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

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

A truck driver leaving the scene of an accident can lead to severe legal consequences and significant financial, professional, and ethical implications. Truck drivers, their employers, insurers, and, of course, the victims of such accidents need to understand these repercussions.

Contact A Lawyer

Depending on an accident's severity, the legal implications can range from misdemeanors to felonies. The penalties could include significant fines, suspension or revocation of the driver's license, and possible imprisonment. State laws differ; some may impose harsher penalties than others, especially when injuries or fatalities occur. If you're a victim, consulting a Philadelphia Hit and Run accident attorney can help you navigate the legal process and seek compensation for your injuries and damages.

The Role of Insurance Companies in Hit and Run Accidents

Insurance companies usually increase the premiums of a truck driver who has been in a hit and run incident. This could lead to financial strain for the driver or the company and also to legal penalties. Uninsured motorist coverage can provide some aid to the victim, but it does not absolve the driver from their responsibilities.

The Consequences for the Trucking Company

When a truck driver is in a hit and run, the trucking company may face legal liabilities, severe damage to its reputation, and potential loss of business.

The Aftermath for Hit and Run Accident Victims

Experienced Lawyers for hit and run truck accidents in Philadelphia, PA area

For victims of a hit and run accident involving a truck, the aftereffects can be overwhelming. The financial toll is often astronomical, with immediate costs, such as hospital bills, medication, and vehicle repair or replacement.

Victims may also face long-term economic burdens from ongoing medical treatment, physical therapy, and potential loss of income due to their inability to work because of their injuries.

The emotional effects of such an accident are equally distressing. Victims may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and other psychological conditions resulting from the trauma of the incident. The emotional healing process can be as lengthy and challenging as the physical recovery, often requiring professional psychological support and treatment.

The implications go beyond the victims themselves. Their families may also suffer emotionally and financially, having to oversee and support the victim's recovery while dealing with their own emotional trauma from the incident. The effects of a hit and run accident involving a truck are thus far-reaching, touching all aspects of a victim's life.

Financial Compensation for Hit and Run Accident Victims

Hit-and-run accident victims should also know that their settlement can have compensatory and punitive elements.

Compensatory damages aim to make the victim whole again and include medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and emotional distress. These damages are in two categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages

These damages refer to tangible costs relating to the accident, including medical bills, property damage, lost income, and future care costs.

A proficient attorney determines economic damages by closely assessing the current and predicted expenses stemming from the accident. They start by evaluating the immediate financial repercussions, which includes medical bills and the cost of rehabilitating from injuries, along with the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property.

A thorough calculation of economic damages should also consider potential future expenses. These could involve the costs of long-term medical care or rehabilitation services if your injuries require ongoing treatment. They might also include an estimation of future lost income if you are temporarily or permanently unable to return to work or if you're unable to perform the same job as before the accident. The loss of income can be significant.

An attorney can consult medical experts and economists to project these future costs. They can thus seek full and fair compensation that reflects the financial implications of the accident. This can be a complex task requiring specific experience, which underscores the importance of hiring an attorney in hit and run accident cases.

Non-Economic Damages

These damages are intangible costs and may vary greatly from case to case. They include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.

To calculate non-economic damages, attorneys factor in the subjective experiences of the victim. These include the mental anguish, emotional distress, inconvenience, and diminished quality of life the victim has suffered due to the accident.

Because these damages are inherently personal and subjective, there's no numerical formula to calculate them directly. Each case is unique, and the amount you can claim for non-economic damages may vary significantly.

Determining non-economic damages often involves documenting the victim's experiences in great detail. This documentation includes medical records diagnosing and treating any psychological conditions relating to the accident, bills for psychological counseling, and personal accounts of the victim's daily life and activities before and after the accident.

Gathering personal testaments from close relatives, friends, or co-workers who can attest to your changed demeanor, lifestyle, or capabilities after the accident can also be beneficial.

Insurance companies, unfortunately, may attempt to downplay these non-economic damages. They might argue that you exaggerated your emotional distress and mental anguish or that the accident didn't directly cause this suffering.

They could also contest the extent of your pain and suffering by referencing the absence of objective medical evidence. A seasoned attorney can effectively argue against this tactic, substantiate your claims, and work towards securing the maximum possible settlement.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, on the other hand, do not compensate the victim but punish the defendant and deter similar harmful or egregious behavior. You might hold a trucker who drove under the influence liable for punitive damages.

Contact a reputable attorney immediately after an incident. An experienced personal injury lawyer can guide you through the claim process and seek a fair settlement.

Attorneys Work on Behalf of Hit and Run Accident Victims

In the aftermath of a hit and run accident, an attorney plays a pivotal role in initiating and conducting a thorough investigation. They work with professional accident reconstruction experts to piece together the events that led to the accident.

This could involve visiting the accident scene, identifying potential surveillance cameras that may have captured the incident, and gathering physical evidence, such as tire marks or vehicle fragments.

