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Car accidents are more common in America than most people realize. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 42,795 Americans lost their lives in car accidents in 2022. In addition to these fatalities, numerous others have faced consequences such as increased insurance premiums and severe or life-altering injuries due to a car crash.
Minor fender-benders, moderate accidents, and severe collisions each present unique issues and legal challenges. Particularly concerning are hit-and-run incidents and encounters with phantom vehicles. These are situations where one party ignores either the legal or moral considerations following an accident, which adds layers of complexity to an already stressful situation.
If you have been injured in an auto accident in Houston that involved a hit-and-run driver, you are not alone. If the injury was caused by any of the millions of other reasons people get into car accidents, we can help. At DeHoyos Accident Attorneys, we make sure our clients are cared for by getting them the compensation they deserve. Call our Houston office today for a free consultation.
Hit-and-run accidents are where a driver flees the scene without providing assistance or identifying information. Unfortunately, these are alarmingly common in Houston. Similarly, phantom vehicle accidents involve a vehicle that causes an accident without making direct contact and then leaves the scene. This poses significant challenges for victims when they try to identify what happened. Both these incidents can leave victims feeling helpless and uncertain about their options for legal recourse. They may also worry about paying for car repairs or medical bills if no perpetrator is caught.
Texas is facing a growing crisis with hit-and-run accidents. We currently rank eighth in the U.S., and recent data shows a disturbing trend upward. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that in 2016, the U.S. saw a 60% increase in hit-and-run deaths from the previous report in 2009. Texas showed a 30% rise from 2015 to 2016 alone. The next time this study is conducted, the results may be even more alarming.
Contributing factors include drunk driving, and uninsured drivers. Drunk drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents and often flee the scene to avoid legal consequences. Uninsured drivers usually escape to dodge the financial responsibilities.
In 2021, Texas continued to grapple with severe traffic-related issues. Our state recorded nearly 5,000 auto accident fatalities, which is a 15% rise from 2020. There were almost 16,000 severe crashes, and about 20,000 Texans suffered life-changing injuries from all the accidents combined.
Drivers involved in an auto accident in Houston have both legal and moral obligations. Legally, they are required to stop, exchange information, and provide aid if necessary. Morally, there is a responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of all involved parties. Failing to meet these obligations, like in hit-and-run scenarios, can have serious legal consequences.
Under Texas Transportation Code Chapter 550, drivers must stop after an accident involving injury, death, vehicle damage, or damage to structures like mailboxes or landscaping. Failure to do so can lead to criminal penalties, and the severity of the penalty depends on the accident’s specifics.
A misdemeanor hit-and-run change involves only property damage and includes fines up to $500. A third-degree felony charge comes about when a person is injured but not very seriously. Penalties include up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
The next step up is a second-degree felony for serious bodily injury to a victim. After that, a first-degree felony means that the victim died as a result of the accident, and the driver fled the scene. These last two can result in fines totaling more than $10,000 and prison time ranging from 10 years to life.
Victims of auto accidents in Houston have several legal options available to them for receiving compensation and ensuring that the irresponsible driver is punished. Pursuing a personal injury claim is often the first step in seeking compensation after an accident.
A victim’s compensation can include vehicle repair, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and equipment installation costs if they become disabled. In cases involving hit-and-runs or phantom vehicles, identifying the at-fault party can be challenging but not impossible. With the help of law enforcement and legal investigators, you can find the justice you deserve.
In Texas, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance is a key component of auto insurance policies because it offers additional financial coverage for medical expenses and lost wages. This coverage applies regardless of who is at fault, so it’s helpful when you can’t find the responsible party.
Texas requires insurance companies to offer it with every auto policy, but we do not require individuals to purchase it. It is an optional form of protection that can greatly benefit the policyholder after an accident. PIP provides benefits regardless of who caused the accident, and it covers any passengers in the insured vehicle. The minimum coverage is $2,500, but higher limits can be purchased.
Houston offers various programs to support auto accident victims, including the Crime Victims Compensation Program. This initiative provides financial assistance to victims of violent crimes, including hit-and-run accidents. The program covers various crimes, including assault, family violence, kidnapping, child abuse, robbery, child sexual assault, homicide, sexual assault, and DWI incidents. It’s an excellent resource for any Houston resident in need.
Navigating the aftermath of an auto accident in Houston can be complicated. That’s why DeHoyos Accident Attorneys always guide victims through the process with a personalized touch. We can ensure your rights are protected, and you receive the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been in a hit-and-run accident in Texas, the right legal support can make all the difference. At DeHoyos Accident Attorneys, we make sure our clients are cared for, and their rights are protected. Call our Houston office today for a free consultation at (832) 745-4878.
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“As a client to this Law Firm, I found it to be rewarding base on their work ethics. With there expertise, knowledge, flexibility and being responsive to their client needs. They will see that their client receive the best outcome on there case. There are many people out there that have bad ideas about lawyers, but DeHoyos Accident Attorneys will make sure that you’re not stressed about anything pertaining to your case. I’ll recommend that you seek this Lawyer and Law Firm for any unraveling situation you might face.”
“I can’t say enough good things about DeHoyos Accident Attorneys! Mr. Ryan DeHoyos is extremely knowledgeable in his field of Personal Injury. I was injured in a motor vehicle accident last year and Mr. DeHoyos stopped at nothing to get me the compensation I deserved. He kept me updated on my case regularly and guided me to get the medical care I needed. Additionally, his staff is so kind and caring, especially Ashley… Thank you, DeHoyos Accident Attorneys for your professionalism in closing my case…and WINNING big!”