After you get involved in a car crash with another driver, you may want to safely pull over to the side of the road. This is so you and the other driver may exchange contact information and wait for the police to arrive. With this, you may be stunned upon realizing that the other driver is fleeing the scene. But you must remain on high alert, as your next few seconds of action are pivotal for your potential, future personal injury claim. Continue reading to learn what happens when a driver flees the scene of an accident and how an experienced Kaufman County, Texas car accident lawyer at Harrell & Paulson, LLP can help you fight back.
Is It Illegal to Flee the Scene of An Accident?
Technically, in the state of Texas, it is illegal for a driver to flee the scene after being involved in an accident. More specifically, if a driver flees when the victim has incurred serious bodily injuries or a wrongful death, this may be considered a third-degree felony offense. This means penalties such as fines of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment of two to 10 years.
In addition, it may still be a felony offense if the victim suffered less severe bodily injuries. This may lead to fines of up to $5,000 and imprisonment of one to five years. These criminal penalties may go hand-in-hand with the financial compensation they owe you in your personal injury claim.
Say that your car was hit when you were not occupying it. In a case like this, the at-fault driver is legally responsible for making a reasonable effort to contact you. This may mean waiting for you to return to your car or leaving a note with their contact information.
What Should I Do when A Driver Flees the Scene of My Car Accident?
You should not chase down the fleeing driver, as you do not want to go against any laws, as well. Plus, it may be unsafe to drive your damaged car, along with the possibility that the fleeing driver may be dangerous. You should leave the chase down to the police, and instead take the following approach:
Quickly jot down the make, model, color, license plate number, etc. of the negligent driver’s car.
Quickly jot down the sex, race, hair type/color, clothing type/color, etc. of the negligent driver.
Quickly call 911 and relay these identifiable characteristics to the dispatcher.
Quickly track down present witnesses and ask if they captured any photos/videos of your accident playing out, along with their willingness to give a statement.
Speak with the police officer who arrives at the scene and recount to them how you remember your accident playing out.
You must take the initiative and reach out to a skilled Kaufman, Texas personal injury attorney at your earliest possible convenience. Our team at Harrell & Paulson, LLP will be happy to serve you.