Grimes & Fertitta, P.C.

Texas hit-and-run laws and guidelines

Being involved in any kind of pedestrian accident with a vehicle can result in serious and even fatal injuries. And unfortunately for too many accident victims across the state of Texas, the severity of their injuries is compounded by the fact that they are left unattended at the incident site because the driver in the collision has fled the scene. Recently enacted Texas state statutes strictly prohibit hit-and-run collisions, increasing the penalties associated with these types of traffic offenses.

The laws.com website provides a general overview of hit-and-run automobile collisions. Typically, a motorist can be held liable for leaving the scene of an accident even if the incident did not result in any injuries. Texas law enforcement authorities consider the vast majority of hit-and-run offenses to be serious because they undermine state guidelines mandating that parties involved in an accident exchange liability insurance and contact information. Beyond that, leaving the scene of an accident without properly reporting it or seeking emergency assistance can have a profound impact on the nature and severity of injuries sustained by victims involved.

In 2013, the Texas Tribune reported on the passage of two laws addressing penalties for hit-and-run incidents. The new statutes increased the level of offense for failing to stop in an accident and render aid, as well as causing a hit-and-run fatality collision. Now, failing to remain at the site of an accident can result in a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. The offense of causing a fatal hit-and-run accident has been increased from a third-degree to second-degree felony, and carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The legal penalty is equal to that of intoxicated manslaughter. Not only are the heightened penalties intended to deter motorists from fleeing accident scenes but they are also hoped to save the lives of accident victims who would otherwise be left alone with serious and potentially fatal injuries.

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