If you were hurt in an auto accident and the at-fault party left the scene of a crash, you might not ever know who was responsible for your injuries. You may be wondering how to proceed or what you can do to recover your losses. Fortunately, a local auto collision attorney who is familiar with hit and run car accidents in Austin could answer your questions and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
What Constitutes a Hit and Run Accident?
According to Texas Transportation Code Title 7C §550.021, a hit and run occurs anytime a driver flees the scene after knowingly causing an accident that results in property damages or injuries without stopping to give the other driver their information or offering to help them. After striking another vehicle, an at-fault driver should provide their name, address, vehicle registration number, driver’s license information, and insurance information.
Even if the at-fault driver initially stops their vehicle, Texas courts would still consider the accident to be a hit and run if the driver leaves the scene without giving the necessary information or offering assistance. Similarly, an accident would be considered a hit and run if the at-fault driver leaves the accident scene after giving a false name, address, or insurance information. Even if the driver of the struck vehicle is not in their car at the time of the accident, the at-fault driver still needs to either locate the driver or leave their information.
How an Austin Lawyer Could Help
After an accident, the first priority of all parties should be to seek all necessary medical care. Once they have taken care of their urgent wounds, someone injured in a hit and run accident should reach out to a local attorney for legal assistance.
If the At-Fault Driver is Located
A seasoned Austin attorney could investigate the accident and try to locate the at-fault driver by reviewing traffic camera footage and police reports and by speaking with eyewitnesses to learn what they observed.
If our team is able to locate the at-fault driver, we could file a claim with their insurance company on behalf of an injured claimant. One of our Austin hit-and-run collision attorneys could also help an injured person file a civil lawsuit against that at-fault driver to receive fair compensation for all their losses.
It is critical to begin working with an attorney sooner rather than later because all civil claims must be filed within two years. Additionally, eyewitnesses’ memories could fade, and evidence could be lost over time, making it even more crucial to enlist legal help as soon as possible after a hit and run accident.
If the At-Fault Driver Cannot be Found
Even if the at-fault driver cannot be found, an Austin attorney could help an injured claimant file a claim with their own insurance company under their underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. Typically, underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage pays for damages when an at-fault driver does not have insurance or adequate coverage to cover all the accident-related damages.
When the at-fault driver cannot be located, a claimant’s insurance company would classify them as an uninsured driver, which would allow a claimant to recover compensation under their own insurance policy. Underinsured and insured motorist policies are optional, meaning individuals injured in hit-and-run accidents should let an experienced attorney review their insurance policy to see if they have this coverage.
Recoverable Damages in Hit and Run Cases
Financial compensation for injuries can be vast in hit and run situations, and typical damages aim to provide reimbursement for setbacks like:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages or reduced earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Rehabilitation expenses
It is important to note that uninsured motorist policies can make collecting damages in hit and run situations unique. For instance, a claimant could implement both their own insurance coverage and uninsured driver policies from a fleeing motorist to maximize the payments they collect. While unfortunate, these accidents could result in substantial compensation for a wounded plaintiff. A diligent lawyer in Austin could help someone in a hit and run case determine the extent of reimbursement that they need.
Contact an Austin Attorney after a Hit and Run Car Accident
Car crashes can affect survivors for many years. A skilled attorney could help you evaluate your legal options and proceed with the best choice for your individual circumstances. Reach out to an Austin attorney as soon after a hit and run car accident as possible.