They may also reach out to potential witnesses to the incident. Witness accounts can provide valuable insights about the accident and help corroborate your narrative. Witnesses can sometimes even provide crucial leads on the hit and run driver's identity or their vehicle.

Lawyers also analyze medical reports to accurately calculate the full extent of your damages. All these efforts contribute to building a robust case that substantiates the victim's claim and helps them secure fair compensation.

A lawyer can expertly handle the negotiations with insurance companies, who often try to minimize their payouts. Lawyers thus pursue the maximum compensation possible for their clients' injuries and damages.

Hit and Run Truck Accidents: FAQ

How Long Do I Have To File a Personal Injury Claim After a Hit and Run Accident?

The exact statute of limitations can vary greatly depending on your location and the specifics of your case. That's why it's always advisable to hire an attorney and initiate legal proceedings as soon as possible following an incident.

The sooner your attorney files, the fresher the evidence is and the easier it becomes to track down witnesses and gather other crucial evidence. If you fail to file before the statute of limitations expires, you may forfeit your right to seek compensation for your injuries and damages entirely, regardless of their severity.

Can I Still Get a Settlement Even if They Never Find the Truck Driver?

Yes, even if they never find the truck driver who caused the hit and run accident, you could still receive a settlement to cover your damages. Your truck accident attorney in Philadelphia may have other avenues for compensation.

Your Own Insurance Company

If you have uninsured motorist coverage, for instance, you could use that to pay for your treatment and cover the cost of damage to your vehicle. If you have collision coverage, you could use it for repairing or replacing your vehicle. In many jurisdictions, the victim's insurance company may have to step in as if they were the at-fault driver's insurer, covering damages and injuries.

The regulations governing this process can vary from state to state, and navigating the insurance claim can be complex. Having a skilled attorney, therefore, is invaluable.

A knowledgeable attorney can ensure the protection of your rights while seeking compensation on your behalf. And if someone eventually identifies and apprehends the hit and run truck driver, your attorney could then initiate legal proceedings against them to seek further compensation.

Negligent Third Parties

An attorney also has experience identifying and establishing negligence that extends beyond the immediate at-fault party to other entities, such as local government bodies or companies responsible for road maintenance or signage.

If, for instance, an accident occurred because overgrown foliage obscured a stop sign or a traffic light was malfunctioning, the city authority or the company responsible for maintaining those signs may be partially responsible for the accident due to negligence. Poor road conditions, such as potholes or lack of proper lighting, can also contribute to accidents. The entity responsible for road maintenance may share the blame in these cases.

This process involves gathering evidence of the poor road conditions, proving that the responsible party was aware, or should have been aware, of the issues, and showing how it directly contributed to your accident. This can be a complex task, but it widens the scope of compensation and holds all negligent parties accountable.

An attorney may consult traffic engineers or accident reconstruction experts, review maintenance records and logs, and gather photographic evidence or witness testimonies. This comprehensive investigation can significantly strengthen your case and increase the chances of a successful outcome.

How Long Does It Take To Settle a Hit and Run Accident Claim?

The timeline for settling a hit and run claim can vary widely from case to case, primarily depending on the nature of the evidence, the complexities of gathering said evidence, and the specifics of the accident. If an investigation is necessary, which is often the case in hit and run accidents, settling can take an extended time.

Locating a hit and run truck driver can sometimes be lengthy, with investigators needing to sift through surveillance footage, witness testimonies, and physical evidence. The complexity increases if multiple defendants share the fault.

When it comes to calculating damages, especially non-economic damages, it can take time to fully comprehend and articulate the actual extent of your suffering and loss. This may necessarily prolong the settlement timeline. Professional assessments from medical, psychological, or occupational experts may also be necessary to accurately estimate the long-term implications of the accident on your life. This can also add to the overall timeline.

Insurance companies often have strict procedures and protocols, which can extend the negotiation process.

Despite these potential delays, a comprehensive and meticulous investigation is in your best interest, as it can significantly strengthen your claim and increase the chances of maximizing their settlement.

If a truck driver leaves the accident scene, they risk severe legal and financial repercussions. The implications may extend to their employers and insurance providers.

After a hit and run accident, contact a personal injury attorney in Philadelphia who can navigate this complex process and pursue compensation on your behalf.

Get A Free Consultation Today!

Gabriel Levin Author Image

Gabriel Levin - Attorney

Gabriel Levin is a highly experienced and credible attorney with over 10 years of practice in Pennsylvania. Known for his tenacity, he has represented clients in a wide range of civil matters, trying hundreds of cases. He prepares each case as if it will go to trial, ensuring meticulous attention to detail.

Unlike many firms that delegate tasks, Levin personally handles every aspect of a case and maintains open communication with clients throughout. He has secured millions in compensation, making him a reliable choice for those seeking legal representation.

Learn More