Recently a driver deliberately struck and injured two pedestrians outside the Well, a bar near I-10, off UTSA Boulevard. Witnesses described one woman being struck, after which her companion jumped on the hood of the car and was then thrown off. Instead of stopping to render aid as required by law, the car sped away, and as of this writing, San Antonio police are still seeking the driver. If you are injured due to being struck by a driver, you have the right to seek compensation from them, and in some cases, they may even be on the proverbial hook for criminal charges.
Texas Law Is Clear
Hit-and-run, called leaving the scene of an accident in Texas, carries serious penalties, and the law is unambiguous about them. Sec. 550.021 of the Texas Transportation Code states that anyone who is involved in an accident that results in (or might reasonably result in) injury or death must (1) immediately stop their vehicle; (2) return to the scene; (3) try to determine if someone else was involved and whether or not they require aid; and (4) render assistance such as giving your information and insurance, as well as potentially summoning help.
If you are involved in an accident where you believe there has been injury or death, you must comply with all four orders laid out in the relevant law. Failure to do so may open you up to civil liability, and in most cases, to criminal charges, especially if someone is killed or seriously injured. In the event of death or serious injury, leaving the scene of an accident is a second or third-degree felony, which carries prison time between 2 and 20 years, with a fine of up to $10,000.
You Can Still Sue
Conversely, if you have been hit by someone who then fled the scene, it can seem too difficult or even counterproductive to try and bring suit against the person who hit you if they are facing criminal charges. However, it is still very possible to bring suit against them in a civil court, even if it has to wait until after the criminal trial has concluded. Criminal trials bring jail time, while civil court brings monetary damages meant to recover costs such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Doing both does not trigger double jeopardy.
To prevail in a civil lawsuit, you must be able to demonstrate the hit-and-run driver’s negligence to the court. Drivers have an inherent duty to exercise reasonable care toward other road users, and if you can show that you suffered harm as a direct result of the driver’s conduct and that their conduct breached the duty of reasonable care, you have a good chance to prevail. This is true even if you wind up being found partially responsible for your own injuries – as long as your percentage of fault does not wind up being more than 50 percent, you can still recover in Texas.
Call a New Braunfels Hit-And-Run Lawyer
While as of this writing, the hit-and-run driver remains at large, if they are discovered, both civil and criminal cases may be filed against them. If you have been struck by a hit-and-run driver, contact an attorney who is experienced in handling these cases and will fight hard for you. The skilled New Braunfels hit-and-run attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm are happy to try and assist you. Call our offices at 888-392-0039 today to set up a free consultation.