Recently, a man was struck by a car on Rundberg Road, in north Austin, but the vehicle that struck him failed to stop and administer aid. The man was taken to a nearby hospital, while he was pronounced deceased on arrival. While no other details were released at the time about either the deceased man or the vehicle that struck him, it is important to understand that the victim (or the family of the victim) in a hit-and-run accident has options to try and seek compensation for what they have gone through. Enlisting an attorney to help with that is also a good idea.
High Frequency, High Stakes
Texas has one of the higher hit-and-run accident totals in the country, partly because of its sheer population, but partly for other reasons. For example, Texas is one of the states that permits speed limits of up to 85 mph in certain areas, which in turn can breed recklessness, especially when alcohol is involved. In addition, the majority of hit-and-run victims are pedestrians, and Texas boasts a large pedestrian population, between its cities and the rural areas in which public transport is infrequent or inefficient.
It is important to understand that leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in Texas – the Transport Code specifically states that leaving the scene of an accident where serious bodily injury or death results, without stopping to render aid, is a felony, with lesser injuries being punishable by between 1 and 5 years in jail. If the person who struck you is caught, they will very often (though not always) be charged with a crime – but you will still be able to file a civil lawsuit against them as well. The Fifth Amendment right to be free from double jeopardy only applies to two criminal proceedings – a civil proceeding is a different animal and can proceed.
While you may have to wait until the conclusion of a criminal case against the person who caused your injuries, it is still possible to file suit and seek compensation from the defendant. In the case of a hit-and-run accident, especially one for which a criminal conviction has already been obtained, you may have a slightly easier time than normal in trying to establish that the defendant acted negligently. Texas observes a doctrine called negligence per se, which holds that if the defendant broke a law designed to protect a class of people, and injured a member of that class, then their negligence is established as a matter of law.
For example, in the case of the Rundberg Road accident, the driver broke the law against leaving the scene of an accident, and fatally injured a pedestrian. The law against leaving the scene of an accident is designed to protect potential accident victims, pedestrians included. Since the injured person is a member of the class that the law is designed to protect, the driver would be considered negligent as a matter of law, without the plaintiff having to prove it. This can help eliminate long periods of litigation, which in turn can reduce the stress on you and your family.
Contact a New Braunfels Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Pedestrian accidents are far too frequent, and so many of them are avoidable. If you are unfortunate enough to be injured in a pedestrian-vehicle accident, know that you do not have to suffer through recovery alone. The skilled New Braunfels pedestrian accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm can help answer your questions and help you determine what path to take to seek compensation. Call our offices today at 888-392-0039 to schedule a free consultation.