Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Leaving the scene of an accident is what is called a ‘hit and run’. In Texas it can range from a class C misdemeanor all the way up to a 2nd degree felony. A class C misdemeanor if punishable by a fine of up to $500 and a 2nd degree felony is punishable by up to a $10,000 fine and 20 years in prison if death resulted.

Duty on Striking an Unattended Vehicle Texas

Texas Transportation Code Section 550.024 requires a driver who strikes an unattended vehicle to stop, find, and give that owner the name and address of the operator and the owner of the vehicle that struck the unattended vehicle. If the unattended vehicle owner is not around then leave a written notice giving the name and address of the operator and the owner of the vehicle that struck the unattended vehicle and a statement of the circumstances of the collision.

Leaving the scene without leaving information is a crime. If the damage is less than $200 it is a class C misdemeanor and if more than $200 it is a class B misdemeanor.

Duty on Striking Fixture

Texas Transportation Code Section 550.025 addresses striking a structure, fixture or highway landscape. If damage is done adjacent to a highway the law requires the operator to notify the owner or person in charge of the property of the accident and of the operator’s name and address and the registration number of the vehicle the operator was driving.

If there is injury or death, or there is damage to the extent of $1,000 or more the operator must make a report to the department of public safety within 10 days if law enforcement does not investigate the accident.

If the damage is less than $200 it is a class C misdemeanor and if more than $200 it is a class B misdemeanor to leave without providing the required information.

Accident Involving Personal Injury or Death Texas

Texas Transportation Code 550.021 directs the vehicle operator who is involved in an accident that resulted or is reasonably likely to result in injury or death to immediately stop at or as close to the scene as possible.

The operator must return to the scene and immediate determine whether a person requires aid. The operator shall not unnecessarily obstruct traffic.

The operator will be required to give their name, address and registration number of their vehicle and liability insurer to any person injured, an occupant or operator of the vehicle involved in the collision.

The operator of the vehicle that involved injury or death must provide any injured person reasonable assistance including transportation or arrangements for transportation to a physician or hospital. At a minimum the operator must remain at the scene until emergency personnel or someone who the driver knows is capable of providing medical assistance arrives.

What if I Didn’t Know I Hit Someone?

In a 2018 case Curry v. State, the Texas court of criminal appeals affirmed the trial court ruling that if someone is in an accident they must stop, investigate and determine whether a person was involved and render aid. The state need not prove that the defendant knew that another person was injured in the accident.

Hit and Run Dog Law Texas

Texas Penal Code Section 42.092 Cruelty to Non-livestock Animals makes it a crime to recklessly cause serious bodily injury or kill a domesticated animal in a cruel manner. It is also against the law to recklessly kill or cause serious bodily to a domesticated animal without the owner’s consent. A crime under this section is a 3rd degree felony and up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

A person also cannot cause a domesticated animal bodily injury without the owner’s consent. This is a class A misdemeanor and up to 1 year in jail and $4,000 fine.

What Accidents Do Police Do Reports On?

A law enforcement officer shall make a written report of the accident if the accident resulted in injury to or the death of a person or damage to the property of any one person to the apparent extent of $1,000 or more.

The report required by Subsection (a) must be filed electronically with the department of public safety not later than the 10th day after the date of the accident.

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Author: Eric Torberson

Eric Torberson is a licensed attorney in Texas as well as licensed in the federal courts of the southern and western districts of Texas.