There are a multitude of reasons as to why a commercial truck driver or a driver of any other vehicle who has been involved in an accident may not stop at the scene of the crash. The driver may have been impaired at the time of the accident and might want to avoid the police until he or she has had the time to minimize the damage on a chemical or breathalyzer test by essentially waiting it out. Another reason for a driver to leave is due to the negligence ensued upon a driver when found to have been texting at the time of the accident or was engaged in some other sort of distracting activity that led to the crash. Moreover, the drivers may also not have had a license or the proper insurance required for a commercial truck driver.
For individuals who have to drive a truck for a living, commercial truck drivers know that his or her livelihood rests on having a clean driving record. As such, this is a highly motivating factor for them to flee the accident site so that the victim of the crash cannot identify or hold them accountable. However, as we digress further, it is not impossible for a victim of a hit and run accident involving a truck to get the compensation they deserve, as long as they follow the appropriate steps in doing so.
Commercial Truck Drivers Involved in Hit and Runs
Given the difference in size and weight of a commercial truck to a standard passenger vehicle, the damages caused by a crash are magnified. Even a low-speed collision can result in life-changing injuries and can tear families apart when the crash is fatal. In 2013, there were 3,964 people killed in crashes involving large trucks, which is a half-percent increase from 2012. An estimated 95,000 people were injured in crashes involving large trucks as well. In the United States, an estimated 342,000 large trucks were involved in police-reported traffic crashes during 2013. In both reports of injured and fatally injured individuals, 74 percent of injuries were occupants of other vehicles and 71 percent of fatal injuries were sustained by occupants of other vehicles. As such, this goes to show the monstrosity of trucks will more-than-likely cause a severe if not fatal injury to a victim of a hit and run truck accident. When a truck driver chooses to run from the damage that her or she caused rather than face the consequences, it may seem like there is nothing for the victim to do .
However, there are options and here are some suggestions that we at Dolman Law Group feel the victim should keep in mind:
- Call the authorities immediately- they will be able to start the investigation to pinpoint and track down the hit and run driver. In addition, the accident report is an important piece of evidence in any personal injury claim that may be filed.
- Record the details of the accident as soon as possible-writing down the depiction of the driver and of the truck can help track down the individual or, at the very least, the trucking company. Many times, there will be logos or some other identifying details on the cab or trailer. Any information can help, including partial phone numbers or vehicle identification numbers on the truck itself.
- Identify all witnesses- in a hit and run case, gathering as many specifics as possible may require talking to a group of people who all may have seen even a slight amount of the accident to help paint the full picture. It is imperative to collect the names and contact information from any potential witnesses before they leave the accident location.
- Find any photographic or video evidence- there are cameras mounted in many vague places today. Doing some legwork, or finding the right attorney who will conduct an investigation separate from the police, can lead to critical information.
Florida requires that Drivers stay at the Scene
Gov. Rick Scott signed a regulation in 2014 that strengthens the penalties for leaving the scene of a crash, making it a second-degree felony and requiring a mandatory minimum four year penalty for a driver convicted of leaving the scene of a fatal crash. Drivers who leave an accident could also have their license revoked for three years under the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act.
Florida State Statute 316.027 states: “The driver of a vehicle involved in a crash occurring on public or private property which results in injury, serious bodily injury or death to a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close thereto as possible, and shall remain at the scene of the crash until her or she has fulfilled the requirements.”
A person who violates that paragraph and it results in injury is punishable to a felony of the third degree; if it results in serious bodily injury, than that person is punishable to a felony of the second degree; if it results in death, than that person is punishable to the first degree and shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 4 years .
Dolman Law Group
Even if the driver cannot be identified, it may be possible to file a claim with your insurance carrier based on an uninsured or underinsured motorist situation. Despite the actions of the truck driver, it is possible to get the compensation that you deserve to help recover from the damages after a hit and run truck accident.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a hit and run accident with a commercial truck, you need adequate and experienced legal professionals who can help you get the recovery owed. The truck accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group have the resources available to thoroughly investigate any accident to determine where the negligence lies. They will carefully inspect any accident to determine where the negligence lies. Call the Dolman Law Group today for a free consultation. There may be substantial compensation available to you from either the insurance company, the truck driver or the subsequent commercial truck company that employs said driver. Our number is (727) 853-6275.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652