On the night of June 7, a man was struck by a driver in an extended-cab pickup truck near US 183 and Lava Hill Road, sustaining severe to life-threatening injuries in the incident. While he was taken to the hospital, the driver of the pickup fled the scene and as of this writing, has not been located. If this happens to you or to someone you love, it can be important to bring suit against the driver (if they can be located), so as to ensure that your medical bills can be covered.
Sharp Rise in Pedestrian Deaths
Texas has a problem in effectively protecting its pedestrians. Statistics tabulated by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) show a 21.5 percent rise in pedestrian deaths in auto accidents between 2015 and 2016 (the most recent available data), which is a higher rise than average in most states. Texas posted the second highest number of pedestrian fatalities in 2016, with only California experiencing more.
There are many different possible reasons for Texas’ pedestrian fatalities to be high, such as sheer population numbers and high-speed limits compared to many other states, but anticipating potential reasons for such a significant rise in such a relatively short time is difficult. This is especially true in light of several pedestrian safety initiatives being launched in 2016-17, most recently Austin’s, coming after a year rife with pedestrian fatalities, including several hit-and-runs.
After a Hit and Run
Texas law does treat a hit-and-run accident as a crime, though it is usually a misdemeanor unless significant injury or death has occurred. Nonetheless, even if the driver is charged with a crime, you are still entitled to bring suit against them to attempt to recoup medical bills and other expenses you may incur in treating your injuries.
In some situations, the judge may order a stay of any civil proceedings (meaning that the court will wait to start the civil trial until any criminal proceedings have ended), and while this may seem unjust, it can actually work in your favor – for example, with no criminal proceedings going at the same time, the defendant cannot invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The best thing an injured person can do after a hit-and-run accident is to seek medical treatment and preserve as many records as possible. Many people try to speak to their insurance company immediately, or somehow try to assist in finding the hit-and-run driver, but neither of these options will help you to heal. Also, medical records establish the extent of your injuries as hard fact and can give a judge or jury a better place to start from when determining the possibility of an award, rather than simply guessing or estimating.
Call Our Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
While the man struck on US 183 remains in critical condition as of this writing, not every accident ends the same way. If this happens to you or a loved one, your first call should be to a knowledgeable attorney who can help you try and obtain the compensation you need to get back on your feet. The dedicated New Braunfels pedestrian accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm will fight for you. Contact us today to set up an initial consultation