What to Do in a Hit and Run Car Accident in Dallas?

hit and run accident victim

Hit and Run Accidents Lawyer in Dallas

Texas drivers (DPS) involved in an accident are expected to stop at the scene and fulfill specific legal requirements. Not all motorists comply with the law, however, and some will leave the scene of the crash due to lack of insurance, fear of being cited or arrested, or other reasons.

Given the population of Dallas County, hit-and-run accidents occur frequently. When you have an auto accident in Dallas, Call Kraft & Associates, P.C., to fully understand the best course of action for you and your family.

What happens if I Leave the Scene of My Car Accident?

If someone hit you and fled the scene in Dallas, be sure to contact the police immediately and contact a knowledgeable injury attorney. Texas law forbids motorists from leaving the scene of a car crash. Those who flout the law can face criminal charges. While the state may pursue a criminal case against a hit-and-run driver, the accident victims may need to pursue a separate civil lawsuit seeking monetary damages if the accident caused serious injuries.

Kraft & Associates P.C. has a 45-year track record of fighting for justice for car accident clients and their families. We have the resources and experience to assist you if a hit-and-run driver has turned your life upside down.

Our car accident lawyers will be ready to discuss your hit-and-run injury case when you call our office or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

What is Considered a Hit-and-Run Accident in Texas?

Under Texas Transportation Code §550.023, a driver involved in an accident causing injury or death of a person or vehicle damage must comply with the following:

  • Give their name and address, the registration number of their vehicle, and the name of their insurance company to any person injured or the operator or occupant of a vehicle involved in the collision
  • Show their driver’s license if requested
  • Provide reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident, including making arrangements to get them medical assistance

What Should I Do if I Have a Car Wreck in Dallas?

Under Dallas Transportation & Accidents Laws, a driver involved in an accident that results or is reasonably likely to result in injury to or death of a person must pull over at the scene of the accident, determine whether anyone involved in the accident requires help, and remain at the scene of the accident.

Failure to comply with these requirements constitutes a hit–and–run offense and may lead to criminal charges for leaving the scene of an accident. The hit-and-run charge may be a Class C misdemeanor or a Class B misdemeanor in property damage cases, depending on whether damage exceeded $200.

A hit-and-run is considered a third-degree felony when a crash results in serious bodily injury and a second-degree felony when a hit–and–run crash causes death. Offenders can face fines and jail time.

What Should You Do After a Hit-and-Run Crash in Dallas?

Every driver involved in a crash must immediately stop or return to the scene of the accident and determine whether anyone involved requires emergency medical care. They are expected to stay at the scene and give their name, address, registration, driver’s license number, and insurance information to others involved in the collision.

If the other driver in your accident does not stay at the scene, you should:hit and run accident victim in side mirror

  • Call 911. You should contact law enforcement right away to report your accident. Officers will usually respond by immediately searching the area for the other driver.
  • Take photos. You should try to collect as much information as possible from the scene of your crash. Use your cell phone to take multiple pictures, including a photo of the other car, if possible, before it leaves. Photograph your car as well and get shots of the surrounding area such as road signs, lane markings, debris, and skid or tire marks.
  • Get witness information. If anybody saw your crash, make sure to get their names and phone numbers. These people can be valuable witnesses later on. They may also be able to provide information that helps to locate the other driver.
  • Get medical attention. Any time that you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should always seek medical attention. You should go to a hospital even if you do not think that you were hurt. A doctor can check you for injuries and start treatment. Timely documentation of your injuries will also be important as you move forward with filing a hit-and-run accident claim.
  • Notify your insurance company. You should report your accident to your own insurance company. If the other driver is apprehended, and the driver’s insurance company contacts you, you should not talk with the insurer unless you have legal representation. In fact, you can simply refer the insurer to your attorney.

Can You Recover Compensation After a Dallas Hit-and-Run Crash?

Like many people who are involved in hit-and-run accidents, you may be understandably concerned that the other driver will not be caught, and you will have no way to recover damages for your injuries. However, even if the driver is not caught, you may have options available to you.

