Tracking Down a Hit-and-Run Tortfeasor in Texas
Police investigators very rarely bother to track down hit-and-run tortfeasors (negligent drivers). Only about 10 percent of hit-and-run drivers are caught and successfully prosecuted in criminal court. Usually, investigators have almost nothing to go on, except perhaps a vague vehicle description. Furthermore, they must climb a very high mountain. Prosecutors must establish guilt beyond all reasonable doubt.
Similarly, a Sugar Land hit and run accident lawyer often begins with little evidence. However, the burden of proof in a civil claim is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). In other words, the obstacle is a hill instead of a mountain, because a little proof goes a long way. Additionally, attorneys are committed to preserving the legal and financial rights of accident victims. That commitment makes a big difference as well.
Additional Witness Statements
As mentioned, hit-and-run cases are often no-witness cases, except for maybe the victim. Victims don’t need much evidence to meet the burden of proof, but they must have something.
Many hit-and-run crashes occur in busy areas. Therefore, in most cases, some people saw something. However, for whatever reason, they didn’t loiter at the accident scene and give an official statement to a police officer.
As they recanvass the area looking for additional witnesses, Missouri City personal injury lawyers often partner with private investigators, mostly to cover more ground. People may be reluctant to speak with police officers. But they usually aren’t reluctant to speak with a victim’s attorney, especially if the victim was seriously injured or killed.
Witness credibility could be an issue in these cases. Attorneys must explain why the witness didn’t immediately come forward and account for the time gap between witnessing the event and giving a statement.
Surveillance Camera Footage
At least one, traffic, surveillance, or other camera covers almost every stretch of road in Greater Houston. Even if a camera doesn’t record the driver’s face or the entire license plate number, the camera footage could be the critical missing piece of the puzzle.
We mentioned the low standard of proof in civil cases above. This standard of evidence is a huge factor in this part of a hit-and-run case.
Assume no one sees a vehicle strike and kill a pedestrian. A few minutes later, a camera photographs a vehicle with front end-damage moving away from the accident scene. It’s more likely than not that the two vehicles were the same.
There’s more. Assume the camera records the last two digits of the license plate number. An attorney can use this limited information to locate the vehicle’s owner. Once again, it’s more likely than not that the owner was driving the vehicle at the time of the wreck.
Area Body Shops
This final area is closely related to additional witness statements. If a vehicle sustains damage in a hit-and-run case, the tortfeasor usually wants to get it fixed as soon as possible, to avoid suspicion. However, the owner cannot simply take the damaged car to Service King.
So, in these situations, owners usually take damaged vehicles to people who work on cars, take cash, and don’t ask questions.
Semi-legal body shop owners would never speak with police officers. In fact, police officers might not know where to find these places. But a personal injury attorney patiently works to find them. Once that happens, these owners usually share what they know.
Count on a Hard-Working Fort Bend County Attorney
Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Missouri City, contact the Henrietta Ezeoke Law Firm. We routinely handle matters throughout Southeast Texas.