When the other driver flees the scene of the accident, you will need first, to contact the police and tend to your medical needs, and second, to contact your auto insurance company. There are specific actions one must take after an accident.
A crash is a hit and run (driver fled after accident) if these things do not occur.
- No exchange of information
- Driver does not call the police or wait for the police to arrive
- Driver will not render aid: the driver isn’t expected to perform medically, but at the least, should call 911
If nobody can find the driver then your damages may be compensable via your insurance policy if you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM), an insurance to carry in addition to Texas minimum requirements.
UM/UIM for Hit-and-Run Accidents
Minimum liability insurance is mandatory for all drivers, but that doesn’t mean all drivers carry it. Many drivers drive illegally, stop paying insurance out of financial necessity, or have accidentally allowed it to lapse. UM/UIM protects you against other drivers’ irresponsible behavior in a car accident.
Uninsured motorist coverage is meant to reimburse you if the other driver doesn’t carry insurance. Similarly, underinsured motorist coverage reimburses you if your damages exceed the at-fault party’s insurance policy.
UM/UIM also kicks in for injuries in a hit-and-run accident. Most policies carry a $250 deductible. Note, UM/UIM is optional coverage for Texas drivers. You may or may not carry it. You will want to contact your insurance agent if you’re unsure of what your policy includes.
UM/UIM Covers These Damages
Most of your accident-related damages are compensable under UM/UIM, up to your policy’s limit. Below are a few examples.
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Rental car costs
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent/partial disability
Drivers Who Flee are Subject to Stiff Consequences
Texas provides stiff penalties for drivers who flee the scene of an auto accident. If the crash caused a serious injury or fatality, the charge is considered a third-degree felony, and the driver who fled will be subject to up to ten years in prison. Even if the accident only caused minor injuries, the driver can face a five-year prison sentence and $5,000 in fines.
Furthermore, if the driver is caught and detained, accident victims can file a civil suit in court to hold the driver financially responsible for their damages. This suit will be separate and distinct to any pending criminal cases.