What Happens if a Truck Driver Leaves the Scene of an Accident?
Posted on: July 25, 2023
Accidents involving commercial trucks are frequently catastrophic. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, commercial truck accidents result in around 5,000 fatalities yearly in the United States. In some cases, truck drivers will flee the scene of an accident.
Hit-and-Run Accidents Involving Commercial Truck Drivers
A hit-and-run accident is a traffic collision in which one driver, typically the at-fault driver, flees the scene. Drivers flee for many reasons, including having an expired driver’s license, no auto insurance, outstanding warrants, or simply attempting to avoid being financially responsible.
Drivers must also pass testing for commercial driver licensing, periodic re-certifications, and health screenings and perform stringent maintenance on their trucks in accordance with state and federal regulations. Though stringent, not maintaining these regulations is often the reason drivers flee an accident, as well as:
- An invalid, expired, or suspended license.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Operating a truck that failed inspection or is unfit for driving.
- The driver is unaware that an accident occurred.
Whatever the reason, drivers who flee the scene of an accident may be fired, lose their CDL, be liable for damages, or be criminally prosecuted.
What Should I Do if a Truck Driver Leaves the Scene of an Accident?
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, your actions following the incident are crucial to your claim. By leaving the scene, the truck driver automatically reduces your ability to recover damages, especially if never caught. If you are in stable condition, take the following steps:
- Stay put: Do not chase the truck. Doing so is reckless and could lead to another accident involving other motorists.
- Report the accident: Calling law enforcement is essential following an accident, especially when the other driver flees. The sooner you report the accident, the sooner police can initiate a search for the truck and driver and make a report of the accident.
- Get medical attention: You should get medical attention as soon as possible.
- Contact a lawyer: Contact a lawyer immediately if you have been injured in a truck accident.
Gathering Evidence and Witness Statements
If possible, it is critical to gather evidence at the scene. Ask witnesses for their contact information and any statements, observations, or photos they may have witnessed during the accident. Also, note any nearby security or traffic cameras that may have filmed the accident.
Take photos of the location of the accident, including signage, road conditions, lighting, road names, mile markers, and other landmarks identifiable to that location. If you have moved away from the accident location, attempt to relocate it and do the same.
If you are able, write down or photograph the truck’s license plate number and company name on the truck to help identify it. Note the make or model of the truck or any other distinguishing features, if you can.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Commercial truck accident claims are far more complex than passenger car accidents, and not hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer may be detrimental to the success of your claim, especially for a hit-and-run accident. A skilled lawyer has extensive law knowledge and experience in handling insurance companies. A truck accident lawyer can do the following:
- Investigate the accident scene and details of the accident.
- Help identify the truck driver, the company, and other potentially liable parties.
- Gather additional evidence.
- Reinterview witnesses.
- Consult experts, if necessary.
- Negotiate with responsible parties and insurance companies to reach a suitable settlement.
- Represent you in court.
When another’s negligence injures you, you may be entitled to seek compensation. However, New Jersey’s comparative negligence rule can make it difficult to recover damages following an accident. Your best option for obtaining maximum compensation is to hire a lawyer who knows how to deliver and has a successful track record.
New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyers at Ellis Law Help Clients Injured in Hit-And-Run Commercial Truck Accidents
If you have been injured in a collision with a commercial truck, speak with our New Jersey truck accident lawyers at Ellis Law. Call us at 732-308-0200 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients in Asbury Park, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Long Branch, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, Monmouth County, Marlboro, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York City.