Hitting someone else’s vehicle and running away is against the law in Texas. Causing a motor vehicle accident and driving off without stopping to check for injuries and exchange information is the crime of hit-and-run. Unfortunately, many drivers in San Antonio commit this crime rather than take accountability for their actions. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, take the right steps toward obtaining compensation. Your case will look different than a typical car accident claim.
Collect Any Available Information
While the memory of the accident is still fresh in your mind, write down everything you know. If you witnessed the collision or a vehicle hit you as a bicyclist/pedestrian, record important facts such as where you were, when the crash occurred, how it happened, the color of the vehicle, and any other information you recall. Details such as a description of the at-fault driver’s vehicle or license plate numbers can be particularly important.
Call the Police
Always call 911 after a hit-and-run accident in San Antonio. Since someone broke the law, involving the police is your legal obligation. Requesting police officers on the scene can also help you build a case against the hit-and-run driver. The police can help you gather evidence such as official photographs of your damaged vehicle or personal injuries, as well as any video footage from nearby surveillance cameras. An official police report can also be useful during an insurance claim, providing evidence that the crash occurred the way you said it did.
Speak to Eyewitnesses
Before you leave the scene, get the names and contact phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the hit-and-run accident. Anyone nearby with potential information that could help your case, such as a description of the perpetrator, can be important. They may be able to give you new information or corroborate your story. Get eyewitnesses’ full names, statements, and contact numbers. Ask if they would be willing to record official statements or testify in court on your behalf later, if necessary.
Go to the Hospital
Get high-quality medical care from a hospital in San Antonio, such as the University Hospital, Methodist Hospital, or Foundation Surgical Hospital, for injuries in a hit-and-run accident. Prompt medical care can help your overall recovery. It can also look good during an insurance claim, proving that the crash gave you the injuries you are claiming and that you did all you could to treat them. Keep all evidence relating to your health care, such as medical documents, x-rays, prognosis reports, and hospital bills.
Call Your Insurance Provider
In Texas, it is the at-fault driver that should lawfully pay for your damages after an auto accident. Unfortunately, a hit-and-run means you might not know the identity of the at-fault driver. This may leave you with no choice but to file a claim to damages with your own insurance provider. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, this could cover your damages even if you cannot identify the at-fault driver. Note, however, that Texas law does not require this type of insurance. Call your insurance agent as soon as possible after a hit-and-run to find out if you have the necessary coverage.
Hire a Hit-and-Run Accident Attorney
Without uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance provider may be unable to cover the costs of your medical bills, property repairs, lost wages, and other damages. If the police eventually identify the hit-and-run driver, you can bring a claim against his or her insurance policy for coverage instead. Otherwise, you may have to seek a third party to hold responsible. If someone such as a product manufacturer or property owner contributed to the hit-and-run accident, that party may owe you compensation. Hire a lawyer to help you with your claim. A San Antonio car accident attorney can give you all the information you need about your rights and legal options.