What are consequences, if any, for fleeing scene of accident and reporting it a mile down the road?

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What are consequences, if any, for fleeing scene of accident and reporting it a mile down the road?

My husband had what was thought to be a hit and run accident. We filed a claim with our insurance co; it was being processed as hit and run. The other driver filed against our insurance co a few days later stating that my husband ran a red light and left the scene. This is untrue; our van was not driveable and had to be towed and the police officer took my husband and passenger to the police station to wait for a ride. Other driver gave her report about a mile away; report clearly states this was not the scene of the accident. There were closer places to stop. What next?

Asked on August 31, 2011 Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In TX, hit and run is a criminal charge when one does not stop after an auto accident involving death, injury or property damage.  In TX, hit and run/leaving the scene of an accident can range from a misdemeanor to a felony depending on the amount of damage or injury.  TX Transportation Code requires that in an accident involving damage to an occupied vehicle, one must stop as close as possible without obstructing traffic, render aid, provide personal information and show driver's license if requested.  Failure to do so can result in arrest and being held until seeing a judge.  Hit and run involving damage to an occupied vehicle is a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500 if the damage to all vehicles is less than $200.  It is a Class B misdemeanor with up to six months in jail if the damage is more than $200.

The police report in your case will state the cause of the accident and the party who was at fault.  You can file your property damage claim with the other driver's insurance.  If the other driver does not have insurance, your husband can file a claim with his insurance company if he has uninsured motorist coverage. 

If your husband was injured in the accident, when he completes his medical treatment and is released by the doctor or is declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means he has reached a point where no further improvement is anticipated, he should then obtain his medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of any wage loss.  His personal injury claim is separate from the property damage claim.  The personal injury claim will consist of the medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of his injuries and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If your husband is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, he can reject those offers and sue the at-fault driver for negligence.  If the case is settled, no lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled, the lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your husband will lose his rights forever in the matter.

If the other driver did not have insurance and if your husband did not have uninsured motorist coverage, there won't be any claims filed with the insurance company.  In that case, your husband will need to sue the at-fault driver for negligence.  Since people driving without insurance usually have few if any assets, if your husband prevails in the lawsuit, he should obtain a wage garnishment to enforce the judgment against the other driver. 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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