is offering me a settlement as the result of an accident I was involved in. Should I take it?
- Our family was in a bad accident with a tractor-trailer unit. The cause of the accident is not clear. What do we do?
- The accident I was in was pretty mild and I didn’t really get hurt. However, months later I started having some serious issues with my back. It turned out I had a damaged disc due to the impact. How can I file a lawsuit?
- The accident I was involved in was partially my fault. Am I still able to file a claim?
- The offer the insurance company is presenting to me seems reasonable. Do I need to speak to an attorney?
- The other driver involved in my accident said his insurance company would probably call me. Am I supposed to talk to them?
- The other driver was at-fault for the accident. What happens now?
- The other driver’s insurance agent called me. What do I tell him?
- The police say I was partially at fault for my accident. What does that mean for financial recovery for my injuries?
- What are the main causes of car crashes?
- What is the seat belt law in Texas for adults and children?
- What types of damages would I be able to recover in a car accident?
- What would my accident lawsuit be worth?
- When am I supposed to report my car accident to the insurance company? Or if it’s a minor accident do I need to report it?