Call today (936) 295-3712


Were You Injured in A Hit and Run Accident in Texas?

When behind the wheel in the Lone Star State, motorists have a few duties to fulfill: Take precautions, treat people on the road with respect, maintain vehicle insurance and identify yourself any time you’re involved in an accident, even if the accident was a mistake. That last duty may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many people leave the scene of an accident (regardless of whether they are at fault or not).

According to research, there were more than 2,500 fatalities recorded as a result of hit-and-run accidents during the year 2020. During the same year, over 60% of fatalities involving pedestrians also involved a hit-and-run collision. It’s also worth noting that drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 accounted for roughly seven percent of all hit-and-run fatalities.

If you live in Texas and were injured in a hit-and-run accident, it’s crucial to follow a strict set of steps. You should know that the at-fault driver faces a felony conviction and liability when leaving the scene of an accident in which someone gets injured or dies.

One in eight drivers in 2019 did not have insurance, according to research conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) in 2021. Because of this, getting into an accident with an uninsured motorist is more likely than many people initially believe. And when a person has no insurance, there is a greater temptation for them to leave the scene of an accident.

To help you in your recovery, we’ve conducted extensive research and put together this helpful hit-and-run accident guide. We hope you find it helpful. You can also use this guide to help you avoid trouble with the law in the event you are at fault for injuring or killing someone in a car accident.

What Is a Hit and Run Accident?

According to Texas law, an accident is normally considered a hit and run when one or more drivers choose to leave the scene without contacting the police. It’s also considered a hit-and-run in Texas if an involved driver refuses to identify himself or herself to you or a police officer or fails to call for medical assistance in the event you or someone else gets injured.

When you’re involved in an accident, even if you aren’t at fault, never leave the scene until you have given your contact information to the appropriate parties. You and the other involved driver or party must exchange information even if you decide not to call the police. If you don’t exchange information, you can face a criminal charge, even if no one sustained an injury. When exchanging information, make sure to include and collect the following:

  • Names of all involved drivers
  • Addresses of all involved drivers
  • Vehicle registration numbers
  • Names of insurance carriers
  • Driver’s license number from all involved drivers

Hit-and-run accidents don’t always have to involve another person. A person can receive charges for a hit-and-run accident if they leave the scene of an accident that involves damage to property, such as a house or parked car. No matter the cause of the accident, drivers must present their identities to you or the police.

When the accident involves hitting an unattended parked vehicle, the at-fault party doesn’t have to contact police but must leave his or her contact and insurance information on a note for the vehicle owner. If you hit an unattended parked car, make sure to leave your contact information in a visible space near or on the car where the owner of the vehicle is sure to see it.

Steps to Take After a Hit and Run Injury In Texas

The first step you should take after any car accident in Texas is to make sure you and everyone else are okay. When any type of injury is present, it’s vital to contact 911 immediately and request medical assistance.

Check for Injuries

The shock and adrenaline that you experience during and after a car accident can make it difficult to pinpoint injuries. You may not feel any pain at all, yet you have severe injuries taking place. This is why you should do a full body scan of yourself and any other involved parties (if they give you consent) to see if you notice any visible injuries.

Move Vehicles to a Safe Place

In addition to making sure everyone is okay, you should also make sure everyone is safe. You can do this by moving your vehicle to a nearby location where it’s out of the way of traffic. If you can’t do this due to an injury, simply leave your vehicle in the same spot and wait for medical assistance to arrive. Never attempt to move your body or vehicle if you believe you have broken bones or internal injuries.

Contact the Police

Usually, 911 will contact the police for you if you contact them first. However, if you haven’t contacted 911 yet, go ahead and call the police. The sooner you contact the police, the higher the likelihood of finding the hit-and-run driver.

You want the police to arrive at the scene of the accident as quickly as possible to ensure they can investigate what occurred, interview witnesses and collect evidence. If you happen to leave the scene by ambulance before the police arrive, there’s no need to worry. The police will visit you at the hospital to gather information regarding the accident. It’s at this time that you can give them information about the hit-and-run driver and his or her vehicle. The more information you can provide, the more likely it is that the police can catch the driver.

Talking with the police is essential to the police report that gets filed for the accident. If your injury is severe and requires surgery, you may not speak with the police for a few days. However, a police report can still get filed to ensure the hit-and-run driver faces charges once he or she gets caught. You’ll also need a police report for insurance purposes and any civil suit that you may choose to bring against the hit-and-run driver at a later time.

