What Happens if a Truck Driver Leaves the Scene of an Accident?

What Happens if a Truck Driver Leaves the Scene of an Accident
What Happens if a Truck Driver Leaves the Scene of an Accident?

Truck accidents cause immense devastation, and the aftermath heavily affects those involved. The only thing that makes the entire situation worse is when a truck driver flees the scene after a collision.

In the wake of a hit and run with a commercial truck, victims are often left wondering, "What happens if a truck driver leaves the scene of an accident?" 

Fortunately, many laws and regulations can hold truck drivers accountable for fleeing the scene of an accident. 

Empower yourself as a victim and gain a comprehensive understanding of the laws and regulations that hold truck drivers accountable for fleeing the scene of an accident. 

This knowledge will not only help you navigate the legal process but also enable you to seek justice for any damages or injuries sustained. Contact a seasoned truck accident attorney to pursue your case.

What Causes Truck Accidents?

Why Do Truck Drivers Hit and Run?

Truck operators are under immense pressure to meet strict deadlines and may feel inclined to flee the scene to avoid potential consequences or delays.

Additionally, some trucking companies may encourage their drivers to flee accidents to protect their reputations and avoid legal repercussions. This unethical behavior further exacerbates the issue and puts innocent victims at risk.

In some cases, drivers may flee the scene after an accident because they know they are at fault and they fear facing the consequences. Others may panic in the heat of the moment and make a split-second decision to leave.

Irrespective of the circumstances, leaving the scene of a truck accident is not just a moral transgression but also a criminal act. 

It's crucial to contact a personal injury law firm to explore your options and ensure truck drivers are held responsible for their actions.

Types of Hit and Run Accidents

Types of Hit and Run Accidents

Anyone can be involved in a hit and run with a commercial truck.

Some common types of hit and run accidents include:

  • Rear-end collisions: These usually happen at intersections when a truck driver rear-ends another vehicle and then flees the scene.
  • Side-swipe accidents: When a truck driver hits the side of another vehicle and continues driving without stopping.
  • Pedestrian or cyclist accidents: Due to their size and weight, it is easy for a truck driver to hit a pedestrian or cyclist and not even realize it.
  • Fender-benders: When a truck driver hits another vehicle, causing minor damage, and then drives away.

Though not invariably fatal, any of these accidents can cause serious injuries that cost hundreds of thousands or millions over a lifetime to treat

That's why you need a truck accident lawyer immediately, regardless of the accident's severity. They can assess the damages and determine the most effective path towards recovering compensation.

Where Do Hit and Run Truck Accidents Occur?

Where Do Hit and Run Truck Accidents Occur

Just as anyone is at risk of getting involved in a hit and run truck accident, these accidents also happen almost anywhere.

However, there are certain locations where they may be more likely to occur:

  • Intersections: It is easy for a truck driver to hit another vehicle while turning or merging at an intersection and then continue driving without stopping.
  • Highways: With higher speeds and heavy traffic, accidents on highways involving trucks can be more dangerous and lead to drivers fleeing the scene to avoid liability.
  • Residential areas: With more pedestrians, cyclists, and smaller vehicles on the road, truck drivers may be more tempted to flee the scene of an accident in a residential area where there are fewer witnesses.
  • Parking lots: With people and vehicles constantly moving, it may be easier for a truck driver to hit another vehicle or pedestrian in a parking lot and leave unnoticed.

It doesn't matter why or where a truck driver chooses to leave the scene of an accident. What matters is you can hold them accountable for their actions and the damage they caused.

All states have strict laws about hit and run accidents, and truck drivers are not exempt from these laws. Truck drivers may face even harsher penalties due to the potential for more significant damages in a commercial truck accident.

For example, in Minnesota, truck drivers must stay at the scene of an accident and provide assistance and information to those involved. Failure to do so can result in a felony charge, with penalties including hefty fines and possible jail time.

In North Dakota, a truck driver who leaves the scene of an accident that results in serious bodily injury or death can face up to five or more years in prison and $10,000+ in fines.

In Wisconsin, a hit and run with a commercial truck can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, with penalties including up to one or more years in prison and $10,000+ in fines.

These penalties don't include compensatory damages for negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts. Hit and run truck drivers may also face civil lawsuits from victims seeking compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Common Hit and Run Truck Accident Injuries

Truck drivers fleeing the scene don't just break the law.

They also deprive victims of getting emergency assistance to help combat life-threatening injuries such as:

  • Spinal cord damage: Severe truck accidents can cause spinal cord injuries. These injuries severely limit mobility, earning potential, and quality of life.
  • Traumatic brain injuries: Truck accidents can lead to head trauma, which in turn can result in traumatic brain injuries. This may cause cognitive and physical impairment that may have long-lasting effects on a victim's life.
  • Internal organ damage: The force of impact from a truck accident can cause internal bleeding and organ damage that requires immediate medical attention. When drivers flee the scene, injured victims lose vital time to receive necessary medical treatment. 
  • Broken bones: The impact of a truck accident can cause severe fractures and broken bones, which may require surgery and extensive rehabilitation. Without proper medical care, these injuries can result in permanent disability and ongoing pain.
  • Neck and back injuries: Whiplash, herniated discs, and other neck and back injuries are common in truck accidents. These types of injuries can lead to chronic pain and limited mobility.

