Hit and Run Accidents

Houston Hit and Run Accidents

If you’ve been hit by a driver who fled the scene, hire a hit and run accident lawyer who has experience dealing with liability claims and uninsured motorist claims.  Whether you were in a car at the time or you were a pedestrian hit by a car, we will do everything possible to get the compensation that you deserve.  Call us at 1-800-298-0111 for a free consultation with a hit and run accident attorney.

What is a Hit and Run Accident?

Fire Engine

A hit and run accident occurs anytime you are hit by a vehicle that then leaves the scene without stopping to render aid or provide the legally required insurance information.

Is Leaving the Scene of an Accident a Crime?

Texas law requires a driver who is involved in an accident to stop his vehicle and immediately render aid when injury or damage to property occurs or may have occurred. If a driver fails to stop, the driver is guilty of a crime—failing to stop and render aid.

What Are My Options if I Am a Victim of a Hit and Run?

As a victim of a hit and run, your options are to try to track down the driver, pursue an uninsured motorist claim, or both. If you have been the victim of a hit and run, you need to explore all of your options for recovering compensation for your injuries. One option is for your hit and run attorney to try to track down independent eyewitnesses using an investigator or subpoenaing video recorders from nearby stores.  The second avenue of recovery your attorney must consider is to pursue an uninsured motorist claim. You should explore both options.

Texas Laws Pertaining to Hit-and-Run Accidents

The laws pertaining to hit and run accidents in Texas are found in the Texas Penal Code. It is a crime to leave the scene of an accident without providing your identification and automobile insurance information and render aid to anyone injured. One should note that the consequences for leaving the scene when there is an injury involved are very severe and include substantial jail time in a Texas Department of Corrections correctional facility.

The applicable Texas hit and run laws are as follows:

§ 550.021. ACCIDENT INVOLVING PERSONAL INJURY OR DEATH.

(a) The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of a person shall:
(1) immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene as possible;
(2) immediately return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident; and
(3) remain at the scene of the accident until the operator complies with the requirements of Section 550.023.
(b) An operator of a vehicle required to stop the vehicle by Subsection (a) shall do so without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
(c) A person commits an offense if the person does not stop or does not comply with the requirements of this section. An offense under this section:
(1) involving an accident resulting in death or serious bodily injury, as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code, to a person is a felony of the third degree; and
(2) involving an accident resulting in injury to which Subdivision (1) does not apply is punishable by:
(A) imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for not more than five years or confinement in the county jail for not more than one year;
(B) a fine not to exceed $5,000; or
(C) both the fine and the imprisonment or confinement.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:
Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 97, § 2, eff. September 1,
2007.

§ 550.022. ACCIDENT INVOLVING DAMAGE TO VEHICLE.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), the operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by a person shall:
(1) immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close as possible to the scene of the accident without obstructing traffic more than is necessary;
(2) immediately return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident; and
(3) remain at the scene of the accident until the operator complies with the requirements of Section 550.023.
(b) If an accident occurs on the main lane, ramp, shoulder, median, or adjacent area of a freeway in a metropolitan area and each vehicle involved can be normally and safely driven, each operator shall move the operator’s vehicle as soon as possible to a designated accident investigation site, if available, a location on the frontage road, the nearest suitable cross street, or other suitable location to complete the requirements of Section 550.023 and minimize interference with freeway traffic.
(c) A person commits an offense if the person does not stop or does not comply with the requirements of Subsection (a). An offense under this subsection is:
(1) a Class C misdemeanor, if the damage to all vehicles is less than $200; or
(2) a Class B misdemeanor, if the damage to all vehicles is $200 or more.
(c-1) A person commits an offense if the person does not comply with the requirements of Subsection (b). An offense under this subsection is a Class C misdemeanor.
(d) In this section, a vehicle can be normally and safely driven only if the vehicle:
(1) does not require towing; and
(2) can be operated under its own power and in its usual manner, without additional damage or hazard to the vehicle, other traffic, or the roadway.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:
Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1066, § 1, eff. September 1,
2005.

§ 550.023. DUTY TO GIVE INFORMATION AND RENDER AID.

The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the injury or death of a person or damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by a person shall:
(1) give the operator’s name and address, the registration number of the vehicle the operator was driving, and the name of the operator’s motor vehicle liability insurer to any person injured or the operator or occupant of or person attending a vehicle involved in the collision;
(2) if requested and available, show the operator’s driver’s license to a person described by Subdivision (1); and
(3) provide any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including transporting or making arrangements for transporting the person to a physician or hospital for medical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if the injured person requests the transportation.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Pursuing Your Own Insurance

Unfortunately, in order for someone to be held responsible for an accident, you have to know who that driver is. In a hit and run, you often do not have the information you need to hold a driver accountable. If the driver is identified by law enforcement and you can prove they were the cause of the accident, then you can make a claim against him/her. If not, you may be limited to making a claim using your uninsured motorist coverage and your personal injury protection if you have purchased this type of protection from your own insurance company.

How Our Lawyers Can Help You

Hiring an attorney to help you with your case has two benefits. First, they can help you look into whether there is any way to track down the hit-and-run driver based upon any information you or witnesses may have observed.  Second, if the other driver cannot be found you must make an uninsured motorist claim against your own insurance. This does not, however, mean that your insurance company is going to look out for your interests or ensure they are paying you the full amount you could receive under the law. Instead, the insurer may make a lowball offer or try to get you to settle your claim for the least amount possible. Our attorneys will:

  • fight to get you your settlement or verdict,
  • negotiate your outstanding medical bills, subrogation claims, and hospital liens to put the most money in your pocket possible out of the settlement proceeds.

If you have been the victim of a hit and run, you deserve to be compensated so you don’t have to bear the burden of your injuries. At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., we have the experience necessary to fight for you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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