Car accidents are unfortunately common on the streets of Dallas. Some drivers will choose to run away rather than meet their legal obligations to deal with the consequences of an accident. If you were hit by another driver who then fled the scene, you should be aware of the law that governs your situation and how you can recover for your injuries.
Hit and runs are criminalized in Texas. Drivers may be charged with a litany of crimes if they choose to leave the scene without exchanging contact and insurance information with the other drivers and passengers involved. Hit and runs typically occur because the other driver had no license or a license suspension, has other outstanding legal issues, or got scared and panicked. You should always call 911 and seek medical attention immediately after a hit and run accident.
If another driver caused an accident that left you injured, you deserve compensation. The experienced Dallas car accident lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. may be able to help you recover for your injuries even if the other driver left you stranded at the scene of the accident. To schedule your free consultation, call our offices today at (817) 476-1797.
Hit and Run Laws in Dallas
Texas law requires that all drivers who are involved in accidents take certain steps immediately after the accident if they are physically capable. Drivers must remain at the scene where the accident occurred. If the other vehicle involved had a driver, the drivers must exchange contact and insurance information before departing. If the other vehicle is parked or unoccupied, the driver should take reasonable measures to attempt to locate the owner of the vehicle. If this fails, the driver must leave a note with the damaged vehicle that provides a description of what happened and includes the driver’s name and contact information.
These responsibilities are required by law. Therefore, a driver who fails to abide by them subjects themselves to criminal charges for a hit and run. A Dallas hit and run could be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the accident and the damage caused. A court can issue an arrest warrant for a suspect in a hit and run.
If charged and convicted, the following are the potential penalties for a hit and run in Dallas:
- Class C misdemeanor carries a fine up to $500.
- Class B misdemeanor carries up to six months in prison time.
- Felony hit and run could carry up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Third-degree felony could mean up to ten years in prison.
Causes of Hit and Run Accidents in Dallas
Despite the steep penalties associated with hit and runs in Dallas, many drivers still attempt to evade their responsibilities after an accident. This is because the consequences of having police called to the scene of an accident can be much more substantial for drivers in certain cases. Examples of these situations include the following:
- The driver does not have the requisite car insurance coverage.
- The driver has a suspended or revoked license.
- The driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The driver has an outstanding warrant for their arrest.
- The driver is in a car that is stolen or that they do not have permission to drive.
- The driver gets scared that they may have caused a death or serious harm and panics.
What to Do After a Hit and Run in Dallas
If you were injured in a car accident and the other driver took off and left you stranded, there are a few steps that you can take in the immediate aftermath that can benefit you in the long run. While these situations can unfold quickly, being aware of what you can do can make the difference between a sizeable recovery and getting stuck with the cost of your recovery.
Take Pictures and Video
If you believe that the other driver is attempting to flee the scene, try to get pictures of the driver, their vehicle, and their license plate. You should also attempt to get picture evidence of the damage to your vehicle and the surrounding area, but this can wait until later.
Anytime another driver causes your car accident, you should call the authorities to come out and write up a police report, even if the other driver tells you not to. If your calling 911 causes the other driver to flee the scene, provide the dispatcher with a description of the driver, the vehicle, and as much of the license plate as you can remember. The dispatcher will instruct units in the surrounding area to search for the hit and run driver and can send paramedics to help you with any injuries that you or any passengers may have sustained.
Speak to Witnesses
Even if you did not get a good look at the other driver or vehicle before they fled, others nearby might have had a better perspective than you. Eyewitnesses can be helpful in identifying the responsible party as well as establishing fault for the accident. These critical witnesses can be hard to track down after they leave the scene of the accident if you do not obtain contact information on the scene.
Get Medical Care
Once the police have arrived and begun their investigation, you are free to leave and seek diagnosis and treatment for your injuries. Even if you do not believe that you have been injured, you should still visit the emergency room. Many common car accident injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and internal bleeding, may not present themselves immediately but can become life-threatening if gone untreated.
Get Legal Help with Your Recovery for a Hit and Run Accident in Dallas
The dedicated Dallas car accident attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. offer free consultations to all new clients who are curious about their legal options for injury compensation. To hear more, call us at (817) 476-1797.