Wichita Falls Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer
As a Wichita Falls hit-and-run accident lawyer, our firm has had the unfortunate pleasure of assisting victims of accidents where the person who caused the crash flees the scene. Although it is illegal to flee the scene of an accident, it happens much more than you can imagine. Would you believe that there is an average of approximately 682,000 hit-and-run crashes per year? That’s right, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, from 2006 to 2016, there was an average of 682,000 hit-and-run accident and in 2015 alone there was a total of 737,000. That means that in the United States there was a hit-and-run accident every 43 seconds.
There are some common questions that spring up when these types of situations happen. If you’ve been in a wreck and the person who caused the wreck leaves the scene, you may have the following questions:
- How do I prove the accident I was in wasn’t my fault?
- How do I find the person who caused the accident?
- Who is responsible for my damages (i.e., medical bills, lost wages, property damage)?
- Will I be penalized and charged a deductible for my property damage?
- Is my claim even worth pursuing?
Regardless of if you’re in Wichita Falls or anywhere else in Texas or Oklahoma, if you’ve been in a hit-and-run accident, these questions have probably come to mind. And these questions are in addition to all the other medical, financial, legal, and insurance questions that arise from being injured in a car accident. Car wrecks can really turn someone’s life upside down, leaving them in constant pain, not able to work, and with medical bills piling up.
The biggest question after a hit-and-run accident is how to hold those who are responsible accountable when you have no idea who they are? This is an important question for these all-too-common accidents.
Our Wichita Falls Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer’s Helpful Tips
Hit-and-run accidents may seem like a grim, hopeless situation, but it isn’t always. There is good news and that is that there are methods to recover for your losses after a hit-and-run accident under Texas and Oklahoma law. Below are our tips for what you need to know regarding hit-and-run accidents in Texas and Oklahoma.
1. Finding the Hit-and-Run Driver
Finding the hit-and-run driver is not an easy task, but with the help of professionals, it can be done. Your best bet at finding the at-fault driver and bringing them to justice is to collect and provide as much information as possible to the police and to your attorney. That information includes:
- Vehicle information
- License plate number
- All names and contact information of witnesses who saw the accident
- Accurate and precise date, time, and location of the wreck. There may be security cameras from nearby business that contain video footage of the accident and the fleeing vehicle. This can be extremely helpful in identifying, locating, and bringing the suspect to justice.
2. Utilizing Your Own Insurance Company
In the cases where you cannot locate the driver who caused the accident and hit your vehicle, you should contact your own insurance company and file a claim. In Texas and Oklahoma, for hit-and-run accidents where the at-fault driver has left the scene of the accident, your insurance company may be required to cover both the cost of/repair of your vehicle and your medical bills.
There are a few types of auto insurance coverage that are critical in exactly these types of situations: All these coverages are optional in both Texas and Oklahoma, but they are all good options that offer extra protection on the road and are extremely beneficial in these types of situations.
Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) Motorist Coverage
UM/UIM can help cover some of the costs associated with your accident.
When you don’t know who the person is that caused the accident, you can’t file a claim with their insurance company, so you must rely on your own insurance company. Although you may be forced to pay the deductible that’s in your policy, that can be recovered later if the at-fault driver is found.
In Texas, there are two types of UM/UIM policies:
- Bodily Injury – Covers medical bills, partial or permanent disability, disfigurement, physical pain and suffering, and lost wages
- Property Damage – Covers auto repairs, rental car costs, and damages to item within your car such as seas or other devices within the car like a GPS
In Oklahoma, however, UM/UIM only covers bodily injury and does not cover property damage.
In both states, this coverage must be offered by insurance companies, but customers can reject it if they wish.
Medical Payments (MedPay) Coverage
MedPay can help pay some of your initial medical bills regardless of who is at-fault for the accident, so this type of coverage would be helpful in hit-and-run accidents.
In both Texas and Oklahoma, MedPay is optional, but it is not required.
If you utilize MedPay, you have to send your medical bills to your insurance company, and they will pay those bills up to the policy limit you hold.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
PIP is similar to MedPay but it will also cover nonmedical costs such as ambulance services, rehab, funeral services, and lost income. However, PIP does not cover property damage so you will not be able to repair your vehicle with this coverage.
In Texas, insurance companies are required to offer PIP, but customers are free to reject it.
Oklahoma does not offer PIP coverage.
If you utilize PIP, you have to send your medical bills to your insurance company, and they will pay those bills up to the policy limit you hold.
Collision can pay to repair or replace your vehicle regardless of who was at fault, so this coverage would be good for hit-and-run accidents.
In both Texas and Oklahoma, this coverage is optional, but it would be a good idea to have it.
3. Getting Reimbursed for Your Deductible
If the driver is located after you have been charged a deductible, you should receive compensation for that payment. Additionally, your insurance company may seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company in a legal process known as subrogation.
In Texas, UM and MedPay are subject to subrogation, but PIP is not.
In Oklahoma, UM is subject to subrogation, but MedPay is not.
When hit-and-run accidents occur and the at-fault driver leaves the scene of the accident, punitive damages may arise. Consequently, you may be entitled to more compensation than the actual amount you paid as the deductible. Our Wichita Falls car wreck lawyer can help guide you through this and other issues, answering all of your questions along the way, so feel free to contact us at 940-569-4000 or fill out our contact form for a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation.
4. Our Wichita Falls Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer Can Help You
An experienced car accident attorney who has handled hundreds of similar cases can be invaluable in getting the fair and complete compensation you deserve after a hit-and-run car accident. Our Wichita Falls car wreck lawyer can utilize experts and private investigators to obtain the evidence that is needed to prove your case and properly negotiate with the insurance companies.
We can lift the burden and stress that is caused by a hit-and-run crash off your shoulders, so you can focus on what is important: tending to your injuries and getting back to normal. Our legal team is standing by ready to assist you in the midst of the complex and confusing chaos that ensues after a hit-and-run accident.
Contact our Wichita Falls Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyer Today
If you or someone you know has been involved in a hit-and-run accident in Wichita Falls or anywhere else in Texas or Oklahoma, please contact us today by calling 940-569-4000 or filling out our contact form to set up a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation. We are happy to listen to you and answer all of your questions.
You should also consider downloading the PDF of our free book, The Traveler’s Guide to the Universe of Personal Injury. This book is packed with helpful tips and useful information related to personal injury claims.
Regardless of what you decide to do, it is important that you act fast. All injury claims have deadlines called a statute of limitations. And besides that, the longer you wait, the more the evidence you have backing you becomes stale. Your failure to take action could deflate your case and leave you with little or no recovery, so don’t wait!