The legal consequences of a hit and run


It is considered a hit and run when a crash occurs and a driver involved in the crash leaves the scene of the accident before exchanging documents with the affected parties. The penalties for a hit and run vary from state to state and can be quite serious. Under Texas law, a person who crashes into another car, person or property, is required to stop. If the person flees from the scene, he can be charged with a hit and run.

It is important to note that it doesn’t matter who caused the accident. The violation is committed simply by leaving the accident scene. Most states do not consider it to be a case of hit and run if you must leave the scene of an accident for emergency reasons – for example, going to a nearby place to get a better cell phone reception, as long as you immediately return to the accident scene.

If you commit an accident where another person suffers injuries, it is your legal obligation to help. This includes calling for help and providing the necessary information to request medical service. You must also report the accident to the authorities.

If you collide with a parked car or private property, the law dictates that you must locate the owner and exchange information. If you’re not able to locate the affected party, you should contact the police and file a report. Another option is to leave a note with your information and an explanation of the facts of the accident.

The exchange of documentation refers to the information necessary to help resolve the situation. Remember that the exchange occurs in a mutual way. The main information to be exchanged is the following:

-Full name

-Name and address of your insurance company

-Insurance policy number

-Driver license number

-Vehicle Identification

Felonies and Misdemeanors

A hit and run from the scene can also be an aggravating factor depending on the severity of the accident and your criminal and driving record. Criminal penalties for a hit and run vary from state to state. Texas classifies criminal penalties for a hit and run as felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the circumstances.

a) Felonies

Include bodily harm or death of a person from a hit and run. In this case, the defendant can be sentenced to several years in prison. Likewise, a considerable fine in the thousands of dollars can be assigned for compensation for the family.

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may also suspend your license and add points to your driving record.

The penalties for a hit and run can be quite serious. Most states impose fines between $5,000 and $20,000. There is also a very real potential for imprisonment as punishment for a hit and run.

The person who commits a serious crime that includes the death of someone else must report the accident immediately, either to the police or to the Texas Highway Patrol (THP). Your legal situation may worsen if you do not do this.

b) Misdemeanors

Includes a wide range of minor crash accidents related to a hit and run. In these events there are no physical injuries to people and damages to private property are minimal.

The penalties for these crimes are less severe. However, they may include fines, up to 6 months in jail, and restitution payments to the affected person.

Depending on the state where the crash occurred, and the nature and circumstances of the car accident in which you were involved, the penalty for a hit and run may include a lifetime suspension of your driver’s license. These administrative sanctions are in addition to any criminal punishment that may be imposed for the crime of hit and run.

Legal representation

If you were hit by an at fault driver who then fled the scene, it is important that you find a lawyer who can advise you on the proper process. A Texas lawyer can try and help speed up the process and enter into negotiations with the at fault driver’s insurance company (or your own insurance company, if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage).

The lawyer may be able to write a settlement letter to try and force the insurance company to work faster on your claim in the face of the threat of legal action. A Texas lawyer can fight for hit and run accident case and can advise you when to end negotiations and file a lawsuit.

Contact our motor vehicle accident lawyers at 832-481-3427. Get in touch with us immediately so we can evaluate your case for free.  We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also fill out a form by clicking here.

PMR Law is considered one of the Best Law Firms of America, by Rue Ratings.  Several of our attorneys have been given the honor of being named Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters.   The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has named our attorneys 10 Best in Client Satisfaction.    Speaking of personal injury, Attorney and Practice Magazine awarded our attorneys with Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney distinctions. The National Trial Lawyers, as well as the American Academy of Attorneys, have named two of our attorneys as Top 40 Under 40.  Our attorneys have been recognized as Best Attorneys of America, by Rue Ratings.   PMR Law is a proud member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocate Forum.