What to Do If a Truck Leaves the Scene of a Crash?

What Can You Do if a Truck Driver Leaves the Scene of an Accident?

scranton big rig accident lawyer munley law injury attorneysBecoming a victim of a hit and run crash with a truck is a traumatic experience. Truck crashes are increasing in frequency and truck drivers who are “at fault” are more often guilty of leaving the scene of an accident than in the past.

Leaving the scene of an accident isn’t a wise decision. It is a crime that normally results in a more serious penalty than those normally imposed for causing an accident. A driver who flees an accident scene may lose his or her license and/or receive a prison sentence.

Yet many drivers, in the heat of the moment, flee for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they may leave an accident site unintentionally, unaware they caused damage or injury.

Victims of hit-and-run truck accidents often suffer serious, even fatal injuries, especially if they were hit while walking or riding a bicycle. These victims deserve fair compensation.

If you were a victim of an accident caused by a truck driver, contact a Munley Law truck accident lawyer for a free, no-obligation consultation. If we represent you, you won’t be charged a fee unless we secure payment for you.

How Often Do Hit and Run Truck Accidents Occur?

The probability of being in an accident with a large tractor trailer or semi-truck has increased in recent years. According to Policy Advice, there has been a 52 percent increase in trucking accidents since 2009.

Hit and run truck accidents have also seen an increase. Study results released by the AAA noted: there has been a steady and steep increase in hit-and-run accidents – an average increase of 682,000 per year since 2006. The AAA further states that U.S. hit-and-run deaths increased an average of 7.2 percent each year from 2009 to 2018. Many of these accidents involve truck drivers who flee the scene of accidents.

Why Do Truck Drivers Flee the Accident Scene?

truck accident lawsuit lawyers munley lawWhen asked why they made the unwise decision to flee an accident scene, some truck drivers cited reasons such as:

  • Effects of adrenaline
  • Panic
  • Fear of arrest for intoxication
  • Lack of insurance coverage
  • The driver did not have the requisite endorsements for the load being hauled, which could lead to fines and a 90-day license suspension
  • Expired CDL licenses
  • A driver was distracted by engaging in texting or another activity that took their attention off the road, leading to the accident.
  • Driver was ignoring the hours of service requirements and got drowsy/fell asleep at the wheel after failing to take their federally mandated breaks.

In some cases, the drivers simply failed to realize they had caused an accident, and fleeing the scene was unintentional.

Truck drivers are essential to the supply chain. Truck driving is an honorable profession. But with the volume of traffic on today’s highways, accidents can easily happen.

Who Can I Sue in a Hit and Run Truck Accident Case?

munley law partner caroline munleyThe truck driver, trucking company, or truck/trailer owner can potentially be liable. Sometimes the facility where the truck was loaded, or the entity responsible for the trailer’s contents could be ruled liable also. A truck accident lawyer has the skills to determine the parties legally at fault for the accident.

Recovering damages following a truck accident

If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, you may be entitled to financial compensation for economic and non-economic losses caused by the accident such as:

  • Repairs to your vehicle or a vehicle replacement
  • Compensation for any lost wages due to the accident such as lost time at work for injury, pain, or doctors’ visits
  • Direct medical costs related to injury caused by the accident
  • Pain and suffering resulting from the accident

To discover what compensation you may be entitled to, contact the experts at Munley Law for a free consultation.

What Might You be Entitled to Following Your Truck Accident?

Damages in accidents involving semi trucks may be both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages:  These are objective, quantifiable damages and can include lost wages from missing work due to injury or doctor visits and subsequent medical bills.

Non-economic damages: These are more subjective and can be more difficult to prove. Having a qualified and experienced accident attorney on your side will help you understand non-economic damages such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, lost or diminished earning potential

If you believe you deserve compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages or other losses, contact an experienced truck accident attorney at Munley Law for a free consultation.

What if the Truck Driver Fled the Scene of an Accident You Were Involved in?

Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. Yet it does occur. It pays to know what to do in the case of a truck driver fleeing the scene of an accident.

The sheer size of commercial trucks increases the likelihood of serious damage when a commercial truck is involved in an accident with a passenger vehicle. The likelihood of not only damage to the smaller vehicle, but the chance of serious injury or even fatality for the driver and/or others occupying the passenger vehicle is much higher than if two passenger vehicles collide.

When a truck driver appears to have caused a crash, others involved in the accident face financial risk if the truck driver flees the scene. If the driver isn’t located and held accountable, they won’t be able to seek payment for damages from the driver or trucking company.

What Should You Do if You’ve Been Involved in Hit and Run Truck Accident?

Transport truck crashed with jack knifed trailer lays on side of freewayFirst, stay safe. Do not try to stop the fleeing truck. You may have an impulse to chase the truck leaving the scene. Don’t do it. Chasing the truck would create a further danger to yourself, pedestrians, and motorists.

You would also be guilty of a criminal offense if you left the scene of the accident.

If you can do so safely, obtain:

  • The truck’s license number.
  • The make and model of the truck.
  • The colors and any identifying logos or names imprinted on the body.
  • If you can do this safely, record with a cell phone the fleeing vehicle involved.
  • All of this information, any information, can be useful after an accident involving a commercial truck driver. Any information you can provide for the police report will help us as we build your case.

Start a search for the truck by contacting law enforcement. Call 911 to obtain immediate help for anyone who was injured and to start a search for the truck and its driver, by local law enforcement officials, as soon as possible.

Record the exact location of the accident and as many details as possible. Details matter. They can be used by investigators to put together a complete picture of what happened. Detailed observations you make now, and record as soon as possible, could help obtain a settlement for damages or use as evidence in a courtroom trial, if necessary.

