Hit and run accidents occur when an individual involved in an accident leaves the scene without exchanging information with the person they hit or contacting the police. Even if you hit an inanimate object like a lamppost or a guardrail, you should call the police to advise them of what occurred. Most of the time, these are not considered serious offenses. However, if there is considerable property or bodily damage, they can be charged as felonies.
If you leave the scene of a hit and run accident, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony if a person or animal was injured or if property was damaged. This applies even if you didn’t cause the accident. The type of charge depends on the circumstances, on whether a person or animal was seriously injured, and on whether previous similar convictions exist. If you leave the scene of an accident and an injured person dies, you may be charged with vehicular homicide or manslaughter. If you leave the scene of an accident and an injured animal dies, you may be charged with animal abuse.
Some of the related factors in hit and run accidents are:
- Alcohol or drug use by the driver
- Cell phones
- Drivers with suspended or expired licenses
- Driving too fast for conditions
- High traffic volume on roadways
- Lack of respect and personal responsibility
- Unlicensed drivers
The punishment for leaving the scene of an injury accident can include large fines, jail or prison time, and suspension of your driver’s license. Punishment for leaving the scene of an accident that damages only property can include a fine or jail time, even if you didn’t cause the accident. In certain cases, the State of Texas may also take away your car.
If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, do not try to follow the negligent driver. The driver may be dangerous and should not be confronted. Here are some other helpful tips if you have been the victim of a hit and run:
- Call 911 right away and describe the event to the police.
- Try to remember as many details as possible about the other vehicle and driver, including the license plate number.
- Contact an experienced and aggressive hit and run accident lawyer.
- Gather contact information from any witnesses, including names, phone numbers, and addresses.
- Try to protect any evidence from the accident site.
- If you have a camera, take pictures of the accident scene.
It is every person’s duty to exercise reasonable care when driving. Should a driver collide or even come into contact with any person or property, public policy mandates that the driver stop as soon as reasonably possible to render assistance or disclose required information.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run accident, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of wages, vehicle repair, and other relevant costs associated with the accident.
To schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with our experienced Texas hit and run accident attorney, call the Plano office of Joel M. Vecchio, P.C. today at 972-380-4444, or contact us online. If you are unable to come to Joel’s office, he will visit you, and pre-settlement funding is available. We only charge contingency fees, and our phones are answered 24/7. Se habla español.