Hit and run accidents can be devastating, leaving victims injured and confused about their legal rights. In Houston, these accidents are unfortunately all too common. If you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident, it’s crucial to understand the steps to take and the importance of seeking legal representation. A skilled Houston hit and run accident lawyer can guide you through the complexities of your case and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
A hit and run accident occurs when a driver involved in a collision intentionally leaves the scene without stopping to exchange information or offer assistance. This can involve hitting a pedestrian, another vehicle, or property.
Hit and run accidents can take different forms, including:
- Pedestrian hit and run: When a driver strikes a pedestrian and flees the scene.
- Car accident hit and run: When a driver collides with another vehicle and fails to stop.
- Property damage hit and run: When a driver damages someone’s property and leaves without taking responsibility.
In Houston, Texas, drivers are legally required to stay at the scene of an accident. Unfortunately, hit and run accidents can present challenges for victims seeking financial compensation for their injuries or property damage, as the responsible party has already fled the scene. The reasons for leaving the scene can vary, including lack of insurance, absence of a driver’s license, or an outstanding arrest warrant.
Causes of Hit and Run Accidents in Houston
Hit and run accidents in Houston can stem from various factors, such as:
- Drunk driving: Impaired drivers may flee the scene to avoid legal consequences.
- Uninsured drivers: Individuals without insurance may choose to run to avoid financial liability.
- Fear of repercussions: Drivers with outstanding warrants or without a valid driver’s license may flee to avoid legal trouble.
- Lack of awareness: In some cases, drivers may not immediately realize they’ve been involved in an accident and unintentionally leave the scene.
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident in Houston, it is crucial to seek legal representation from a skilled Houston hit and run accident lawyer. A hit and run accident occurs when a driver leaves the scene of an accident without stopping to exchange information or provide aid to the injured party.
What To Do If You Have Been Involved in a Hit and Run Accident Collision?
If you find yourself as the victim of a hit-and-run accident, it’s essential to take the following steps:
- Ensure Safety: Prioritize your safety and the safety of others involved. Do not attempt to follow or confront the fleeing driver, as they may pose a danger.
- Contact Authorities: Dial 911 or local law enforcement to report the hit-and-run incident. Provide as many details as possible, including any recollection of the vehicle involved, such as the license plate number.
- Gather Information: Speak to any witnesses at the scene and collect their contact information, including their full name, address, and phone number. This information can be valuable for investigations and insurance claims.
- Document the Accident: Take photographs of your vehicle and the accident scene, capturing any visible damage. These photos can serve as evidence when pursuing a claim or lawsuit.
- Seek Legal Advice: Consult with a hit and run accident lawyer as soon as possible. In Texas, you typically have two years from the date of the accident to take legal action if the driver is identified. Acting promptly ensures important evidence is preserved and witness memories are fresh.
Remember to take immediate action after an incident, including contacting the authorities, gathering information, and seeking legal advice. By working with a dedicated Houston hit and run accident lawyer, you can maximize your chances of receiving the compensation you need to recover and move forward.
Why are Hit and Run accidents a Cause of Concern for Accident Victims in Houston?
Hit-and-run accidents are a cause of concern for the victims due to several reasons.
- Unable to Get Timely Medical Help: When a hit-and-run occurs, the driver who caused the accident flees the scene without providing aid or sufficient information to the victims. This lack of immediate medical attention can significantly impact the severity of the victims’ injuries and potentially increase their suffering. The delay in receiving medical assistance can have long-lasting consequences for the victims’ physical and emotional well-being.
- Proving Fault: Hit-and-run accidents create social and economic burdens for the victims. Victims may face difficulties in seeking compensation for their medical expenses, property damage, and other losses because the responsible driver cannot be held accountable if they remain unidentified or at large. This lack of justice and financial support adds to the frustration and distress experienced by the victims.
- Authorities Face Difficulty in Resolving Hit and Run Accidents: Another concern is the limited resources and additional burden placed on law enforcement agencies tasked with investigating hit-and-run cases. Solving hit-and-run accidents can be challenging, especially when there are no witnesses or substantial evidence. The low rate of solving these cases and holding the responsible drivers accountable can erode trust in the justice system and leave victims and their families without closure.
