A hit-and-run accident is a worst-case scenario. Your vehicle is damaged, you’re injured, and the person responsible is gone. If you lack the proper insurance coverage, you may also be left paying the bills.
A hit-and-run accident is one where another vehicle struck yours and left the scene without the driver giving you their name, contact, and insurance information. Under Texas law, it’s a crime to be involved in a vehicle accident that causes damage or may involve injuries without stopping. The driver should see if you need help and give you the required information.
How are Hit-and-Run Accidents Investigated?
The police will investigate the accident because a crime was committed. Insurance companies also have investigations if a claim is filed and by law firms representing accident victims.
The police investigation starts with you and your passengers, assuming you aren’t too injured to talk coherently, or the accident happened so quickly that you recall very little. They should also speak to any witnesses at the scene.
Police will want a description of the vehicle and the driver so they can find them. Anything you can provide may be helpful:
- Make and model
- Condition (such as dents, scratches, or if it appeared brand new)
- License plate number, partial or complete
- If it’s a truck, what was in the back, and if it was a commercial vehicle, a company name on the side
- If the driver exits the vehicle before leaving, their appearance
The police will also determine what damage the other vehicle may have. Paint left on your car will show its color. The police may use video from surveillance cameras at intersections and nearby businesses and homes to get a vehicle description.
The police may notify area repair and body shops and ask they call them if the vehicle owner shows up to have it fixed. If you’re seriously injured, the police may put out a description on social media and release it to local news organizations and ask the public for help.
How Long Should a Police Investigation Take?
It could take hours or days, or the police may never find the responsible party. Hit-and-run accidents happen all the time in Houston and the surrounding area. Officers who investigate them may be overwhelmed because these accidents may not be a priority for the police department, especially if injuries are less severe.
The investigation may conclude quickly. If it doesn’t, too much time may pass, and police will get more and more cases in the meantime. The other vehicle may be so damaged it’ll break down and be abandoned. The driver may also be found at the scene of another accident. Video surveillance may give police a good view of the vehicle. Someone working at a body shop may tip the police off.
The other driver may turn themselves in and admit what happened. Coming forward and cooperating with the police may reduce the legal consequences they’ll face.
Will Insurance Cover a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Texas requires all drivers to have vehicle insurance. If the other driver is found, they should have coverage for the accident, though it may not be enough to compensate you fully. This is why you should buy uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. It must be offered when you buy insurance, though you can decline it.
You should purchase as much insurance as you can budget, including this additional coverage. If the other driver’s policy limit isn’t enough to pay for all your damages, you can use your policy to cover what’s left. It should also compensate you if the driver lacks insurance or is never found.
Hire a Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. Lawyer and Protect Your Legal Rights
Call Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P if you need a Houston personal injury lawyer after a hit-and-run accident. If you need your policy for coverage, don’t assume you’ll get favorable treatment because you paid your premium. Your carrier may play hardball with everyone seeking coverage.
We have helped many people like you obtain settlements and judgments for their injuries. Get in touch with our legal team today at (713) 364-0723 to schedule a free consultation. We can discuss what happened, how Texas law may apply, and how we can help.