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Houston Hit and Run Car Accidents

A car accident is a terrifying and traumatic experience, especially if you or a loved one suffers serious injuries and the accident was caused by another driver’s negligent or reckless behavior behind the wheel. It’s even more distressing and bewildering when the other driver leaves the scene of the accident and flees without offering help, awaiting first responders, or leaving contact information. What happens after a hit-and-run accident in Houston, and how does it impact a Houston hit-and-run car accident claim for damages like medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering?

Why Do Drivers Leave the Scene of a Hit-and-Run Accident in Houston?

As a responsible citizen, it’s difficult to imagine that another driver could cause an accident and then leave the scene without checking to see if anyone is hurt or giving their information to law enforcement. Alarmingly, Texas now ranks eighth in the U.S. in top states for fatal hit-and-run accidents. Nationwide, hit-and-run accidents skyrocketed by 60% between 2009 and 2016.

According to AAA-Texas, the most common reasons drivers flee the scene of the accident are the following:

  • They lack insurance and/or a valid Texas driver’s license
  • They are intoxicated or under the influence of an illegal substance
  • They have an outstanding arrest warrant

Less commonly, a driver might leave the scene of an accident because they fear facing liability for a car accident under the state’s fault-based insurance system.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Car Accident in Houston

It can be difficult to keep a cool head after a car accident, especially if you or your loved ones are injured; however, it’s always important to protect yourself physically and financially after a car accident in Houston or elsewhere, and never more so than after a hit-and-run. If you can move safely, your phone becomes a powerful tool for documenting evidence. If you’ve been seriously injured, you can also hand your phone to an uninjured person to use for you to call for help and document important evidence at the accident scene. Use a cell phone after a Houston hit-and-run accident to do the following:

  • If you can, snap a quick photo of the other vehicle, especially the license plate
  • Call 911 to report the accident and apply reasonable first aid
  • Then, use your phone camera to take photos of your damaged vehicle
  • Take photos of anything relevant to the accident, such as an intersection, traffic signal, or traffic signs
  • Take the contact information of any eyewitnesses to the accident—this can be the key to identifying the hit-and-run driver

Always go to the hospital immediately after a car accident and have a thorough examination as well as emergency treatment for your obvious injuries. Ask for a detailed medical report. Then, get a copy of the police report and contact your insurance company and an experienced hit-and-run accident attorney in Houston.

Can I Still Recover Compensation After a Hit and Run Accident in Houston?

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the police may be able to identify the hit-and-run driver through traffic camera footage, your evidence, or eyewitness testimony. Unfortunately, in most hit-and-run accidents in Houston, the hit-and-run driver is uninsured. In this case, your uninsured motorist accident coverage will provide compensation for property damage if you elected this coverage on your policy.

Most Texas car insurance policies include personal injury protection (PIP) unless you actively elected not to carry this coverage. If the hit-and-run driver isn’t identified or has no insurance, your PIP policy should compensate you for your medical expenses and lost income during your recovery. A hit-and-run accident lawyer in Houston can review your options for compensation and provide legal counsel during the recovery process.

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