Jot Down All Details You Can Remember

Once you’ve made contact with the police, whether it’s at the scene of the accident or the hospital, jot down any and all details you can remember regarding the car wreck. The most helpful details you can jot down include the make, model and color of the hit-and-run driver’s vehicle. If you happen to know the license number, you should jot it down as well.

Other important pieces of information to write down include any property damage that you notice. Ideally, you’ll take pictures of the property damage if your injury isn’t so significant that it prevents you from taking photos.

You’ll want to point out any property damage to the police to ensure they include it in the report they file. Don’t fret if your injury sends you to the hospital and you’re unable to communicate the property damage with police at the scene of an accident. You can always inform them of it when you go home from the hospital and have them add it to the police report.

Contact the Insurance Company

After communicating with the police, you’ll need to contact your insurance company. You must let them know that the other driver left the scene of the accident; this allows your insurance company to decide which coverage benefits will help you most.

Hopefully, you have uninsured motorist coverage, which frequently covers damages and medical expenses caused by hit-and-run drivers. You should never admit fault for the accident to the police or your insurance company. If the insurance company asks you questions, simply inform them that you intend to hire a lawyer that they can speak with moving forward.

Contact a Lawyer

No matter how the accident took place or how severe the injury, you can file for financial damages when involved in a hit-and-run accident. Even if your injury is whiplash, you can still hold the hit-and-run driver liable.

Contacting an experienced attorney is the best move you can make to ensure you receive the most compensation possible. You can use the compensation to pay for medical and property damages not covered by your insurance. You may also receive financial compensation for any loss of wages you endured as a result of the accident.

Receiving compensation for a hit-and-run accident is a bit harder than receiving compensation from a wreck in which the at-fault party identifies himself or herself. However, with a qualified attorney, you can prepare and file a claim for any compensation owed to you.

What Are the Consequences of Hit and Run Charges in Texas?

In the state of Texas, you have up to two years to file a claim for a hit-and-run accident. By doing this, you will bring criminal charges against the hit-and-run driver. Keep in mind that waiting this long to report the accident has several drawbacks, including the inability to file an insurance claim for the accident and a lesser likelihood of a criminal conviction due to the potential disappearance of witnesses and evidence.

Most insurance companies require that you report an accident within 24 hours to receive coverage benefits. The only exception to this is if you go to the hospital for an injury related to the accident and can’t speak with your insurance company.

The level of charge that a person will receive for a hit-and-run accident in Texas depends on whether there is an injury or fatality. It is a third-degree felony in Texas when a person leaves the scene of an accident involving a serious bodily injury. The charge becomes a second-degree felony when the accident involves a fatality.

According to Texas law and Penal Code § 12.33, a person can receive up to 20 years of incarceration for a second-degree felony. When facing a third-degree felony, per Texas Penal Code § 12.34, the maximum punishment is up to 10 years of incarceration. Both felonies come with fines of up to $10,000.

If a person chooses to leave the scene of a car accident that leads to property damage but no injury, he or she may get charged with a Class B or Class C misdemeanor, according to Texas Transportation Code § 550.022. Whether or not it’s a Class C or Class B offense depends on the amount of property damage. Punishment for a Class B misdemeanor in Texas can result in up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $200.

Also important to know is that you must report any acccident that results in $1,000 or more in damage within seven days to the police. If you don’t, you could possibly face criminal charges.

The Dos and Don’ts of Hit and Run Accidents

To keep things as simple as possible, here are the dos and don’ts of hit-and-run accidents that involve injury:

The Dos

  • Immediately call 911 and request medical assistance.
  • Follow all of your healthcare provider’s suggestions.
  • Document all expenses related to the accident and keep receipts.
  • Provide police with any information you know regarding the other driver and vehicle.
  • Contact an experienced attorney to handle your compensation case.

The Don’ts

  • Give involved insurance companies any information other than the fact that you were present at the accident.
  • Provide insurance companies with details regarding your medical status and history.
  • Use social media to post anything related to the accident.
  • Try to find the hit-and-run driver on your own without police help.

Hire a Hit and Run Attorney Today!

Here at Haney Paschal & Romoser Attorneys At Law, we specialize in helping hit-and-run victims. Contact us now if you are a victim of a hit-and-run accident in Texas. We will handle the legal side of everything while you focus on recovering from your injury.