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Car Accidents

Every day, people across Texas experience motor vehicle collisions. From minor fender-benders that cause primarily cosmetic damage to fatal wrecks that total vehicles, many different kinds of crashes can impact your life, leaving you struggling to get by or even unable to work.

Most of the time, the drivers involved in these collisions will exit their vehicle if they aren’t too badly hurt, exchange insurance information and wait for law enforcement to arrive to create a police report about the crash. Unfortunately, some people will flee the scene of the accident by driving off or even exiting a destroyed vehicle and fleeing on foot. If you were in a crash caused by a hit-and-run driver, you should know your rights under Texas law.

The other driver had a legal obligation to stay at the scene

Under Texas law, a driver involved in a crash has to stop and render aid if the other person is hurt. They should also provide their identification and insurance information to the other party involved in the crash. Even if they strike an unoccupied vehicle, they should leave their information behind so that you can file the necessary insurance claim.

When a driver flees the scene of an accident, they break the law. In most cases, leaving the scene of an accident results in Class C misdemeanor charges that carry up to $500 in fines. However, in some cases the person who fled could face a Class B misdemeanor that carries up to six months in jail.

Police will try to locate the other driver after the crash

In cases that involve property damage or injury to someone, law enforcement officers will typically do all they can to locate the person who fled the scene of the crash. Many times, the impulse to flee is the result of a driver knowing that they violated state laws.

Perhaps they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or were texting or on social media at the time of the crash. Given that there would be easily identifiable evidence to prove they violated state driving statutes and thereby cause the crash, they might flee the scene in the hope of avoiding the consequences of their actions.

Thankfully, there are many ways in which law enforcement officers can identify and locate a driver who flees the scene of a crash. They may use traffic cameras to identify the make and model or even the license plate number of the other driver. Statements by you and other witnesses can also help them identify the vehicle or the person driving it.

If there is any positive aspect to getting into a crash with someone who flees the scene, it is that they will typically wind up allocated some of the responsibility for the collision, if not all of it. A crash that involves either negligence or law-breaking could give rise to a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit if someone you loved died in the collision.

Author Photo

Michael Zimmerman

Michael was born in Houston, Texas. His education at Baylor and Texas State Universities earned him a Bachelor of Science degree in 1987. His major was in Biology with a Minor in Chemistry. He finished his legal education at Texas Southern University in 1990, earning a Juris Doctorate from Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1990.

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