All drivers are required by law to stop when involved in a traffic accident. In Texas, this is required whether the collision involved injury or property damage. Depending upon the degree of damage or injury, this offense can range from a misdemeanor to a felony. According to the Texas Transportation Code, every person is required to stop and take certain steps following a collision that results in injury or property damage. If an accident involves injury or death, a person must stop, return to the scene to render aid and provide personal contact information. If an accident involves damage to an occupied vehicle with no injury, a person stops and provide personal contact information. In an accident involving damage to an unoccupied vehicle, a person must stop and locate the driver or owner if possible to provide contact information, and in the alternative leave a note providing circumstances of the accident and contact information. If an accident is severe, it is necessary to contact the police for assistance.
If a person is involved in an accident in which a driver does not follow these requirements and leaves the scene, a plaintiff is afforded the opportunity in a lawsuit to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are damages available to a plaintiff in a situation where the defendant either intentionally or recklessly causes harm. A plaintiff would be entitled to economic damages that compensate for medical expenses relating to the accident, and possibly non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and lost employment wages. Persons involved in a hit and run accidents are usually left with no other option but to collect from their own insurance policies until the responsible party is forced to pay damages. This is another great reason to make sure that your insurance policy contains uninsured motorist protection. Please do not hesitate to call the Pinkerton Law Firm if you think you may have been the victim of a hit and run accident. Our experienced personal injury lawyers will pursue all available avenues of recovery to ensure the person responsible is found and brought to justice.