Last year, a driver of a pickup truck allegedly caused a hit-and-run accident leading to the death of a popular staffer at University of Texas. The victim rode his bicycle with a biking group most mornings. According to Texas Monthly, the truck hit the bike rider so hard he flew over the cab of the truck and into the bed of the vehicle.
The truck fled the scene and turned off the lights to evade a witness to the crash who was following the truck. The driver of the truck claimed he did not know what he had hit. When he saw the body in the back of his truck, he reportedly went to a nursery and asked someone he knew how to get rid of a body. The man at the nursery kicked the driver off his property and contacted police. Several hours later, the truck driver and a passenger were arrested by police near a drainage ditch, where they were trying to dispose of the body.
This situation was unusual because the crash victim ended up going with the driver who hit him, rather than most hit-and-runs where drivers simply leave injured or deceased victims at the scene. However, while the particular circumstances were unique, hit-and-runs are far too common - especially with bicycle riders and pedestrians. Texas Monthly reports there are no accurate statistics regarding total hit-and-runs in Texas, but nationwide data shows as many as 20 percent of all pedestrian accidents involve hit-and-run drivers.
What to do after a Texas hit-and-run
If you are injured in a hit-and-run or if someone you love is killed, you can try to recover compensation for injuries or wrongful death damages. If the driver who caused the collision can be found, you should pursue a claim against the driver just as you would under any other liable party. You'll have to show the person who you are making a claim against was actually the one involved in the crash. Because police investigate hit-and-runs, you'll usually have evidence from law enforcement to help demonstrate the driver you've made your claim against is the one responsible for hurting you.
When the driver who caused the accident is never found, you can't sue him. You can try to turn to your own insurer, if you have coverage. Texas only requires liability insurance (insurance paying out to others after a policyholder causes an accident). However, many drivers buy more than the required coverage. If uninsured motorist coverage is purchased, a claim can be made and your insurer will stand in for the hit-and-run driver (uninsured motorist policies obviously also cover cases where a driver is found but has no insurance). You may also have optional collision or injury coverage as part of your automobile insurance policy. If so, an attorney can help you deal with your insurance provider to negotiate a reasonable amount of compensation for your losses.