A motor vehicle accident is jarring, even if you aren’t seriously injured. The experience is all the more traumatic if the person who hit you leaves the scene without even checking to make sure you’re okay or calling for help.
Unfortunately, the added stress of a hit and run accident doesn’t end there. Normally, when you’ve been the victim of a car crash that was someone else’s fault, the responsible driver is liable for your damages. In most cases, the responsible driver’s insurance carrier processes the claim and either negotiates a settlement or fights the claim in court.
When the collision is a hit and run, the negligent driver is still responsible for damages. But, if you don’t know who that driver is, you can’t pursue a claim against them.
These dos and don’ts will help you protect your rights and explore possible sources of compensation.
After a Hit and Run Accident Dos
Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do after a hit-and-run accident.
DO call the police
Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in personal injury, death, or significant property damage is a crime in Texas. So, you have a crime to report. In addition, Texas drivers are obligated to immediately report an accident causing injury or death or damaging a vehicle to the point that it cannot be operated safely.
Give the police as much information as you can about the other car and driver. Identifying the hit and run driver may be your best opportunity for receiving full compensation for your damages.
DO look for witnesses, if you’re able
Traffic crashes happen fast, and adrenaline kicks in, so you may not recall details like the make of the car or a license plate number. But, others who witnessed the accident may have more information. If you’re able to do so safely, talk with witnesses and collect any information they have, along with contact details.
DO seek medical attention promptly
Neglecting treatment after an accident can put both your health and your case at risk. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and get assessed by a medical professional.
DO review your own insurance policy
Depending on your automobile insurance policy, you may have benefits that pay your medical expenses, repair your vehicle, and cover other costs. Your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage may even cover other damages, if the hit and run driver isn’t identified. Make sure you understand your coverage and make the appropriate claims with your own insurer. The deadline for reporting your accident and filing some claims may be much shorter than the statute of limitations on filing a claim against the other driver.
Be aware that when the claim is sizable, your insurance company may be less interested in good customer service than in saving money. Although they’re theoretically on your side, you may have to fight to get the compensation you deserve.
After a Hit and Run Accident Don’ts
DON’T make assumptions about injuries and damage
You may not be able to accurately assess the damage to your vehicle at the scene, and you won’t know whether or how seriously the other driver may have been injured or their vehicle damaged. When in doubt, call the police.
You’ll want the police report later, if you pursue compensation for your injuries or insurance benefits to cover medical expenses or repair your vehicle.
DON’T assume all is lost
Being the victim of a hit and run can leave you feeling helpless. But, some hit and run drivers are identified. Some later come forward on their own. And, even if the driver is never identified, other sources of compensation may be available. Gather information and document as you would after any other accident.
DON’T run to social media to tell your story.
A hit and run accident is traumatic, and it makes a great story. The temptation may be strong to tell the story to everyone you know, and to share it on Facebook and in other social networks. But, your words can come back to haunt you when it’s time to pursue a claim.
Talk to a Texas Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer
It can be difficult to know what to do first or where to turn for compensation and assistance after any car accident. In the wake of a hit and run accident, your options may be even less clear. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out alone. An experienced Texas car accident attorney can help identify possible sources of compensation, including other parties who may share responsibility, benefits available under your own insurance policy,
A free consultation with a local attorney who is experienced in handling motor vehicle accident claims, including hit and run cases, can be your best resource. At The Law Offices of George Salinas, we know how stressful and confusing the aftermath of an automobile crash can be and want to make sure you have the information you need to protect yourself and pursue fair compensation. You can schedule a free consultation right now by calling 210-225-0909, filling out our contact form.
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