The prevalence of hit-and-run accidents is also a growing issue. Statistics indicate that both the rates of hit-and-run crashes and fatalities have been increasing. In 2016 alone, there were approximately 737,100 hit-and-run crashes and 2,049 fatalities in the United States . This upward trend raises concerns about the overall safety of roadways and emphasizes the need for effective measures to prevent hit-and-run incidents.
The victims of hit-and-run accidents, particularly pedestrians and cyclists, bear the brunt of the consequences. In recent years, hit-and-run deaths involving pedestrians and cyclists have been on the rise. This leaves vulnerable road users at a heightened risk and contributes to the overall traffic safety crisis.
Why Hire a Houston Hit and Run Accident Lawyer
In hit and run accident cases, collecting evidence is crucial for identifying the responsible party. Your Houston hit and run accident lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation, which may involve:
- Examining the accident scene for physical evidence and tire marks.
- Interviewing witnesses to gather statements and contact information.
- Reviewing surveillance footage from nearby businesses or traffic cameras.
- Working with accident reconstruction experts to piece together what happened.
Law enforcement plays a vital role in hit and run accident investigations. They can help identify the driver responsible for the accident by:
- Conducting their own investigation and collecting evidence.
- Issuing alerts and reaching out to the public for information.
- Coordinating with other agencies to locate the vehicle involved.
In some cases, private investigators may also assist in locating the at-fault driver, especially when law enforcement resources are limited.
Hit and run accident cases can be complex, requiring extensive investigation and legal expertise. When you hire a Houston hit and run accident lawyer, you benefit from their experience in handling similar cases. They understand the intricacies of the law, the importance of preserving evidence, and the tactics insurance companies may employ to minimize your claim.
How To Get Compensation From Uninsured Motorist (UM) or Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage in Hit and Run Accident in Houston
Compensation from uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage can be available to victims of hit-and-run accidents, depending on the specific insurance policy and state regulations. UM/UIM coverage is designed to provide protection when the at-fault driver either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have sufficient coverage to compensate for the damages and injuries caused.
Here’s how it typically works:
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) Coverage: If you’re injured in a hit-and-run accident or involved in a collision with an uninsured driver, UMBI coverage can help pay for medical expenses, including those of your passengers. This coverage is meant to compensate for bodily injuries resulting from the accident.
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) Coverage: UMPD coverage can assist in covering the cost of repairs to your vehicle when it’s damaged by an uninsured driver. However, it’s important to note that in some states, UMPD coverage may not cover hit-and-run incidents. In such cases, collision coverage may be necessary to claim damages from a hit-and-run driver .
- Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIMBI) Coverage: UIMBI coverage comes into play when the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits are insufficient to cover your injuries and related expenses. If you’re hit by an underinsured driver, UIMBI coverage can help bridge the gap between the at-fault driver’s coverage and the actual costs incurred.
- Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UIMPD) Coverage: Similar to UIMBI, UIMPD coverage provides protection when the at-fault driver’s insurance limits are insufficient to cover the damages to your vehicle. It helps cover the remaining expenses beyond what the underinsured driver’s coverage can pay for .
In the case of a hit-and-run accident, where the responsible driver cannot be identified, uninsured motorist coverage can be used to seek compensation for the damages and injuries sustained. However, it’s important to review the specific terms and conditions of your insurance policy, as coverage options and requirements can vary by state and insurance provider. Consulting with an insurance agent or representative can help you understand the extent of your coverage and how to navigate the claims process effectively.
Our Houston Hit and Run Accident Lawyer Can Help in Proving Liability
An experienced Houston hit and run accident lawyer offers numerous benefits, including:
- Legal guidance: They will explain your rights and help you understand the legal process.
- Thorough investigation: They will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and work with experts to reconstruct the accident.
- Negotiation skills: They will negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation.
- Court representation: If your case goes to trial, they will advocate for your rights in court.
If you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident in Houston, it’s crucial to seek legal advice promptly. Contact a skilled hit and run accident lawyer who can evaluate your case, explain your rights, and guide you through the legal process. Time is of the essence, so don’t delay in seeking the help you need to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.
A skilled Houston hit and run accident lawyer at Joel A Gordon and Assocaites will navigate the complexities of the legal process, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for your rights. By taking prompt action and seeking legal representation, you increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries and losses.