A hit-and-run accident is an especially devastating type of collision due to the delay in emergency aid to a victim. When a driver commits a hit-and-run, he or she does not stop to call the police. This can increase the possibility of serious and fatal injuries by the time the police arrive. If you get in a hit-and-run accident in San Antonio, take the following steps to protect your rights as much as possible.
Call the Police
Always call the police from the scene of a hit-and-run accident. Even if the accident did not cause injuries or more than $1,000 in property damage, you must call the police to report the crime. In Texas, fleeing the scene of a car accident without stopping is against the law. This crime can result in a criminal conviction, fines and jail time for the offender.
One of the most important reasons to call 911 from the scene, however, is for professional assistance identifying the at-fault driver. To recover compensation from someone else’s insurance provider, you will need to identify the liable party. The police can launch a full investigation into your hit-and-run accident to try to identify the defendant.
Be sure to give the police officer a detailed summary of what you remember while the memory is still fresh in your mind. The police can take official photographs of the crash scene and visit surrounding businesses to request video surveillance footage on your behalf. Write down your police report number before leaving the scene.
Speak to Eyewitnesses
If you can, obtain the names and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the car accident. Eyewitnesses may have seen critical details that can help the police catch the culprit, such as the make, model or color of the vehicle that struck you. If anyone saw a partial or full license plate number, this can be especially helpful in tracking down the hit-and-run driver. If your injuries are too serious to stay and speak to eyewitnesses yourself, the police can do so for you.
Get Medical Attention
Do not delay in getting medical care for your injuries. Prompt medical care can be critical for a full physical recovery after a serious car accident. Going to a hospital immediately can also demonstrate to an insurance company that you did your best to mitigate your injuries. It can also establish proof that your injuries occurred from an auto accident, as you are claiming they did. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and keep copies of all relevant medical records and bills.
File a Car Accident Claim With Your Own Insurer
Under Texas’s fault insurance law, the driver who caused your car accident should lawfully pay for your injuries and losses. Unfortunately, after a hit-and-run accident, you may not know the identity of the at-fault driver. If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance through your own provider, this will cover your losses instead.
Your own auto insurance provider will pay for a hit-and-run accident with uninsured motorist insurance as if the at-fault driver had remained at the scene of the crash but did not have car insurance. If you do not have this type of insurance (it is an optional, not required, type of insurance in Texas), you will need collision or comprehensive insurance to obtain the necessary coverage.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney in San Antonio
If you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run car accident, do not assume you have no legal options for financial recovery. Your own insurance provider may cover the costs of the collision for you. You may also be able to hold a third party at least partially responsible, depending on the circumstances of your crash. Consult with a car accident attorney in San Antonio for legal assistance with this complicated type of claim. An attorney can review your legal options with you in detail.