Car is getting away after hitting pedestrian on road

I Was Involved in a Hit and Run. Do I Still Have a Case?

Tormey & McConnell May 9, 2024

Imagine you're driving home from work, and someone hits your car, but before you know it, they drive off leaving you alone at the scene. Being involved in a car accident can be an overwhelming experience. However, when the other party involved chooses to flee without taking responsibility, it becomes even more complicated. 

If you've been a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may wonder if you still have grounds for a case. The answer is yes. Even if the other driver is unknown or cannot be located, there are still legal avenues available for you to pursue. These cases often require the guidance of a skilled attorney who is experienced in hit-and-run accidents. 

At Tormey & McConnell, we consistently take our clients’ best interests to heart and are willing to go the extra mile to seek justice on their behalf. If you or a loved one has been in a hit-and-run, you have the right to pursue legal action under Texas Law.  

Located in Amarillo, Texas, our firm proudly serves clients throughout Canyon, Dumas, Pampa, Hereford, Childress, and Borger.  

Understanding Hit-and-Run Accidents

A hit-and-run accident is defined as any collision where one or more parties involved intentionally leave the scene without providing contact information or offering aid to anyone who might need assistance. In Texas, laws are quite clear about the duties of individuals involved in vehicular accidents. According to these laws, drivers must: 

  • Stop their vehicle at the scene. 

  • Determine whether there is a need for aid. 

  • Exchange driver and insurance information with other parties. 

  • Report the accident to law enforcement if the accident results in injury, death, or property damage valued at over $1,000.  

However, in the case of a hit-and-run, these steps are not followed by the fleeing driver, which makes it challenging for victims to file claims or pursue legal action since victims are left without the typical evidence they need, such as the at-fault driver's insurance information.  

Additionally, law enforcement's ability to investigate and attribute fault is severely hindered without the at-fault party's identification, further complicating the situation for the victim. 

Texas Car Accident Laws

Texas is an at-fault insurance state. This means that the driver who caused the accident is responsible for paying for damages and covering and resulting injuries. If the at-fault driver cannot be determined, the victim's insurance company may cover the damages under their uninsured motorist coverage policy. 

Under Texas law, hit-and-run accidents are considered to be a criminal offense. Individuals who flee the scene of an accident can face severe penalties, including fines, jail time, and license suspension.  

In addition to criminal charges, hit-and-run victims have the right to pursue civil action against the at-fault driver. This can include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. 

Texas Modified Comparative Negligence

Texas car accident laws also operate under a "modified comparative negligence" system. This system allows an injured party to recover damages even if they are partly at fault and as long as their degree of fault does not exceed 50%.  

The amount of compensation an individual can recover will be reduced by their percentage of fault in the accident. For example, if a victim was awarded $100,000 and was found to be 25% at fault, their compensation would be reduced to $75,000. 

Texas Statute of Limitations

According to the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code, hit-and-run accident victims have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the alleged at-fault driver. Failing to adhere to this timeline can result in the loss of the right to seek compensation. 

Due to the complexity of hit-and-run cases, anyone involved in a hit-and-run accident in Texas should seek immediate legal consultation. An experienced attorney can help victims understand Texas car accident laws and work toward a favorable outcome. 

Ways to File a Claim After a Hit-and-Run

Victims of a hit-and-run accident have several options to recoup their losses, even when the offending driver is not immediately identified.  

  • Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage: This coverage is designed to protect drivers if they are injured or their property is damaged by an uninsured driver, which includes hit-and-run drivers. UM coverage can help cover medical expenses, repair costs for the damaged vehicle, and sometimes even cover lost wages. 

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage: PIP coverage can provide compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who is at fault for the accident 

  • File a Lawsuit Against the Driver: If the responsible driver is identified, you can file a lawsuit to recover additional damages not covered by insurance, such as pain and suffering, punitive damages, and any other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident. 

Victims need to understand their insurance policy's coverage in detail and consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can guide them through filing a claim and pursuing further legal action. An attorney can also negotiate with insurance companies to make sure victims receive the full compensation they deserve. 

Steps for Filing a Claim After a Hit-and-Run

Filing a claim after a hit-and-run accident can seem daunting, but knowing what to do can make the process more manageable and improve your chances of receiving compensation. If you are involved in a hit-and-run, follow these steps: 

  1. Report the Incident to the Police: Immediately report the incident to law enforcement. This will not only document the occurrence but also initiate an investigation that could potentially identify the fleeing driver. 

  1. Contact Your Insurance Company: Notify your insurance provider about the accident as soon as possible. Most policies require prompt reporting of any incident that could lead to a claim. Be ready to provide details of the accident and any evidence you have, such as photos of the scene and your vehicle, a copy of the police report, and witness statements, if available. 

  1. File an Uninsured Motorist Claim: Since the at-fault driver in a hit-and-run is often unidentified, you can file a claim under your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.  

  1. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of all medical treatments, repairs to your vehicle, and any other expenses incurred because of the accident. Comprehensive documentation will support your claim and help ensure you're compensated fairly. 

  1. Consider Seeking Legal Advice: Navigating the aftermath of a hit-and-run can be complicated, especially when dealing with insurance claims and possible legal action. Consulting with an attorney who is experienced in handling hit-and-run cases can provide valuable guidance and improve your chances of a successful outcome. 

By following these steps, you can effectively file a claim after a hit-and-run and potentially receive compensation for any losses or damages. 

Legal Counsel You Can Trust

Experiencing a hit-and-run accident can be jarring, but there are avenues available for pursuing compensation. At Tormey & McConnell, we have over 50 years of combined experience in handling personal injury and car accident cases. With a knowledgeable understanding of Texas law, we can help you receive fair and equitable compensation.  

If you've been involved in a hit-and-run, contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys