Beaumont Personal Injury Attorney for Texas Hit and Run Accident Victims
Texas law requires drivers to stop and render aid after an accident. Failing to do so is known as a hit and run. Hit and run accidents are dangerous. After an accident, injured victims need medical attention as soon as possible, and every added second without assistance is critical. When someone flees the scene of a crash instead of calling 911, they are drastically increasing the chance that a car accident injury becomes severe, permanent, or fatal.
If you or someone you care about has been hurt in a Texas hit and run crash, it’s important to get a seasoned auto accident lawyer on your side as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to track down the perpetrator of your accident. If you are unable to find the driver, you’ll need help maximizing your recovery from your insurance company and other parties. Beaumont personal injury lawyer Gilbert Adams has years of experience helping Texans recover compensation for the harm they have suffered in Texas car crashes, regardless of the circumstances.
Texas Hit and Run Laws
Texas, like other states, requires drivers involved in an accident to stop and perform certain actions before leaving the scene. Failing to do so–fleeing the scene without stopping–is not only grounds for additional civil liability; it’s a crime.
The Texas hit and run law applies after accidents involving:
- Personal injury or death
- Damage to a vehicle
- Damage to an unattended vehicle
- Damage to a fixture or highway structure
Drivers are required to stop at the scene, provide contact and insurance information to other parties involved (if the owner of a vehicle cannot be located, the driver should leave a note), and, if anyone was injured in the accident, provide reasonable assistance. Reasonable assistance includes arranging transport for medical assistance (typically, calling 911).
Fleeing a scene without stopping is a criminal act. If the accident involved only property damage, it’s a misdemeanor. If anyone was injured, fleeing the scene is a felony. The more serious the injury, the more serious the felony. Victims of a hit-and-run accident may be able to claim additional damages caused by delays in securing medical treatment, as well as punitive damages.
Damages Available After a Hit and Run Accident
If you’ve been hurt in a hit-and-run accident, you could be entitled to significant damages. After any car crash, you can collect both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include things like:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
Noneconomic damages include intangible harms that are harder to quantify, but no less real, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of life enjoyment
With help from a savvy hit-and-run accident lawyer, you can amplify the available damages by pointing to the additional harm caused by the defendant’s failure to stop and render aid. Failing to call 911 as soon as possible delays medical treatment, which can be catastrophic after a serious car crash. You deserve additional compensation for that added harm.
Finally, you might be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for bad behavior rather than compensate the victim. You can seek up to double the amount of economic damages or $200,000, whichever is greater, as well as the greater of either the same amount of non-economic damages or $750,000. For example, if you claimed $300,000 in medical bills and were awarded $1,000,000 in pain and suffering damages ($1.3 million in total compensatory damages), you would be able to claim up to $1.6 million in punitive damages on top of your compensatory damages. Punitive damages are available where a defendant acted with gross negligence or malice, which might include fleeing the scene.
Get the Help You Need after a Texas Hit and Run Car Accident
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a hit and run car accident in Texas, contact the Gilbert Adams Law Offices in Beaumont at 409-835-3000 for a free consultation with a dedicated and effective Texas car accident attorney.