An accident with a commercial vehicle is almost always a terrifying experience. But when the truck driver decides to flee the scene, the situation becomes much worse. Not only could you be dealing with injuries and the loss of your vehicle, but you may also be left with no one to hold liable. In the worst cases, this could mean you’re left financially responsible for all of your losses.
Fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal in every state. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, though. If you are injured in a hit and run accident with a truck or commercial vehicle, you still have legal options. These cases can have several outcomes, depending on if the driver is found or not.
At Auger & Auger, we know how difficult and complex hit and run accident cases can be. We have over 26 years of experience representing injury victims in the Carolinas. We also have firm members licensed in Georgia and Florida, among other states. Schedule a free consultation today with one of our truck accident lawyers by calling (800) 559-5741 or filling out our online contact form.
After the initial shock of being in a wreck with a commercial vehicle, you may be filled with rage when you see them drive away instead of calling for help. In fact, if your car is still operational, your first instinct may be to chase the truck driver down and get their information. This is a huge mistake!
First of all, you’d be fleeing the scene of a wreck. That’s still a crime, even if you’re chasing the truck. Second, in your angry, emotional state, you may not drive safely, which can lead to another accident. Third, you may not realize if you have serious injuries. These could be made worse by driving after the commercial vehicle.
Instead, check yourself for any serious injuries. If you are seriously injured, try not to move, especially if your neck or head is injured. Check on everyone else in your vehicle as well for major injuries. Then, call 9-1-1 and be sure to request an ambulance. Even if you don’t think you have serious injuries, you should still be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Make sure you take as many photos as you can of the scene of the hit and run. This includes damage to your car, weather and road conditions, nearby traffic control devices like lights and stop signs and anything else that may seem important. It’s always better to have too many photos than too few.
When the police arrive, they will ask you to give a statement. Be sure to give an accurate description of the truck that was in the collision, and let them inspect your vehicle. Giving an accurate description of what happened and letting the police inspect the damage of your vehicle will give them a better idea of what kind of damage to look for on the other vehicle. Plus, that police report will help determine who is at fault, even though the other driver fleeing the scene will likely be taken as an admission of guilt.
Unfortunately, you will also need to call your insurance provider to report the hit and run accident. Don’t give more information than you need to. In fact, you should only tell them where and when the accident happened, your policy information, and nothing else. They will be recording the call to try to show that you were somehow at fault for the accident. So don’t give them the ammo to do so!
If they keep asking probing questions, simply tell them you need to speak with your lawyer — which is exactly what you should do. Give us a call to discuss all of your legal options after a hit and run accident with a lawyer, and to figure out how to better deal with the insurance company.
The best outcome for a hit and run accident with a commercial vehicle is that the offending vehicle is found. If it is found, the case will be handled like any other truck accident. Your lawyer will work to prove that the other driver is at fault for the accident, and therefore owes you compensation. This compensation may include money for:
However, if the other driver can’t be found, seeking compensation can become much more difficult.
You are allowed to carry personal injury protection or medical payment insurance, but it’s not required in most states. Because you may not have this insurance policy, you will instead need to rely on your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. South and North Carolina, among other states, require every driver to carry some form of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Because you can’t hold the other driver accountable if you can’t find them, your insurance company may likely cover the accident if a hit and run vehicle collides with your own vehicle.
Your insurance company may provide compensation if the other driver isn’t found and you have to rely on uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If the other driver is found, the trucking company’s insurance company and their lawyers may try to lowball your settlement offer.
No matter which insurance company is supposed to cover your losses, they will do everything they can not to pay you what you deserve. Your own company may say that they will wait until the driver is found, even if that means waiting indefinitely, instead of paying out under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The truck driver’s insurance company may say the driver isn’t at fault.
At Auger & Auger, we know these tactics well. We also know how to combat them to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today with one of our truck accident lawyers by calling (800) 559-5741 or filling out our online contact form.