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New bill could affect personal injury cases in Houston

The Texas legislature is working on passing a bill slated to increase the hit-and-run penalty for any driver who is convicted of failing to stop and administer aid to someone that they have hit. The Texas Senate has already passed Senate Bill 275 unanimously. Before the bill can become law, however, it must also garner the approval of the House of Representatives before being signed into law by the governor.

Recently, a Texas woman fled a car accident scene that involved the death of a local artist who was renowned in the Houston area. The woman was subsequently sentenced to eight years in prison, which is two years less than the maximum allowable sentence in Texas. The deceased was traveling on a motorcycle around 9:15 pm on August 11, 2012 when the woman rear-ended his bike with her Ford Fusion, and the man died the next day.

  - Article By Richard Weaver

The hit-and-run driver fled the accident scene on foot but was later arrested. On March 22, 2013, she entered a guilty plea involving a third-degree felony that could have gotten her two to 10 years plus as much as a $10,000 fine. If SB 275 had been in effect at the time of her conviction, she could have received 20 years, which is the same as for manslaughter or intoxication. This is quite significant since many cases that involve failure to render aid are also alcohol related.

For citizens of Texas, the passing of SB 275 could mean good news because the bill could make drivers think twice before fleeing the scene of an accident. For hit-and-run victims, a personal injury lawyer may be able to assist with proper legal action, especially when catastrophic injuries are sustained.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Texas hit-and-run bill could take away motivation for drunk drivers to flee," Carol Christian April 3, 2013

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