Austin Personal Injury Blog

Texas Lawmakers Seek Higher Penalties for Hit-And-Run

Posted By The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC || 8-Apr-2013

Hit-and-run car accidents are a serious problem in Texas. Not only do hit-and-run drivers fail to take responsibility for their actions, but by not staying at the scene to render aid, they make it all the more likely that their victims will die or suffer serious injuries.

Many hit-and-run drivers in Texas are drunk drivers who flee the scene because they are afraid of getting a DUI. By leaving the scene, they make it impossible for law enforcement to determine their blood alcohol content at the time of the crash.

This session, the Texas Legislature is considering legislation that lawmakers hope will help put a stop to this trend. The bill took a major step forward last week, when it was passed by a unanimous vote of the Texas Senate.

The bill strengthens the penalties for failure to stop and render aid, putting them on the same level as those for intoxication manslaughter. If the bill becomes law, both crimes will be second degree felonies that can be punished by up to 20 years in prison. Under current law, failure to stop and render aid is a third degree felony that can be punished by up to 10 years in prison.

The new law could be of significant benefit in Austin, where many residents choose to commute on foot or by bike. In 2012, there were 393 hit-and-run accidents in Austin, more than 45 of which resulted in fatalities.

Texas Hit-and-Run Lawsuits

Of course, it is important to remember that criminal charges are not the only way for victims to seek justice after hit-and-run car accidents.

Hit-run-drivers can be held accountable in civil lawsuits, where they may be required to pay financial compensation to their victims. If the at-fault driver in a hit-and-run accident cannot be found, victims may be able to seek compensation under their own uninsured motorist policies.

Our Austin personal injury attorneys at The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC can help the victims of Texas hit-and-run accidents and other car wrecks. For a free case review to discuss your options, please contact us today.

Source: YNN, "Texas Senate unanimously approves tougher hit-and-run penalties," LeAnn Wallace, April 2, 2012.

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