What to Do if You’re the Victim of A Hit-And-Run
On the morning of February 25, a silver vehicle (possibly a four-door) was speeding down the eastbound lanes of Highway 64, west of County Road 413 on the western edge of Tyler. The driver used the westbound lane to pass traffic, forcing another vehicle (a Mazda) to swerve in order to avoid the silver vehicle.
The driver of the Mazda lost control, swerving into the eastbound traffic and crashing into another vehicle before behing hit by a cargo van. The silver vehicle that caused the accident continued on Highway 64 toward Tyler, failing to stop. Texas DPS is asking for the public’s help in finding the person responsible for this hit-and-run accident.
Here are the most important things to do if you you’re the victim of a hit-and-run auto accident.
What is considered a hit-and-run accident?
An accident is considered a hit-and-run accident when a driver involved in an accident intentionally flees the scene without providing contact information. In the case of this Tyler accident, the driver caused a serious accident involving 3 other cars but did not stop to provide any contact information, making this a hit-and-run accident.
In Texas, a hit-and-run offense can range from a misdemeanor to a felony.
What do you do if you’re hit and the driver flees?
The most important thing is to make sure the passengers in your car, including yourself, aren’t seriously injured. Try to get as much information about the fleeing vehicle as possible; here are some details that can helpful for police officers:
- Type of vehicle (sedan, SUV, convertible, etc.)
- Color of vehicle
- Model of vehicle (Nissan Altima, Toyota Highlander, etc.)
- License plate number
Call the Police Immediately
It’s important that you call the police as soon as possible after you’ve ensured everyone is okay. An insurance company can deny your claim if you don’t call the police to the scene of the accident or report the accident within 24 hours.
Do not, under any circumstances, try to pursue the hit-and-run driver. The driver could be armed and dangerous and you would compromise the evidence of the accident.
Get Witnesses’ Accounts
If you can safely exit your vehicle and talk to witnesses, ask them for their names, contact information, and their account of the accident. They may be able to provide insight into the hit-and-run driver or the vehicle. Make sure to provide police with this information if the witnesses leave; a police officer interview any witnesses who remain at the scene to include in the report.
Take the same actions as you would if the driver had stayed
Make sure to follow all of the steps that you would in an accident where the driver remained at the scene.
- Take pictures of the accident
- Collect witnesses’ accounts
- Call the police to the accident or file a hit-and-run report within 24 hours
- File a claim with insurance as soon as possible
If the police are able to find the person responsible for the hit-and-run, you can file the claim with their insurance. If they’re uninsured or if the police cannot find the person responsible, you can file with your own insurance. Texas allows hit-and-run accidents to be claimed under uninsured motorists protection.
An automobile accident is traumatic enough without the person responsible for causing the crash fleeing the scene. As the tragic crash in Tyler shows us, not everyone will stop.
If you have been injured in an automobile accident by a hit-and-run driver, contact Colley & Colley law firm in Tyler, Texas for a free consultation. We are dedicated to providing East Texas with the best legal counsel.