Texas Hit and Run LawsTexas takes its hit-and-run laws seriously—and never more so than when the hit-and-run driver leaves someone injured and with significantly damaged property. Driving is an immense responsibility. A driver’s obligation behind the wheel is to shoulder the responsibility with careful attention to the primary task of driving safely. When a driver not only neglects to drive safely but also fails to own up to any negligence,it’s especially egregious. In the great state of Texas, drivers who’re in accidents are required to stop and both render aid (when necessary) and exchange contact and insurance information. Leaving the scene of an accident (or engaging in a hit and run)—depending on the severity of the damage and injuries—can range from misdemeanor to felony charges. Every car accident is unique, and exacting just compensation from the insurance company involved can often prove complicated. This is never more true, however, than in a hit and run.
Why Drivers Leave the Scene of the AccidentHit and run accidents and their resultant injuries are on the rise, and the perpetrators of these dangerous accidents often claim to have a “good” reason for doing so. Drivers who make the monumentally dangerous decision to drive while impaired, drive distracted, drive aggressively, or drive with excessive speed are more likely to compound those bad choices by leaving the scene of the accident—in attempt to avoid facing the consequences. Let’s take a closer look. Impaired drivers - There’s not a driver in Houston who doesn’t understand the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Nevertheless, many drivers continue to do so. Impaired drivers endanger everyone with whom they share the road. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about one in every three traffic fatalities in the United States involves an impaired driver. Furthermore, the alcohol-involved traffic fatality rate in Texas exceeds the national rate. At the national level, 1.9 percent of drivers self-report driving after having had too much to drink, but at the state level, 2.1 percent of Texas drivers report having done so. Distracted drivers - The CDC shares startling statistics related to distracted driving—every day in the United States, nine people die and another 1,000 sustain injuries in car accidents that involve distracted drivers. When drivers engage in the lofty distraction of texting or otherwise interfacing with a smartphone, they take their eyes off the road for a minimum of five seconds at a time. When driving at 55 miles per hour, they effectively drive blind for the length of a football field. Distracted driving is characterized by any driving in which the driver fails to focus attention on the primary task of driving safely. Distractions are classified in three distinct categories, which include visual distractions that engage the driver’s vision, manual distractions that engage the driver’s hands, and cognitive distractions that engage the driver’s thoughts. Smartphone use manages to take the cake by engaging all three distractions in one activity. When you take to the streets of Houston, take a break from your cell—there’s time to reconnect later. Aggressive drivers - We’ve all seen aggressive drivers on the roads, and they’re nothing if not scary. Aggressive driving takes many forms, and it usually includes combining any number of bad driving techniques:
- Changing lanes improperly or unsafely (weaving in and out of traffic)
- Passing improperly, including on the shoulder
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Failing to follow traffic signals, lights, controls, and signs
- These drivers face greater risk of losing control of their cars.
- These drivers increase the severity of any accidents that they’re involved in, and they thereby amplify any resulting physical, emotional, and financial damages.
- These drivers diminish the effectiveness of the occupant protection devices in their vehicles, including the seatbelts and airbags.
Serious Injuries and Their ConsequencesA hit and run driver can leave you injured in any number of ways, but several serious injuries are worthy of a closer look: Traumatic brain injuries - Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are exceedingly dangerous, and the ongoing recovery process can take years. TBIs are usually caused by a forceful blow to the head or by the violent shaking of the head. These injuries can lead to pronounced physical, cognitive, emotional, psychological, sensory, and behavioral complications. Because they damage the body’s very command center—the brain—TBIs are highly unpredictable, and their victims often face lifetimes of equally unpredictable negative effects. Spinal cord injuries - Spinal cord injuries are serious—even a minor spinal cord injury is likely to produce extreme pain and hysical debilitation. These injuries occur when the vertebrae, ligaments, or discs in the spinal cord, or the spinal cord itself, suffer damage. Together, your spinal cord and brain make up your body’s central nervous system, which controls your coordinated movements and physical sensations. As such, a serious spinal cord injury can lead to partial or complete paralysis. Whiplash - Whiplash is a soft tissue injury of the neck that’s caused when the head whips back and forth on the neck (much like the cracking of a whip). These injuries have a bad reputation as easy to fake (think courtroom dramedies), but there’s nothing at all funny about the serious pain and physical limitations they can cause in real life. Whiplash can range from mild to extremely severe, and they can come on suddenly with the impact of an accident or build slowly with time. Furthermore, these injuries can take a long time to heal and sometimes become chronic conditions. Breaks and sprains - Broken bones and sprained ligaments are often extremely painful, and while they usually heal well with proper treatment and time, they can lead to complications that amount to serious negative health consequences.
Your Hit and Run ClaimIf car accidents can upset anyone, hit and run accidents are worse. After all, someone else’s negligence caused your injury, and that person didn’t have the decency to stop and provide aid or even to exchange insurance information. If you were left injured in a hit and run accident, contact an attorney to assist you in seeking compensation for your extensive comprehensive damages. In addition to medical expenses—including emergency transportation and care, surgery and aftercare, medical appointments and treatments, ongoing care, physical therapy, prescription medications, and any necessary physical adaptations—consider a host of other damages. Lost hours at work will cost you. If the injuries you incur in the accident diminish your earning potential, you can take another serious fiscal hit. These financial damages, however, don’t even touch on the emotional consequences of a hit and run accident, which can overwhelm anyone.
The Insurance CompanyIf a hit and run accident has left you injured, you’re going to deal with your own insurance company—since the other driver and therefore their car insurance policy are AWOL. Your insurance company, though you purchased an insurance policy to protect you in just such a situation, is first and foremost in the business of making money for themselves. That means keeping its payouts—including yours—as low as possible. In the best of times, insurance companies are loath to pay out, and they become especially truculent with hit and run drivers. Your claim is far too important to leave to the vagaries of the insurance company—you need an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle your claim. It’s difficult to put too fine a point on what an insurance company will do in its efforts to deny your claim or minimize your settlement. In Tricks of the Trade: How Insurance Companies Deny, Delay, Confuse and Refuse, the American Association for Justice reports on exactly how low many insurance companies will go to keep from justly compensating you for the damages you incur in an accident. This includes well-known companies that spend billions of advertising dollars to gain your trust. Some of their techniques—denying claims outright, delaying claims and payments, and confusing claimants with incomprehensible insurance doublespeak—are extremely heavy-handed. In other words, i’s bad. At Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, in Houston, we make it our business to stay on top of the insurance company involved. Your rights and your rightful compensation are too important not to do so.
If You Were Injured in a Hit and Run Accident, Consult a Skilled Houston Car Accident Attorney TodayHouston is an exciting, vital city, and part of that vitality translates into traffic—lots and lots of traffic. With heavy traffic comes traffic accidents, and sometimes these accidents are caused by the negligence of a driver who doesn’t even bother to stop. Hit and run accidents are especially upsetting, and their claims are especially difficult to handle. The nationally recognized legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers has dedicated itself to protecting the rights of hit and run victims for decades, and we’re not afraid to take on the insurance companies. Our Houston personal injury attorneys are here to help you, so please contact or call us right now at 800-898-4877 to schedule an evaluation of your case. Don't Take Chances - Let Us Help You!
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