If you’re involved in a car accident, it’s your hope that the other party stops their vehicle and remains on the scene to exchange information and speak with the police.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Hit and run accidents remain a major problem in Texas, with people fleeing the scene for reasons such as:
- They are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and don’t want to go to jail;
- They were texting and driving (or engaging in some other form of distracted driving);
- They have a warrant out for their arrest;
- They don’t have a valid driver’s license;
- They’re worried about their insurance premium increasing;
- They’re driving uninsured.
If you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident, never attempt to chase down the fleeing driver. Here are the steps you should take instead:
- Pull over to a safe location
- Assess your injuries and damage to your vehicle
- Call the police to report the accident
- Provide any information that can help the officer identify the fleeing driver (like their license plate number) and speak with any nearby witnesses who saw the hit-and-run.
- Receive medical attention
- File a claim with your car insurance company
After the police report has been filed and you’ve received immediate medical attention, consult with an experienced Corpus Christi car accident attorney who can explain your options for obtaining compensation for your hit-and-run case.
Does insurance cover hit-and-run accidents in Texas?
Texas law requires residents to carry insurance when operating a motor vehicle but when it comes to hit-and-run accidents, you may have concerns about what is and isn’t covered under your policy.
According to the Texas Department of Insurance, hit-and-run accidents can be covered by uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage. This is a type of coverage that all insurance companies must offer you, although you can choose to decline it must be done in writing. So the key here is purchasing the right type of coverage.
Also, keep in mind that this uninsured motorist coverage won’t cover your hit-and-run accident if you didn’t report it to the police (generally within 24 hours). Yet another reason to stay at the scene and speak with responding officers.
If the police are ultimately unable to locate the hit-and-run driver, you can file a claim with your own insurance company to help cover the costs of your car repairs and medical bills.
However, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage does have its dollar limits, so your insurance company will only pay up to a certain amount. Also, you may have to pay out-of-pocket (a “deductible”) before your UM/UIM coverage kicks in.
It’s bad enough that you can’t hold the hit-and-run driver responsible for your accident. When you have to file a claim with your own insurance, you may be wondering, “Will a hit-and-run claim raise my insurance?”
You can breathe a sigh of relief because generally, your insurance premium will not increase if you file a hit-and-run claim. However, if your own negligence contributed in any way to the accident, your insurance company may try to use that to raise your rates.
Other types of insurance coverage that can help in a hit-and-run accident
As noted above, uninsured/underinsurance motorist coverage can help cover costs if you’re a victim of a hit-and-run accident in Texas.
However, if your UM/UIM policy limits aren’t enough to cover all the expenses of your hit-and-run accident, there are other types of coverage that can help with the difference:
It’s likely that your vehicle will require repairs as a result of the accident. Depending on the severity of the damage, a complete replacement may be necessary. Collision coverage will give you peace of mind.
Should your accident result in injuries that require medical attention, this coverage will provide compensation for medical bills.
Not only does this pay for your and your passenger’s medical bills, but it can also cover lost wages. In Texas, all policies include PIP coverage. You have to opt-out if you don’t want it.
Review your policy to make sure you’re covered for your hit-and-run accident. And if you’re in the market for a new policy, consider adding all of the above. Skimping on car insurance coverage to save a few dollars is a big risk. If you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident, you may not have the coverage you need to recover your losses.
Our Corpus Christi car accident lawyers can guide you in a hit-and-run accident
Established in 1960, The Burkett Law Firm has three generations of Corpus Christi car accident lawyers and decades of experience helping injured Texans receive the compensation they need after an accident.
At The Burkett Law Firm, it’s not just a case-it’s your life. Don’t be a victim of a hit-and-run. Give us a call or contact us online to schedule your free consultation and discuss your legal options today.