A teenager bicycle rider riding home from his girlfriend's house was hit and killed in Texas this summer. Houston.com reported the driver was in a dark-colored pickup truck. He struck the young man on his bicycle and then drove away from the crash scene. Local patrol officers and social media helped law enforcement officers identify and locate a person of interest suspected to be the driver who fled the scene. Officials said the Internet had made it possible to find a "vehicle with damage consistent with the scene and descriptions given by witnesses."
Social media is increasingly being used by law enforcement to find drivers who fail to follow Texas laws requiring motorists to stop if they cause accidents leading to property damage, injury, or death. Whether a hit-and-run driver is ever found can have a major impact on how victims and their family members handle a hit-and-run claim.
How to Handle a Hit-and-Run Claim
After a hit-and-run, victims and their families should cooperate with local police as much as possible. Law enforcement officers can often find drivers who cause accidents and leave after the collision. Smartphones have made it possible for witnesses to record crashes and drivers leaving accident scenes, while both new and traditional media can be used to ask for information on damaged vehicles or drivers with injuries who may have fled after the accident. The more information provided to police about the make, model, and color of the vehicle or about the vehicle's license plate, the easier it is for police to find the driver who fled the scene.
If the driver who fled the accident scene is found, it is necessary to determine if the motorist has insurance. Liability coverage is required by Texas law, so the hit-and-run driver should have coverage. If so, crash victims or their surviving family members may pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Police reports and witnesses from the crash scene can provide evidence to show the hit-and-run driver should be held liable for the collision. The driver's insurer may accept fault and a settlement will be reached. If no settlement is reached, the driver can be sued and the insurer would pay a judgment, up to policy limits.
Unfortunately, despite the requirement drivers have insurance, some fail to obey the laws and buy minimum coverage. Not having insurance is one common reason why drivers hit-and-run. If the driver who fled your accident scene has no coverage, you could try to file a lawsuit against the motorist personally. If you win, you can use enforcement mechanisms like garnishing wages or putting a lien on the defendant's property in order to try to get paid. In some circumstances, however, the driver has no money or income. He can be said to be judgment proof since there's virtually no way to enforce a judgment against him. This situation makes it difficult for collision victims to get compensation.
Some crash victims have purchased optional uninsured motorist coverage. If you have this coverage on your auto insurance policy, you can make a claim with your own insurer to get compensation after a hit-and-run. Speaking with an experienced Houston auto accident attorney can best protect your rights in the wake of a serious or fatal traffic collision.
Accident lawyers in Houston can help after your injury. Call today at (800) 632-9404 or visit https://www.h-nlaw.com to schedule your free consultation with Hagood & Neumann. Serving clients in Houston, Galveston, Alvin and throughout Texas.