In every state, truck drivers who are involved in an accident and leave the scene of that accident can face criminal charges. Leaving the scene compounds the physical and economic losses of those damaged in the event and puts an additional burden on law enforcement. For victims, figuring out how to secure compensation for damages is especially challenging in hit-and-run scenarios.
You do not have to face this challenge alone. An experienced hit-and-run truck accident lawyer from Isaacs & Isaacs will fight for you, pursuing all options so you receive the compensation you need.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident Is a Crime
Whether in an accident with another vehicle, pedestrian, or fixed object, truck drivers are required by law to remain at the scene and identify themselves (or leave contact information if the damaged vehicle is unoccupied) and render aid to the injured if possible.
If fleeing drivers are ultimately located, they can face state felony or misdemeanor criminal charges, depending on the circumstances of the accident and the harm caused to others. Drivers of commercial vehicles, such as semi-trucks, can also face federal charges as their actions violate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.
For first violations, truck drivers face a year-long suspension from operating commercial vehicles. The suspension increases to three years if they are transporting hazardous materials. If they incur a second violation, drivers face permanent revocation of their commercial licenses.
Why Drivers Leave the Scene
Despite the serious potential consequences, some truck drivers still leave the scene of an accident. Reasons include
- Fear of losing their livelihood with a license suspension
- Driving under the influence
- Panic and adrenaline
- Driving without adequate insurance
- Human error: they didn’t realize they had hit something
What to Do if You Are Involved in a Hit-and-Run Truck Accident
If you are in a hit-and-run accident with a truck or any vehicle, the immediate safety of you and your passengers takes priority. Your first action should be to call 911 if it is safe for you to do so.
If you have not sustained serious injuries and are able, take additional steps to help law enforcement locate the driver:
- Snap a picture or take a video of the truck.
- Record any of the truck’s identifying information: plate number, make and model, company name or logos, or type of cargo it carried.
- Collect contact information and/or helpful video, photos, or statements from witnesses.
- Report the accident and wait for authorities to arrive at the scene. Provide them with as much information about the accident, the truck, and its driver as possible.
- Call a hit-and-run truck accident lawyer from Isaacs & Isaacs. Do not speak to insurance adjustors about compensation without first consulting with a lawyer.
Get Medical Attention
Often, truck accidents cause major–even catastrophic–injuries such as brain injuries, spinal cord damage, shattered bones, burns, and amputations that require obvious emergency care. If you are fortunate enough to escape with what seem to be non-serious injuries, you must still follow up with a doctor. Sometimes, adrenaline and shock mask pain. Other times, the effects of serious injuries do not appear until later.
Delaying treatment can worsen your condition and hurt your attempts to collect compensation for medical care. Insurance companies, even your own, and at-fault parties (if located) can use your delay against you. They will likely claim the decision to put off treatment, and not the accident, caused your injuries.
Prompt medical attention and adherence to doctor’s orders will protect your health and strengthen your case.
How a Hit-and-Run Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You
After a truck accident, the damage to your body and property can leave you with physical and emotional pain. The injustice and lack of humanity shown in a hit-and-run make that pain worse.
When Hit-and-Run Truck Drivers Are Located
A hit-and-run truck accident lawyer will work to correct that injustice. Should law enforcement locate the driver, your lawyer has the connections, experience, and knowledge to gather comprehensive evidence to prove the driver left the scene, that their negligent or reckless behavior caused your injuries, and that they are responsible for paying damages. Evidence may include
- Witness statements
- Your medical reports and prognosis
- Statements from your loved ones and caregivers
- Truck damage and repair records
- Traffic or other surveillance camera footage
- Trucker logbooks
Your lawyer will also investigate additional parties who may hold culpability. For example, if the truck driver lost control of the vehicle because of a mechanical malfunction, your claim may include the part manufacturers. If a trucking company fails to confirm the driver’s qualifications, that company may also bear fault.
Finally, your lawyer will negotiate the highest settlement possible. As the victim of a criminal act and life-changing injuries, you need substantial financial compensation.
When Hit-and-Run Truck Drivers Are Not Located
It is more complicated to receive compensation when the at-fault driver is not located. However, there are still options, and a knowledgeable hit-and-run truck accident attorney will investigate them all. You can get coverage for medical expenses and lost wages from your own driver, personal injury, or uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance policies.
However, while these companies claim to represent and protect you, their priority is holding on to money, not giving it away. Your lawyer is the best person to handle communication with these insurance representatives, ensuring your policies are upheld and your needs are recognized.
Every state has a crime victim compensation fund, and a skilled hit-and-run truck accident lawyer will know of other organizations that may provide financial assistance. Your lawyer will guide you through the options, helping to determine your eligibility for this additional compensation.
A Hit-and-Run Truck Accident Lawyer Will Stay by Your Side
The driver who caused your injuries may have left the scene of the accident, but your hit-and-run truck accident lawyer from Isaacs & Isaacs will remain by your side throughout your case. Scheduling a free consultation is simple.
Click on our contact page to send an electronic message or call our office. We look forward to getting you the justice you deserve and the compensation you need to recover.