What Are Texas Hit and Run Laws?
Traffic laws in Texas forbid motorists from leaving the accident scene after a crash. The offense constitutes a hit-and-run offense. Drivers can face Class B misdemeanor charges if they leave an accident scene with more than $200 in property damage.
If the accident led to serious bodily injury or death of another person, drivers could be found guilty of a third-degree felony. If you or your loved one were involved in a hit-and-run accident, you might wonder how to recover compensation from the at-fault party. A knowledgeable San Antonio road accident lawyer can provide legal support in pursuing your rights.
Why Do Drivers Flee the Accident Scene?
The penalties for causing an accident can be severe upon conviction. Drivers know this too well and usually flee the accident scene to evade the legal consequences of causing an accident. Others run away because they’re uninsured, which is against the law.
Some other common reasons why hit-and-run drivers flee an accident scene are:
- Fleeing from law enforcement
- Being involved in criminal activity
- Driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs
Identifying a driver responsible for a hit-and-run accident can be complex. Luckily, an experienced San Antonio auto accident lawyer can evaluate your case with the help of police officers to bring the at-fault drive to book.
What is the Process of Investigating a Hit-and-Run Accident in Texas?
As a hit-and-run accident victim, not knowing the at-fault driver can be stressful. If the driver can be found, your auto accident attorney in San Antonio can help you pursue compensation for your damages. However, there are significant questions, such as why the driver fled the scene. Police officers can investigate the case in the following steps to help you find answers:
Securing the Accident Scene
The first step in investigating a car accident is securing the accident scene to protect those involved and give emergency responders room to work. They also control traffic by rerouting it to avoid additional collisions. Once the scene is secure, police officers gather crucial information that could point them to identifying the at-fault party.
They examine the vehicle, check it for pre-existing damage, and estimate the impact force. Crucial factors they look at are skid marks, fluid spills, and debris on the road to understand how the collision happened. Depending on various circumstances, they may also use the expertise of accident reconstruction experts to calculate the vehicles’ speed.
Interviewing Drivers and Witnesses
Other drivers and witnesses will likely be at the accident scene after the crash. Police officers will ask them specific questions concerning what happened before and during the accident to determine the cause of the crash. They will ask about speed, weather conditions, distractions, traffic signals, and other accident-related factors.
The aim is to collect objective facts to help them reconstruct what happened. Through their experience and expertise, officers can find the accident’s cause and the at-fault party’s liability. These details can help your auto accident attorney in San Antonio create a strong case as you pursue compensation for the damages.
Collecting Evidence from the Accident Scene
An investigation is only complete with documentation of physical evidence from the scene. Convicting a driver who caused a hit-and-run accident depends on the evidence collected, so police officers must thoroughly investigate the accident. Some common types of evidence that police officers collect in hit-and-run accident cases include:
- Photos and videos of the accident scene
- Skidmark evidence from the tires on the roadway
- Evidence of paint from the vehicle that caused the crash
- Eye witness testimony
- Police and first-responder testimony
- Expert witness
Apart from the evidence collected at the accident scene, additional evidence is crucial in helping your San Antonio auto accident attorney create a strong case:
- Your medical records proving the injuries you sustained in the accident
- Employer evidence to prove the wages you lost due to being injured in the accident
- A journal of your recovery journey during and after treatment.
This evidence comes later, and your lawyer can advise on how to preserve it. Establishing the extent of the damages you sustained in the accident is crucial.
Analyzing Vehicle Damage
Police officers will thoroughly examine the vehicle damage and where the vehicles came to rest after the impact. The dents, scratches, and debris on and around the cars can provide clues about the speed, angle, or crash. The residue may contain pieces of the at-fault driver’s vehicle that can give officers more leads to get to them.
With such evidence, the police can look for the hit-and-run vehicle. They can access public records and other documentation pointing them to the vehicle that hit you. This is information you may not get on your own. An aggressive auto accident lawyer in San Antonio can push the officers to pursue the at-fault driver to help you file a claim.
A Skilled Auto Accident Lawyer in Texas Investigating Your Hit-and-Run Accident
The possibility of recovering compensation after a hit-and-run accident can be low unless you have compelling evidence. Police officers can investigate the accident and collect evidence that points them to the at-fault party. Evidence from nearby security cameras, dash cams, and businesses can help police officers identify the at-fault driver. The testimony of other drivers and witnesses is also crucial.
Once they have investigated the accident, the evidence they collect can help your personal injury lawyers in San Antonio pursue compensation on your behalf. The Law Offices of Matthew S. Norris hosts skilled auto accident lawyers who can help you in your hit-and-run case. They can work closely with police officers to identify the liable party. Call us at (210) 361-3393 to schedule a FREE consultation.