Why Do Drivers Leave an Accident Scene?
All drivers in Texas are required to stop at an accident scene involving injuries or death. The drivers must remain at the accident scene until police officers arrive and allow them to leave.
The exception would be someone who needs immediate medical services. EMS may transport those drivers to the emergency room if necessary. Police officers often contact the driver when the driver is able to provide a statement regarding the traffic accident.
A driver may leave the accident scene for numerous reasons. For instance, a driver may be intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident. The driver flees to avoid criminal charges.
Another reason a driver may flee the scene is that the driver does not have the required car insurance coverage in Texas. All drivers are required to purchase minimum amounts of liability insurance:
- $30,000 bodily injury coverage for one person
- $60,000 bodily injury coverage per incident
- $25,000 damage to property coverage
Liability insurance pays compensation to accident victims when a driver causes a car accident.
In some cases, a driver may leave a traffic accident scene because the driver is scared, has outstanding criminal warrants, or could be in the country illegally. Whatever the reason may be for fleeing the accident scene, doing so is against the law.
Who is Responsible for a Hit-and-Run Accident?
If the hit-and-run driver caused the traffic accident, the hit-and-run driver is responsible for any damages caused by the accident. However, if you cannot locate the driver, you cannot hold the driver liable for your damages.
You may recover compensation for your injuries by filing an insurance claim with your insurance company. Uninsured motorist insurance policies cover hit-and-run accidents. Your insurance company becomes liable for your damages.
However, you must prove that the hit-and-run driver caused the accident, which could be difficult if you do not have video evidence or witnesses to corroborate your version of how the accident occurred. A car accident lawyer might be able to help.
A car accident lawyer investigates the cause of the crash. The attorney searches for witnesses and video evidence. In some cases, the lawyer may retain experts to reconstruct the accident.
What Damages are Included in an Uninsured Motorist Claim?
If you can prove that the hit-and-run driver caused the accident, your insurance company should pay your claim. Damages that are often included in an uninsured motorist claim are:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Loss of income, wages, and benefits
- Personal care costs and in-home health care expenses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional and mental anguish
- Permanent impairments, disabilities, and disfigurement
Your insurance company is liable up to your policy limits. Therefore, if you purchased $30,000 in uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance company is liable for your claim up to $30,000.
However, your insurance company is like all other insurance providers. It wants to pay as little as possible for your car accident claim. Therefore, the insurance company may try to undervalue your injury claim.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that they will be treated fairly because they are working with their insurance provider. That is not always the case. Your insurance agent does not handle the claim, so you are treated just like any other person filing a car accident claim.
What Should You Do After an Accident?
Treat the insurance claim as you would any other car accident claim. Be prepared to provide evidence to prove your damages. Keep detailed records of all expenses and losses.
Do not discuss the accident with the insurance claims adjuster until after you talk to a car accident lawyer. Do not sign any documents or provide a statement until you meet with an attorney.
Accepting a settlement offer too soon could result in a much lower settlement amount.
Checking with an attorney before you agree to a settlement offer can protect your right to a fair and just settlement for your hit-and-run accident claim.