  • Filing a claim against the other driver. The driver typically will face criminal charges for fleeing the scene. The driver may also be ticketed or charged for underlying behavior that caused the crash such as speeding, reckless driving, or driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If the driver is caught, you can file a claim with that driver’s auto insurance company. If the driver fled the scene because the driver was uninsured, then you can sue the driver. However, the driver will likely lack the personal wealth or resources necessary to pay any judgment.
  • Filing a claim with your own insurer. Under Texas law, auto insurance companies must offer you uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. You should have this coverage unless you rejected it in writing. If the other driver in your case is not apprehended, and you have UM/UIM, you can file a claim with your own insurance company. You can also file a claim if the other driver is caught, and you discover that the driver was uninsured or had insurance that fails to fully cover your losses.UM/UIM can cover – up to your policy limits – your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and permanent or partial disability in a hit-and-run accident. It can also cover any family members, someone driving your car with your permission, and passengers in your car if they are injured in the crash. Although you would need to pay a $250 deductible for a property damage claim, you would not have to pay a deductible for a bodily injury claim. Keep in mind: All insurance companies are in business to make money. So, even your own insurer may look for ways to deny your claim or pay you as little as possible. This is why you need to have an aggressive advocate on your side who will protect your rights.

Can Hit-and-Run Accidents Be Dismissed?

A hit–and–run accident will often be handled in two separate legal proceedings. Once apprehended, a state prosecutor will oversee a criminal case against the driver for a hit-and-run charge in Dallas.

As a hit-and-run accident victim with significant injuries, you may need to file a separate civil lawsuit against the driver who fled the scene if he or she has been apprehended. A civil action will seek to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repairs and replacement, and other damages, regardless of the outcome in criminal court.

An experienced hit-and-run accident lawyer in Dallas can help you pursue a civil lawsuit against the person who left the scene.

A driver who avoids a charge or a criminal convicted for leaving the scene of an accident may do so because a prosecutor was not able to satisfactorily prove their guilt and/or may plead guilty to a lesser charge to avoid a stiffer penalty. A hit-and-run charge can also be dismissed without a finding because of the lack of solid evidence or, again, based on a plea bargain.

A criminal conviction can be a boost to a civil case. But even if the hit-and-run driver is not found guilty in criminal court, the driver could still be held liable through civil action.

An accident victim may still have a valid civil lawsuit, even if a hit-and-run charge is dismissed. Civil lawsuits only need to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, a lower standard of proof than the standard applied to criminal cases.

Based on the lesser standard used in civil court, a judge or jury only has to believe that a defendant more than likely committed the offense as opposed to believing that it is the only logical conclusion.

Is a Hit-and-Run Accident Considered a Misdemeanor in Dallas?

A hit–and–run accident can result in a misdemeanor charge against the driver who fled in cases resulting only in property damage, including a hit-and-run on an unoccupied vehicle. Property damage of less than $200 is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $5000. Property damage exceeding $200 is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail.

Under § 550.021 of the Transportation Code, leaving the scene of an accident that results in the death of another person is a second-degree felony in Texas punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 20 years in prison. A hit-and-run accident that causes serious bodily injury is a third-degree felony punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison.

A driver could avoid a possible third-degree felony charge by arguing that an injury did not constitute a serious bodily injury. Leaving the scene is nonetheless a criminal offense.

The Transportation laws in Texas provide that any hit-and-run accident involving a minor injury is still punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

How Can a Lawyer Help You After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Dallas?

When you hire an attorney after a hit-and-run accident, the attorney can conduct an independent investigation of your crash. The attorney can determine the cause of your accident and collect evidence. Additionally, the attorney can assist police or independently take measures to locate the driver who caused your accident.

If the driver is located, your lawyer will be able to assist you in dealing with that driver’s insurance company. If that driver is uninsured, the attorney will be able to assist you with your other options such as filing a claim with your own insurance company. A lawyer can negotiate with any insurance company, whether it is the other driver’s or your own, and pursue a full and fair settlement of your claim. If necessary, your lawyer should be ready to take your case to trial.

Call Kraft & Associates, P.C., for Help After Hit-and-Run Accident

Did you sustain severe injuries, or was your loved one harmed or killed in a hit–and–run accident in Dallas? Let the dedicated attorneys at Kraft & Associates, P.C., help you hold those responsible for your hit-and-run accident accountable.

You should not have to pay medical bills because another driver was irresponsible and then fled the scene of the accident. Our legal team will do everything legally possible to help you get full compensation for your injuries and related losses and a measure of justice.

What to do Right After Hit & Run Accident?

You should always consult a personal injury lawyer before signing anything presented by the insurance company or accepting any offer.

Injured from Hit and Run Car Accident in Dallas?

The attorneys at Kraft & Associates, P.C., are committed to protecting your rights and helping you obtain full compensation after a hit-and-run accident.

Call (214) 999-9999 today or contact us online to arrange for a free consultation to discuss your hit-and-run case with a knowledgeable member of our team.

There are no upfront legal fees; you only pay us if we recover compensation for you.