How Long Do Hit and Run Investigations Take?
Posted on Wednesday, November 15th, 2023 at 9:00 am
Few types of car accidents in Texas provoke the anger and frustration that comes with a hit-and-run. The other driver hit your car, but you’re the one left to face the consequences. As the police search for the driver who fled, you might wonder how long hit-and-run investigations take in Beaumont. After all, you need compensation for medical bills and car repairs, and you shouldn’t have to pay for those losses yourself.
At Portner Bond, PLLC, we understand how aggravating it is to wait while the police investigate a hit-and-run. Our Beaumont hit-and-run accident lawyers made this guide to help you learn more about these complex cases.
Steps in a Texas Hit and Run Investigation
Knowing the basic steps in a hit-and-run investigation can help you gauge how long your case might take. Those steps include:
- The Initial Accident Report: The sooner you notify the police, the higher the chances of finding the culprit. Call 911, report the incident, and relay any information you remember about the driver who hit you and their vehicle.
- Gathering Evidence: Once the police arrive on the scene, they’ll collect photos, look for surveillance cameras, interview witnesses, and gather other evidence.
- Locating the Vehicle: After completing their initial investigation, the police will use their accumulated evidence to find the fleeing vehicle. They might check nearby traffic cameras or ask locals for information.
- Checking Local Repair Shops: Sometimes, the guilty party might attempt to fix their vehicle to hide evidence. Police might visit local auto shops to find them.
- Public Appeal: In some cases, law enforcement might use local media to ask the public for help identifying the hit-and-run driver.
- Legal Action: Assuming the police identify and capture the driver who fled, that driver can face legal consequences. In addition to a personal injury claim, they may face criminal prosecution by local authorities.
How a Beaumont Hit and Run Accident Attorney Can Aid an Investigation
An experienced car accident attorney can be a crucial asset in a hit-and-run investigation. Here’s how:
- Private Investigators: While the police have many tools at their disposal, attorneys can hire private investigators who specialize in these cases. They can provide an extra layer of scrutiny and assist in identifying the driver who fled.
- Access to Expert Witnesses: Our lawyers have a network of professionals who can help with hit-and-run crash investigations. These professionals, from medical experts to accident reconstructionists, can provide insights that the police might overlook.
- Gathering Additional Evidence: Your attorney can revisit the accident site, locate more witnesses, or find additional surveillance footage that the police might have missed.
- Advocacy for Victims: An attorney can push for a more thorough investigation and help your voice be heard.
How Long Do the Police Search for Hit-and-Run Drivers?
One critical question for those injured in hit-and-run crashes is how long the police will search for the driver. The answer varies and depends on several factors. The amount and clarity of evidence at hand, for instance, is a pivotal factor in the timeline of a crash investigation. If there’s clear video footage or reliable eyewitness descriptions, the search will likely go faster. Conversely, limited or unclear evidence might extend the investigation’s duration.
The accident’s severity also plays a role. Cases involving severe injuries or fatalities usually receive heightened attention and a more sustained effort.
Another consideration is the police department’s caseload. With multiple ongoing cases, police might not have the resources and time to track down a single driver. Conversely, if a case gains significant media attention, it might benefit from more extended scrutiny due to increased public interest.
Anyone injured in a hit-and-run should expect regular updates from the police, at least during the initial period after the accident. The police will likely contact them for details of the collision, and they might call multiple times as the investigation progresses. However, updates from the police might diminish if leads become scarce.
Finally, it’s essential to remember that the investigation’s length has no fixed standard. While some cases see resolutions in mere days, others stretch over months.
For hit-and-run victims, staying proactive is key. Regularly contacting the police and seeking the support of an attorney can make a significant difference.
What if the Police Never Find the Hit and Run Driver?
Texas law clearly states that drivers must stop after any accident with damage to an attended vehicle, injuries, or fatalities. In an ideal world, the police would always find hit-and-run drivers quickly and make sure they see justice. Unfortunately, the real world does not work that way, and the police sometimes fail to identify or catch the perpetrator. When the police fail to catch a hit-and-run driver, it leaves injured drivers and passengers in a difficult spot.
If the police cannot find a hit-and-run driver, one option drivers have to recover compensation is their uninsured motorist coverage. If the police cannot find the driver who fled, the insurance company treats the crash like an uninsured motorist accident. Therefore, drivers who opt to purchase uninsured motorist coverage can file a claim with their insurer and recover some compensation for their losses. However, while Texas requires all auto insurers in the state to offer uninsured motorist coverage, vehicle owners are not required to purchase it.
Drivers who don’t have uninsured motorist coverage are in a tough spot after a hit-and-run. They can use their health insurance or other types of insurance to cover their losses, but their insurance likely will not cover everything. They may have to pay some expenses out of their own pocket, which could lead to significant financial losses.
Contact a Beaumont, TX, Hit and Run Lawyer Now
The hit-and-run accident attorneys of Portner Bond, PLLC know how aggravating these cases are and what’s at stake for you. Our team can assist the police in their investigation and take steps to help you recover reasonable compensation. Whether the police catch the driver who fled or not, you can count on us to protect your interests. Call (409) 838-4444 now or reach out online for a free case evaluation.