New Braunfels Attorney For Hit-And-Run Accidents
Representing Victims Of Hit-And-Run Accidents In Hays, Guadalupe And Comal Counties
Few incidents leave victims feeling as helpless as hit-and-run collisions because in that case it sometimes seems as if there is no one to blame, no way to obtain financial compensation for personal injury and property damages, and no hope of closure. However, about half of all hit-and-run drivers are very quickly identified, and even if the police take no action, for whatever reason, these drivers can still be sued in civil court. If the driver is never caught, injured victims may invoke their uninsured/underinsured motorist clause and obtain compensation from their own insurance companies.
It is nearly impossible to obtain compensation in these situations without an experienced and assertive attorney. Our professionals at The Bettersworth Law Firm routinely practice in all area courts, so we are familiar with all the procedural rules including the ones that are unwritten. Because of this experience, we are free to vigorously pursue maximum compensation in a personal injury case.
What Should You Do Immediately After A Hit-And-Run Accident?
If you were struck by another driver who then fled the scene, you should stay at the scene and call the police. The only exception to this rule is if you or a passenger is seriously injured and you need to seek immediate medical attention.
It is illegal for either party to leave the scene of an accident without exchanging information and/or contacting the police. Even as the victim of a hit-and-run, you could potentially face criminal charges for also leaving the scene. This isn’t a high likelihood, but you’ll need to report the accident to the police anyway, so you should stay at the scene until they arrive.
A significant number of hit-and-run drivers are apprehended immediately after the collision and within just a few blocks of the accident scene. Furthermore, peace officers have a wide array of investigation tools, and since leaving the scene of an accident is a priority with many departments, negligent drivers are hard-pressed to hide.
An attorney often partners with a licensed private investigator in these cases, to track down leads and potential witnesses. These individuals are often more subtle and flexible than police officers, and they often have contacts in the neighborhood that law enforcement does not have, so they can find people quickly.
Punitive damages are often available in hit-and-run cases, because of the defendant’s intentional, wrongful conduct. Most jurors take a very dim view of hit-and-run drivers, so the award may be substantial. As a side note, punitive damages are awarded in addition to any consequential economic and noneconomic damages.
Will A Criminal Case Impact Your Civil Lawsuit?
Many drivers who flee an accident scene do so because they were doing something they shouldn’t have been doing. This could be texting, driving drunk or high, or even driving a stolen vehicle. If and when they are caught by police, they will face charges for fleeing the scene as well as for any other criminal offenses that prosecutors can prove.
The good news is that the criminal case against the at-fault driver will not negatively impact your civil lawsuit. If the driver is convicted, it might actually bolster your case. Even if the driver is acquitted, however, you could still win your civil suit. The burden of proof in civil court is lower than in criminal court, and they are two separate legal systems.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claims
These actions nearly always transform friendly insurance agents into unfriendly foes and once-generous adjusters into almost miserly individuals. In addition to the highly adversarial nature, many of these claims involve very strict time deadlines, and any delay can completely derail the case.
These matters proceed much like any other car wreck case, with one important exception. Since policyholders cannot sue their own insurance companies, if the two sides cannot settle the case, it typically moves to binding arbitration. There is no jury and very little possibility of appeal. It takes a uniquely-qualified attorney to handle an arbitration matter, because of its unusual nature.
Talk To An Attorney In A Free Consultation
Hit-and-run victims may be entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation in this area, contact The Bettersworth Law Firm at 830-443-9193. Attorney James Bettersworth is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and maintains a “Superb” rating on Avvo.