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TX injury lawyerRecently, law enforcement in San Antonio identified a woman as the victim of a hit-and-run accident on South W.W. White Road. The person who struck the woman may not have been aware of it, as they failed to stop and render aid, but this does open them up to the possibility of both civil and criminal liability if they are located. Failing to stop at the scene of a hit-and-run accident is a crime in Texas, and in addition, the deceased person’s family may seek to bring suit against the driver for wrongful death. If you have lost a loved one in this manner, it is important for you to understand your options, as well as the relationship between civil and criminal law.

Wrongful Death in Texas

Texas’ wrongful death statute is fairly straightforward, stating that a person is liable for damages resulting from an individual’s passing if it resulted from their (or their agent’s) “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” There are only a handful of family members who are permitted by law to bring a wrongful death suit - generally the deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, and parents. Anyone else is deemed to be too distantly related to have received tangible support from the deceased person in most cases.

In the hit-and-run accident example from South W.W. White Road, the woman’s family would conceivably be able to recover damages such as loss of companionship, mental pain and suffering, and lost wages, if they were able to establish the necessary legal criteria. To establish a case for wrongful death, the plaintiff (the decedent’s family) would have to show that the defendant’s lack of reasonable care was the direct cause of their loved one’s passing and that no other intervening cause played a role. This is difficult, but not impossible to establish if the facts are there.


TXnjury lawyerTragedy struck in the early hours one morning when a one-year-old was with his family in the front yard of his home on Norfleet Street and ran into the road. A dark-colored car struck the boy, and the driver continued on, not stopping to render aid as is required by Texas law. While there appear to be some issues in this particular case involving why the young child was in the yard in the first place, the fact remains that the driver of the car is guilty of a serious offense. Hit-and-run drivers can face serious lawsuits or even, in some cases, prison time.

Victims Deserve Justice

Texas has a vested interest in ensuring that its citizens and their loved ones are able to receive justice if they are injured or killed due to someone else’s negligence. As such, Texas law treats hit-and-run accidents as serious wrongdoing, because failing to stop and render aid has the potential to deny the victim any justice or closure. Without being able to hold someone responsible, a hit-and-run victim may not be able to get their needs met or might otherwise suffer financial harm through no fault of their own.

The Texas Transportation Code states that if you are involved in an accident that results in or is “reasonably likely” to result in death or injury to a person, you must immediately stop your vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so and to return to the scene of the accident. You must remain there until you have given all your relevant information to either the injured person or to law enforcement, as well as providing any “reasonable assistance,” such as summoning the police or an ambulance.


TX injury lawyerIn 2017, a young man was struck by a pickup truck and killed while riding his bicycle in Georgetown. The driver was sentenced to two years in prison and 10 months’ probation after pleading to manslaughter and accident involving death. However, due to a peculiarity in Texas law, he was released to mandatory supervision before ever serving any time of his sentence, causing the victim's family serious pain and mental anguish. Now, a bill is before the Texas legislature which would close that loophole. If you are involved in a hit-and-run, it would significantly alter your prospects at sentencing.

Hit-And-Run Is a Crime

In Texas, leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, punishable by anywhere between a $500 fine and a 10-year prison sentence, depending on the nature of the accident. Leaving the scene of an accident where someone was killed or seriously injured is a third-degree felony. The driver in the above case did leave the scene of the accident, and he could have been found guilty of leaving the scene had he not negotiated a plea deal. The penalties are lesser if your accident only involves minor injury or property damage, but serious injury or death is taken very seriously.

However, even with the sentencing guidelines, Texas law has a loophole depending on how long a person has spent in detention. It is possible for someone who has spent a significant amount of time in pretrial detention to be released into mandatory supervision without ever actually spending any time in prison once they are sentenced. This occurred in this, given the defendant spent almost 400 days in detention before his trial and sentencing. However, the victim's family was never notified.


Posted on in Car Wrecks

Texas injury lawyerOn February 8, a pedestrian trying to cross RM 620 at Briarwood Street in Round Rock was struck and killed. The car did not stop, and the pedestrian died at the scene. While the driver, if ever located, will likely face criminal charges, they might also be subject to a wrongful death lawsuit by any surviving family, or by the man’s estate. There are potential complications, however, depending on the specific nature of the situation.

Pedestrians Are Most at Risk

Generally, there is no one on the road that is at a higher risk of injury on Texas roads than pedestrians, for obvious reasons and also for reasons that might not be as readily apparent. Pedestrians obviously have less protection in the event of an accident, but they also are not able to access the tools for avoiding an accident that drivers have. For example, more and more electric cars are appearing on roads in recent years, which are advantageous for the environment but are much more dangerous for pedestrians due to their quiet operation.


Texas accident lawyerOne Austin woman witnessed a hit-and-run accident on October 8, 2017, and instead of ignoring it, she acted - she followed the car for miles on her moped, eventually getting close enough to write down a plate number. The driver was arrested and charged with intoxication assault with a vehicle, and is awaiting trial as of this writing. While it is rare to see Good Samaritans like this woman, it is sadly less uncommon to see hit-and-run accidents, especially if substances like drugs or alcohol are involved.

Criminal Charges in Texas

In Texas, hit-and-run is referred to in law as the charge of leaving the scene of an accident, and it is either a second or third degree felony if injury or death has occurred, depending on the specific nature of events. It can be a difficult cause of action to bring, if only because many times, witnesses or surveillance footage does not exist - many hit and runs occur at night - or because hit-and-run victims are commonly painted as being complicit in their own injuries. However, the same rules apply as would apply for any felony, meaning that evidence proving the requisite intent (or failure to comply) is still what matters.


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

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