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TX injury lawyerA hit-and-run in San Marcos injured two pedestrians, landing both in the hospital where one still remains as of this writing. A middle-aged gentleman and his adult daughter were struck by a vehicle in the intersection of North Lyndon B. Johnson Drive and East Hutchison Street, which was then narrowed down to two possibilities by San Marcos police. If the vehicle is found - maroon in color, and either a GMC Yukon or a Chevrolet Tahoe - the driver will face serious penalties, in addition to a possible civil suit if the pedestrians choose to file one.

Leaving an Accident Scene Is a Crime

Many people think that if they cannot be caught after a hit-and-run, they have escaped responsibility, or at most, they might face a civil suit from any victim’s family. In reality, leaving an accident scene is a crime in Texas, and can be a second or third-degree felony if injury or death results. Even a hit-and-run which only causes property damage may be punished by anywhere between 1-5 years in the county jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

The sentences under this law can seem surprisingly harsh, but the rationale is that drivers have responsibilities in Texas, chief among which is to render aid and/or give information to law enforcement in the event of an accident. Even if the hit-and-run only damaged property, a failure to do that carries consequences. Ignorance of this responsibility is no excuse, either; Texas law criminalizes causing damage, whether or not that damage was intentional. Texas has so many drivers that the state legislature wanted to send a message that accountability matters.

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TX injury lawyerA woman was recently struck in a hit-and-run accident on San Antonio’s south side. She and her boyfriend were crossing the intersection of South Zarzamora and West Gerald Avenue when a black vehicle struck her and sped away, failing to stop and render aid at the scene. She was taken to University Hospital and expected to recover from her injuries, but definitely, not everyone who is involved in a hit-and-run is so lucky. Fortunately, Texas laws on hit-and-run accidents are clear and can work in your favor to get you the compensation you need to get your life back on track.

Failing to Stop Is a Crime

The Texas Transportation Code sets out what one has to do in the event of a hit-and-run accident, depending on what level of damage or bodily injury was sustained. If any kind of damage was sustained, either to a person or to property, the driver must stop and render aid, or be guilty of a crime - a felony if injury or death has resulted, and a misdemeanor if property damage was the outcome. It is important to recognize this - in many states, failing to stop and render aid is a civil infraction - in Texas, it is a crime.

It is important, however, to note that a driver who does make a report - that is, admits to striking someone with their car or causing property damage - is protected from that report being used as evidence against them in civil court. Texas permits this small protection so as to encourage more motorists and pedestrians to file reports if accidents do happen. The state’s public policy wants more drivers to come forward, and while a driver can be sued in civil court if they do so, it is still a favorable policy outcome since more crime victims are able to have closure.

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TX injury lawyerDuring the last weekend of September, a hit-and-run accident on Ronald W. Reagan Boulevard in Leander left one motorcyclist dead, and the driver missing. According to law enforcement, the truck turned into the path of the motorcyclist, who was headed southbound, and the cycle hit the rear part of the truck, which caused the rider to be thrown. The truck did not stop to assist the injured man, instead choosing to drive on. There are multiple things that might breed a cause of action in this story, especially for the family of the deceased motorcyclist, as they seek compensation that could somehow even partially mitigate the loss of their loved one.

Failure to Stop and Render Aid Is a Crime

Motorcyclists are in some danger while on the roads, even if they operate their vehicle perfectly, simply because they lack the protection and the weight that automobiles have, and this, unfortunately, translates to injury and fatality statistics - on average, around 500 motorcyclists per year are killed in auto accidents on Texas roads, according to data from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). While this obviously does not excuse reckless or negligent driving or other actions, it is worth remarking on how an action that can be lethal against a motorcyclist might cause an automobile’s driver mere irritation. If an accident occurs, it is the responsibility of both vehicles involved to stop and render aid to anyone hurt.

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TX injury lawyerThe 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.

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TX injury lawyerOn the night of July 9, a man was crossing Potranco Road when he was struck in the crosswalk by a pickup truck, which then drove away without stopping to render aid. Such action is a crime in Texas, but it can also be grounds for a civil lawsuit, depending on the nature of the specific situation. If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, but obtaining it can be difficult without the right attorney.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Despite the law criminalizing the failure to stop and render aid (FSRA), many drivers who do this still wind up leaving the scene, for a variety of reasons, not least of all the fear of potential consequences. Others may be intoxicated or under the influence of another type of substance, or be in some other type of state that makes them unaware they struck a person at all (this is not a defense to a charge of FSRA, but it does occur). Regardless, many hit-and-run drivers are not found immediately, which can be a problem for the police and in some situations, may actually delay the victim’s ability to obtain medical care, if the accident occurs in a rural area.

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The sooner you call, the sooner we can build your case, secure evidence and get maximum compensation for your injuries.

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