In addition to extreme physical injuries, hit and run truck accidents can also cause significant emotional distress. Getting hit by a commercial truck is shocking enough, but the violation of having the driver flee the scene can cause immense emotional trauma and stress, especially if left with catastrophic injuries at the scene.

No matter the damages sustained after a truck driver flees the scene of an accident, contact a personal injury attorney who can hold the responsible parties liable for their actions. 

Hit and Run Truck Accidents: Do You Have A Personal Injury Claim?

Hit and Run Truck Accidents: Do You Have A Personal Injury Claim

Even if not at fault, many states have adopted policies that make the fleeing driver responsible for damages. This means that even if a victim contributed to the accident, they may still seek compensation from the hit and run truck driver. 

However, multiple circumstances could affect the success of a personal injury claim in a hit and run truck accident, including:

  • The ability to locate the driver: It may be difficult to pursue legal action if the driver cannot be identified or found.
  • Evidence of negligence: It is vital to gather evidence supporting negligence on the truck driver's behalf. This can include witness statements, police reports, and surveillance footage.
  • Severity of injuries: To pursue a personal injury claim, the victim must have sustained injuries that require medical treatment and result in financial loss.
  • Time limitations: Each state has a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim. Act quickly and consult an attorney to protect your rights.

Even if you don't think you can meet these requirements, it is still worth speaking to a personal injury attorney to discuss your options. They can review your case, apply their knowledge and resources, and determine the best legal options for seeking justice and compensation.

How Much Is My Truck Accident Hit and Run Case Worth?

An experienced truck accident lawyer can easily determine the exact value of a hit and run truck accident case.

The worth of your case will depend on:

  • The extent and severity of injuries sustained
  • Medical expenses, including current and future costs
  • Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering endured as a result of the accident
  • Any property damage to vehicles or other personal property
  • Emotional distress and trauma caused by the hit and run 
  • Any other damages or losses incurred as a result of the accident

While compensation amounts based on these factors vary from state to state, typical costs after a hit and run truck accident include:

  • Medical expenses. When adding the average costs of emergency care, overnight hospital stays, specialist treatment, surgery, and ongoing care, medical expenses can easily reach $100,000+. In the event of paralysis or a TBI, lifetime medical total expenditures often exceed $3+ million.
  • Lost earning potential or income. This one is easier to calculate, at least on the surface. Considering the average salary in the USA is $59,384, a few months out of work could total up to $20,000 in lost wages and millions over a lifetime.
  • Pain and suffering. Assigning a monetary value to this type of damage is challenging but important for obtaining fair compensation. Some states have no cap on these damages, while others limit them to a specific amount related to compensatory economic damages. For some states, this could obtain one to three times the amount received.
  • Punitive damages. In cases of gross negligence, the court may award punitive damages to punish the responsible party and deter similar actions. These damages are typically significant and can significantly increase the overall value of a hit and run truck accident case.

To determine the potential value of your hit and run truck accident case, it is best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can assess all aspects of your damages and build a strong case for maximum compensation. They will also handle all negotiations with insurance companies and fight for your rights in court if necessary. 

What to Do After a Hit and Run Truck Accident?

Call a truck accident lawyer.

Your first step after a hit and run truck accident should be to call a personal injury attorney with experience handling these cases. They can provide legal advice, guide you through the process, and help you take the necessary steps to protect your rights and seek compensation for your damages.

Seek further medical attention.

Even if you do not feel injured immediately after the accident, it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries may not be apparent immediately, and delaying treatment could worsen your condition and potentially harm your chances of receiving fair compensation.

Gather evidence.

If you can do so safely, try to gather as much evidence from the accident scene as possible. This can include taking photos or videos of the vehicles involved, getting contact information from witnesses, and collecting other relevant documents or information.

Report the accident.

Even if it seems like there is nothing to report due to the hit and run aspect, it is important to still call the police and report the accident. They can create an official record of the incident, which can be helpful for your case. 

Leave all communication to your personal injury lawyer.

Insurance companies will often try to contact victims shortly after the accident to settle for a lower amount or avoid legal action. It is important to refrain from communicating with them and leave all negotiations and communication to your personal injury attorney. They will consider your best interests and can handle these matters effectively.

Getting into any accident is terrible, but it can feel even more overwhelming and frustrating when a truck driver flees the scene after a crash or collision. Fortunately, you have rights when it comes to seeking justice and compensation for your damages. 

Don't let the stress of a hit and run truck accident consume you. Seek help from a Madison personal injury lawyer who can provide comprehensive and compassionate legal support to protect your rights and recover what's needed to move forward.