Speak to witnesses, if possible. You may be disoriented and find it difficult to recall every detail, even if you were not seriously injured. Others may have noticed things you missed. Note any nearby businesses whose security cameras might have captured the accident, the semi truck, the license plate number or partial number and more. The moments after a motor vehicle accident is the time to get contact information from witnesses.

Consult a Truck Accident Attorney to Determine Your Options

Often the conditions that cause truck hit-and-run accidents can be confusing. The at-fault party may be in question, delaying much-needed financial compensation. Consulting a skilled and experienced truck accident attorney can clarify and expedite the process. Munley Law offers more than 60 years of experience in winning cases involving truck accidents.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pennsylvania Hit and Run Truck Accidents

What Happens After a Hit and Run Truck Driver is Located?

The driver will face serious penalties for leaving the scene, and if the driver was ruled to be at fault, he or she and his or her insurance company, and also the trucking company, must pay up. You can seek compensation through a lawsuit if necessary, to obtain payment from the driver and/or trucking company for personal injuries and damages.

What if the Driver Who Hit Me Cannot be Located?

If the identity of the driver or trucking company cannot be determined, you may seek payment from your own insurance company. Uninsured motorist protection may offer compensation if you have that type of coverage. The skills of an attorney can help you achieve a fair settlement if coverage is in question or if the amount offered is insufficient to cover your accident-related expenses.

Other types of assistance with some expenses, through special organizations or funds, may be available in your area. A lawyer may be knowledgeable about programs which may be helpful.

What Else Should I Do After a Truck Accident? 

At the scene:

  • Remain calm and call 911 to summon medical help and law enforcement.
  • Turn on your hazard lights.
  • Don’t move vehicles unless it is unsafe to leave them in place.
  • Get contact and insurance information from everyone at the scene.
  • Record names and badge numbers of responding law enforcement officers.
  • Do not admit fault or discuss the accident with anyone other than the police or your insurance company.

Following the accident:

  • Get a copy of the accident report.
  • Do not sign an insurance settlement without consulting a truck accident lawyer first. Insurance adjusters represent the insurance company – not the interests of accident victims.
  • Keep records of every expense relating to the accident, in addition to medical bills and lost wages.
  • Follow instructions from medical professionals to keep in compliance with your prescribed recovery plan.

How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer From Munley Law Help?

Here are some of the things a Munley Law hit and run truck accident attorney will do to build your case:

  • Visit and document the accident site, take photographs
  • Obtain police reports of the accident and stay in touch with the police to make sure the driver is found
  • Identify, locate and interview witnesses
  • Hire expert witnesses which may include medical, engineering, and forensic experts
  • Reconstruct the accident

Once we gather all the evidence and facts, we build a strategy unique to your semi truck accident case because every case is different. Our experience and expertise in truck accidents and state and federal trucking regulations allow us to identify and account for these nuances.  This is how our expert semi-truck accident attorneys build your case and create the best possible strategy.

What is Pennsylvania’s Law Regarding Hit and Run Accidents?

According to Pennsylvania law:

 Accidents involving death or personal injury.

General rule. The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death of any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close thereto as possible but shall then forthwith return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until he has fulfilled the requirements of section 3744 (relating to duty to give information and render aid). Every stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.

Penalties. Except as otherwise provided in this section, any person violating this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.

If the victim suffers serious bodily injury, any person violating subsection (a) commits a felony of the third degree, and the sentencing court shall order the person to serve a minimum term of imprisonment of not less than 90 days and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000, notwithstanding any other provision of law.

If the victim dies, any person violating subsection (a) commits a felony of the second degree, and the sentencing court shall order the person to serve a minimum term of imprisonment of not less than three years and a mandatory minimum fine of $2,500, notwithstanding any other provision of law.

In addition to the minimum term of imprisonment provided for in subparagraph (i), the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing shall provide within its guidelines a sentencing enhancement if the victim dies as the result of a violation of subsection.

How Long Do I Have to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit?

Two years from the date of the accident is the standard statute of limitations applying to most truck accidents in Pennsylvania and many other states. But don’t wait to call an attorney specializing in truck accidents. The sooner you consult with a lawyer, the easier it will be to obtain and compile credible evidence to support your case. Legal representation from the beginning increases your chances of receiving a fair settlement or winning your case if it goes to court.

A Pennsylvania Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help Victims of Hit and Run Truck Crashes

chris munleyTruck accidents are different from accidents that only involve passenger vehicles. Trucking companies will send investigators to determine what happened following a hit and run accident.

You need someone on your side to do the same. Munley Law Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers will send on-staff investigators to visit the scene of your accident to gather evidence. These experienced investigators will obtain eyewitness accounts, access police reports, motor carrier records, and safety logs.

Our firm also has long-established relationships with expert witnesses from the trucking industry, as well as medical professionals, to help assemble a strong case.

Our Award-Winning Trial Lawyers Offer Service Without Risk

Munley Law is the only firm in the U.S. to have two lawyers leading the American Association for Justice’s Trucking Litigation Group – Daniel Munley and Marion Munley. Both are board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and are regularly sought out by attorneys and legal organizations across the United States for their experience in truck accident law. We won’t pressure you to settle for less than you are entitled to, as some lawyers do. We have the experience to represent you competently in court.

Injuries and damages from truck crashes, some of which are hit-and-runs, are some of the most serious. We understand you may be struggling financially as well as physically. That’s why we work on contingency.

Call us today to discuss your case – free of charge. Live chat or email consultation is available also.

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