The night of September 17 proved unlucky for a teenager trying to cross the intersection of Blanco Road and Parliament Street in San Antonio, as he was struck by a driver who ran the red light and then fled. The driver was later apprehended and charged, but the damage has still been done to the teenager, who was taken to University Hospital. As of this writing, no lasting damage appears to have been done, but hit-and-run accidents are still taken extremely seriously by San Antonio police, as they should be by every driver. If you have been the victim of a similar incident, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries.
Leaving an Accident Scene Is Illegal
One of the most important things anyone can take away from this type of accident is that it is a crime to leave the scene of any accident that causes property damage or injury in Texas. Failure to stop after an accident that results in, or is likely to result in, injury or death is a felony in most cases, though if the injury is more minor, a misdemeanor may be assessed. Despite these stringent penalties, though, people, of course, do leave accident scenes, especially if they believe there is a possibility they will be able to escape without being stopped. The driver on Blanco Road fled the scene and was apprehended later, which added an additional count of failing to stop and render aid to the charges against her.
If the driver can be located, however, you may be able to bring suit against them for your harm suffered, even if they also face criminal charges. Under Texas law, a hit-and-run driver may be able to be sued for multiple types of damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering (in certain circumstances), loss of marital companionship, and many other causes of action. This type of action is brought under a theory of negligence law, and if you can show that the driver was negligent (which should not necessarily be difficult, if they are arrested for failing to stop and render aid), compensation may be yours.
There Are Possible Problems
While a case against a hit-and-run driver can be fairly open and shut in some circumstances, there are multiple potential issues that may actually preclude you from receiving compensation even if you are awarded such by a jury. For example, many hit-and-run drivers flee because they may not have insurance, or they may not otherwise be able to afford a judgment assessed against them. One cannot collect from someone that has no assets. If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you may be able to bring a claim with your own insurer, but this is not always possible depending on the specific nature of the accident.
It may also be that your own insurance company refuses to pay your claim, alleging irregularities or even fraud. In this type of situation, there may be little to do other than get an attorney involved, as many insurance companies are paranoid about false claims, while others simply do not act in good faith. In theory, you should have the relevant documents to be able to show your injuries to your insurance company, but if need be, know that getting a legal professional involved is always a recommended option.
Seek Experienced, Compassionate Legal Help Today
Any auto accident has the potential to be a time-consuming, difficult headache, but when someone attempts to skirt their responsibilities by fleeing the scene, you need to ensure that you have someone on your side who can help stand up for your rights. The passionate New Braunfels auto accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm will work with you to try and obtain the most appropriate possible outcome that helps to get you back on your feet as soon as possible. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.