Your Hit and Run Accident Questions Answered
Hit-and-run accidents can be some of the most stressful for victims, as you wonder how you will pay for the damages caused. It’s normal to have a lot of questions after a hit-and-run, and our knowledgeable attorneys are here to help. Call Ketterman Rowland & Westlund today to discuss the specific details of your case and learn about your legal rights.
Do I need a lawyer after a hit-and-run accident?
No, you don’t need one. You will likely not receive compensation for any injuries and will possibly go into a large amount of medical debt because of the hit and run. It’s advised to speak to us as soon as possible. The consultation is free and you don’t pay unless we win. If you have been hurt in a hit-and-run accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Hit-and-run accidents can cause severe injuries and emotional trauma. This trauma can be made even worse as you watch the driver who caused your injuries to flee the scene. In the wake of your accident, you may be facing large medical bills and be forced to take time out of work, which can cause even more financial stress. Our knowledgeable lawyers will work to take that stress off you.
At Ketterman Rowland & Westlund, our team will work directly with law enforcement to try to track down the negligent driver who caused your injuries and callously fled the scene. We will also examine your own insurance policy to determine all potential sources of compensation. We will then manage negotiations on your behalf as we pursue the maximum amount you deserve.
How will I pay for my damages if the driver isn’t caught?
Our team will work diligently with law enforcement to pursue the driver who hit you and fled the scene. In the unfortunate event that the driver is never found, hope for recovering compensation is not lost. Our team can review your own insurance policy and help you file an uninsured motorist claim.
Although this type of claim is through your own insurance, working with an experienced attorney is still crucial. The reason for this is simple: Insurance companies are in the moneymaking business and are not interested in paying you fair compensation. Our team of experienced hit-and-run lawyers can help you fight for the money you need.
Under uninsured motorist coverage, you can seek compensation to help cover:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Physical therapy
- Rehabilitation costs
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Our powerful team of attorneys has helped thousands of Texans level the playing field against the large insurance companies. We will stand by your side as we face these powerful corporations together, in pursuit of justice.
What are the penalties for a hit-and-run?
Civil penalties for a hit and run.
Drivers who cause an accident and flee the scene can face both criminal and civil penalties once they are caught. The state can punish these drivers through a criminal case, and accident victims can hold these negligent drivers liable through a civil lawsuit. In a civil case, victims can demand compensation for all losses suffered due to the accident.
Criminal penalties for a hit and run.
Hit-and-run cases are taken quite seriously in criminal court and can have severe consequences. Charges are usually predicated on a negligent driving failing to uphold his or her duty after a crash by not doing the following:
- Stopping at the scene of the accident
- Providing identification
- Offering assistance to those injured as a result of the accident
Criminal consequences for a hit-and-run can vary based on the severity of the accident and injuries caused. A hit-and-run driver may face either misdemeanor or felony charges. Penalties can range from fines of $5,000 to $20,000 and up to 15 years in prison.
How is a civil case different from a criminal case against the driver?
Civil and criminal cases involve two entirely separate branches of the legal system, and the outcome of one case has no impact upon the other. Those found liable in a civil case will be required to compensate their victims financially. When found guilty in a criminal case, hit-and-run drivers face large fines and even prison sentences. A simple distinction between the two can be summed up as:
- Criminal cases result when a driver is intentionally or criminally reckless and his or her actions violate the law.
- Civil cases result when a driver fails in his or her duty to act reasonably to prevent injury or property damage.
A driver who has committed a hit-and-run may face both criminal charges and a civil action.
What should I do if I am hurt in a hit-and-run?
When you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, you are naturally going to be stunned and upset. No matter how frustrated you may be, you should never leave the scene. Stay put and wait for emergency services to arrive.
You should accept medical attention at the scene of the accident. You may have injuries that you are unaware of due to the adrenaline rush of being involved in a car crash. Even severe injuries can have symptoms that lie dormant. Immediate medical attention is best for your health in the long run, and it will help document your injuries if you pursue a lawsuit.
You should also talk to any witnesses at the scene, write down everything you remember about the other driver and the vehicle, and take photos of your injuries and the crash scene. The police and your attorneys can use all of this information as they investigate your case.
Why do drivers flee the scene?
There are a variety of reasons that someone may flee the scene of an accident, but it all boils down to the driver being selfish and self-centered. Lives are put at risk when drivers leave the scene of an accident, as they may be the only witness capable of calling emergency medical services. Still, a driver may choose to flee the scene if he or she:
- Has a suspended license
- Has too many tickets on his or her record
- Does not have a valid license
- Does not have insurance
- Has an outstanding warrant for the arrest
- Was operating a stolen vehicle
- Was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
Drivers who operate in these selfish ways make our roads much more dangerous. Working with a strong legal team and cooperating with law enforcement can lead to the reckless driver being held responsible for his or her actions.
How do police investigate hit-and-run claims?
Police have many proven methods at their disposal for tracking down hit-and-run drivers. Working with a strong legal team is also crucial as your lawyers can continue to communicate with police investigators for updates on tracking down the driver who caused your injuries. Common investigative methods used by police to track down hit-and-run drivers include:
- Eyewitnesses: It is very likely that someone witnessed your accident occur. They may not have been right next to the scene, but they may have seen enough to corroborate your story with police and provide additional details.
- Canvassing: Police will scour the area for information, including anyone who may have seen a car speeding from the area or a driver acting suspiciously.
- Surveillance footage: Many homes and business owners use surveillance cameras on their property. Even if the actual accident is not captured on film, the identity of the driver or information on the car may be obtained through surveillance footage.
- Tip lines and social media: Many law enforcement agencies have open tip lines for the public to call in with information that could help officers locate a hit-and-run driver. Many agencies also have active social media accounts that serve as a place for people to share information about the accident and come forward with additional information that could help.
- Evidence from the scene: In addition to searching for the driver who fled the scene, police will also collect extensive evidence from the crash site such as tire tread marks, paint chips, and photos of the damage. This evidence will be used to tie a driver to the crash when the person is found.
Contact a Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer Now
If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident in the San Antonio area, our experienced car accident lawyers are here to help. Our powerful team of skilled attorneys at Ketterman Rowland & Westlund has earned a reputation for helping many Texans secure compensation for their injuries, and we are ready to help you, too.
Our personal injury attorneys will aggressively pursue full and fair compensation on your behalf, as we believe that no one should have to suffer financial hardship after being injured by a negligent driver. Please call us today or fill out our online contact form to set up a free consultation with our San Antonio hit-and-run accident lawyers. There is no charge to begin work on your claim, and you do not pay attorney fees unless and until we recover compensation for you.