Most people don’t think about hit-and-run accidents until one happens to them or they see one occur. It is a jarring experience that can leave anyone feeling confused, aggravated, and unsure of what to do next. While our team at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. hopes a hit and run never happens to you, we know that it is always a possibility. That’s why we put together a list of steps detailing what to do and how to report a hit-and-run accident in Amarillo, Texas should it ever happen to you.
Why Would Someone Flee the Scene of an Accident?
Estimates show that 14% of drivers in Texas are uninsured. As a responsible driver in Amarillo, you have at least the state minimum amount of auto insurance—but if you get hit by someone who flees the scene, there’s a good chance they’re uninsured. Another reason they may flee is if there’s a warrant out for their arrest and they want to avoid a run-in with the police. Others may flee because they are intoxicated, don’t have a valid driver’s license, or are driving a stolen vehicle.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Hit and Run Accident
As with any accident, hit and runs can leave one or more individuals injured. Even if the liable driver seems to be getting away, take these steps immediately following the accident to ensure that you get some compensation to help cover medical expenses and damages:
Assess the Situation and Get a Description, if Possible:
Getting a description of the fleeing vehicle and driver is important, but you and your passengers are more so. If you or one of your passengers were severely injured in an accident, call emergency services right away.
If no one is seriously hurt, try to get a description of the fleeing vehicle. Anything will be useful: the license plate number of the car, the make and model, the color of the vehicle, or the driver’s defining features if you can see them.
Take a photo of the vehicle if you can. If you’re not able to take a photo, write down everything you saw about the vehicle immediately. Sometimes the adrenaline or fear after an accident can cause you to forget vital pieces of information, so writing down everything you can is the best way to preserve the information.
If your vehicle was struck in a parking lot with no one in it, find out if there are any witnesses or surveillance cameras around. If possible, obtain the footage or get detailed information from witnesses and write down their contact information.
Call the Police and Stay On-Scene
Next, call the Amarillo police department in order to file a car accident report. As tempting as it may be to chase after the fleeing driver, it’s always best to stay put. Chasing the other driver can be dangerous, especially since you don’t know why they are fleeing.
When the police arrive, provide them with a detailed description of everything you remember. If there were any witnesses to the accident, ask them to stick around until the police arrive or leave their contact information so that they can provide a statement as well.
The police will use this information to track down the person responsible for the hit-and-run accident.
Consult an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If the police do apprehend the person who hit you, you can seek legal action against them. They will get felony charges for fleeing the accident scene, and you can file a civil suit against them to help cover any medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other costs related to your accident that were not covered by your insurance.
If you decide to go this route, consult an Amarillo car accident attorney who has experience with hit-and-run cases. An attorney will be able to walk you through the legal process, making sure you’re well represented along the way. Your attorney will also be able to determine how strong a case you have and answer any questions that may arise throughout the legal process.
The team at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. has years of experience working with hit-and-run accident victims in Amarillo, TX. Juan Hernandez himself is also part of the 2% of attorneys who are board-certified in personal injury law, so you can rest assured that you’re in good hands. Contact us today for more information on our services or to schedule a consultation!