Houston Hit and Run Car Accident Lawyers
CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER FOR FREE
Texas law requires that an individual immediately stop their vehicle after a collision with a pedestrian or another driver. An individual who fails to stop and flees the scene commits what is known as a hit-and-run. Such an individual may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the severity of the injuries on the affected persons or properties. With respect to civil cases, however, the perpetrator of a hit-and-run may face much more severe consequences than if he or she had not run away from the scene.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a hit-and-run accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our experienced hit-and-run attorneys.
Auto Accident Statistics
Because Houston is the most populated city in Texas, it logically follows that it has the greatest number of car accidents in the state. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were nearly 50,000 car accidents in Houston in 2012. And nearly 650 people die each year in Houston because of a car crash, and almost 3,000 people are injured because of a car crash. A portion of these car crashes are hit-and-run crashes. Texas as a whole, has experienced an increase in hit-and-run crashes over the past few years. From 2015 to 2016, there was a 30 percent increase in hit-and-run crashes in Texas.
Why Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you are a victim of a hit-and-run, you may feel unsure about how to seek compensation—especially if you did not see the vehicle that hit you or your property. After all, you need to know the perpetrator in order to file a lawsuit. An experienced hit-and-run attorney may help you seek compensation despite the ambiguities of the case.
If you are unable to find the perpetrator, you will likely have to file a claim with your insurance company. This process can also be a hassle as insurance companies are generally reluctant to give out the full payment you may be entitled to. An experienced hit-and-run attorney may be able to deal with insurance companies much more effectively and help you seek maximum compensation.
How Does a Hit and Run Affect My Case?
Texas takes hit-and-runs extremely seriously. If the individual does not stop his or her vehicle at or near the scene of the accident, he or she must return to the scene of the accident as soon as possible and remain at the scene of the accident until certain requirements are met. If a car accident results in damage to the property, Texas Law requires that the individual alert the owner either directly by finding the owner or indirectly by writing a note or the like. If you were a victim of a hit-and-run, you might be entitled to greater compensation because of criminal liability of such accidents.
Making a Car Accident Claim
1. Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Filing a personal injury claim can be physically and mentally taxing. An experienced lawyer may help you make the process of filing a claim less exhausting by taking some of the heaviest responsibilities off your shoulders.
Once you file a claim with a court, a judge may set a date for a trial, but also order you into mediation in which the parties to try and find a compromise without going to trial.
If mediation fails to achieve an agreement between the parties, your case will move into the discovery or investigative phase. In this stage, collect all of the relevant documents and evidence necessary to file a claim. These include medical bills, witness statements, official reports, employment reports, etc. This stage is also where depositions will occur. Depositions are essentially interviews conducted by lawyers with people who have information pertinent to your case.
4. Case Settlement
Case settlement may occur at the mediation phase, but case settlement may also occur during the discovery/investigative stage. If an insurance company sends you an offer, be sure to discuss the offer with your lawyer. Do not simply accept the offer as your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the insurance company for a more favorable offer.
If after discovery, no settlement is reached, then your case may go to trial. Two types of trials exist: bench and jury. Bench trials are trials where the judge will hear the evidence, apply the laws applicable in your case, and make a ruling. In jury trials, the judge plays a lesser role. Though the judge will set which laws are applicable, the jury will decide the outcome.
Common Car Accident Causes
- Drunk driving
- Distractions (texting, talking on the phone, etc.)
Who Is at Fault?
The person at fault for a car accident is generally the negligent driver who causes the accident. However, the negligent driver may not always be the only person at fault. For instance, if the driver was driving for an employer at the time of the accident, the employer may also be at fault. Furthermore, if the driver who caused the accident was a trucker, it is possible that the manufacturer of the truck could be at fault if it can be found that the accident was caused by a manufacturing defect in the truck.
- Scrapes and Cuts
- Head Injuries
- Broken Bones
- Internal Bleeding
- Herniated Disc
Car Accident Compensation
Compensation is provided for economic losses and non-economic losses.
Economic losses include the following:
- past and future medical bills
- past and future lost wages
- damaged property
- past and future loss of earning capacity
Non-economic losses include the following:
- past and future emotional anguish
- loss of enjoyment of activities
In addition to compensation for your economic and non-economic losses, you may also be entitled to punitive damages, which is just another form of payment that you may be entitled to from the perpetrator. However, unlike the compensation given to you for your economic losses and non-economic losses, punitive damages are given not to compensate you for your losses but in order to punish the hit-and-run driver for his or her bad conduct.
Partial Fault & Compensation
You should also be aware that Texas courts use what is called a modified comparative fault rule when it determines how much compensation a victim may be entitled to. What this rule states is that if an injured victim was 51% or more at fault for an accident, then he or she may be entitled to less or no compensation.
However, if the victim is found to be 50% or less at fault for the accident, his or her compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault. For instance, if the jury awarded you $100,000 in compensation but also found that you were 50% at fault, then the actual amount of compensation you may be entitled to would be $50,000.
Legal Time Limits (statute of limitations)
Each state has what is called a statute of limitations or time limit to file a lawsuit. In Texas, you must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date of the injury or accident. However, if the victim is a child, he or she may ignore the time limit until he or she turns eighteen. This means that if the child was sixteen at the time of the car accident, he or she would have until he or she turns twenty to file a claim.
OUR Houston HIT AND RUN CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS MAY HELP
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a hit and run accident, call Zinda Law Group today at (888) 659-9392 to receive your free consultation with our Houston hit and run car accident lawyers.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.
How Much Do You Get for Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident?
Again, how much money you may be entitled to for pain and suffering depends on a variety of factors such as whether your injury will cause permanent or temporary inability to move. Please contact a lawyer with regard to the specific particulars of your case.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?
Without knowing the details of your accident and injuries, it is impossible to know how much your claim is worth. Every accident is different, but having an experienced attorney can help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to. To learn more, view this article about how to calculate your settlement.