What Can I Do if I Am Injured in a Hit and Run Truck Accident?May 11, 2022
It is a frightening experience when you are injured in a car accident. It can be worse if it is a truck accident, in which there is an increased chance of more severe personal injury. However, it is even more distressing if the driver of the truck who caused the accident flees the scene, leaving you potentially on your own without knowing how you will handle the consequences.
Rest assured that if this happens, the police will do everything in their power to track down the driver who caused the accident and hold them accountable. Even if they fail to apprehend the driver, you have options to help recoup the losses you may suffer from the accident.
It is against the law to be involved in a so-called hit and run accident, and that driver will face not only civil litigation for their actions, but also criminal charges. Although the police will conduct a thorough search for the driver, you can have others working for you, including an experienced truck accident lawyer who will use their own resources to track down the hit and run driver while taking care of all legal matters while you recover from your injuries.
What Are the Consequences for a Hit and Run Driver?
Maryland law states that if you are involved in a car accident, you must remain at the scene until a police officer releases you. Those who leave the scene of an accident prematurely can face penalties including jailtime. They could also face a fine or have their driver’s license suspended for a period.
Although the driver could cause an injury to one or more individuals during an accident, by leaving the scene, that constitutes a criminal act. When that happens, the state will prosecute that individual, who will be subject to the penalties prescribed by Maryland law.
Penalties for this offense include up to 12 points on a driver’s license. The amount of fines and jailtime depends on the severity of the accident. If the only consequence of a hit and run accident was property damage, the person who left the scene could face up to $500 in fines and 60 days in jail.
However, it is far more serious if a driver leaves the scene of an accident when there was a fatality or a serious injury. In that case, the driver could be charged with a felony where they could face a maximum of five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
What Should I Do if I Am in a Hit and Run Truck Accident?
A swirl of emotions can encompass you in the immediate moments of an accident with a truck, especially if that truck then pulls away. You might feel scared, or depressed, or even angry. Although those are legitimate emotions, it is best to keep them in check and respond rationally to your situation.
There are essential steps to take in the immediate moments after an accident to ensure your safety. Although it can be frustrating that the driver left the scene, there is nothing you can do about that right away. The time to track that person down will come later.
In the meantime, you need to address your immediate concerns. The first should be your own health and safety. If you have suffered any serious injuries, you should seek medical attention right away. Even if you do not believe you have been injured, you should have yourself evaluated because there are certain medical conditions that do not manifest right away. Once you are sure of your own health, other steps you should take include the following:
- Track the driver: Although the driver may no longer be at the scene, you might have been able to get a good look at the person. If you think quickly, you might have even been able to snap a picture of the driver, or their truck, or even their license plate. If not, any aspects of these important details will help the police pursue the individual. Pay attention where the vehicle leaves, and if there is any damage to the truck, these can be all distinctive signs that will help.
- Inform the police: You do not need to involve the police for every car accident, although you should call them if the accident is severe enough, and in most instances a truck accident certainly qualifies. The police will document what happens and establish responsibility while documenting your compliance with the law as a search begins for the other driver.
- Collect your own evidence: Even before the police arrive, start collecting your own evidence, including taking notes about what happened at the accident; if possible, take pictures of any damage to your vehicle or the conditions on the road. In addition, talk with any witnesses at the scene who might have seen what took place. Get their name and contact information so that your lawyers can connect with them later. In your discussions with the others, be sure not to admit any fault about the accident and limit your own conversations about the accident.
Although your emotions could be running high after an accident, there are certain things that you should not do after a hit and run accident. The biggest one is you should by no means attempt to pursue the driver. Doing so is dangerous for a variety of reasons; also, it means that you too will be leaving the scene of an accident and could find yourself facing criminal prosecution.
In addition, do not sign any documents pertaining to the accident, especially from an insurance company. Before you sign any documents, be sure to consult with a truck accident lawyer who can advise you on the proper steps forward.
What Motivates Drivers to Leave the Scene of an Accident?
Given the criminal consequences of leaving the scene of an accident, it is a wonder why anyone would do this. However, it happens because at that moment, the driver is not thinking about the long-term consequences of their actions but is more concerned about something more immediate about which they are worried.
According to truck drivers, a few of the common reasons why they would consider leaving the scene of an accident include the following:
- The driver might have had too much to drink and should not be driving.
- Driver may not have any insurance, or their commercial driver’s license is expired.
- There are those that could be carrying illegal cargo with them.
- The driver could have stolen the truck that was involved in the accident.
- Could be a simple panic attack.
- The driver may honestly not have realized that an accident occurred.
Unfortunately, a hit and run driver is not always apprehended, and even if they are found, what happens to them may have no impact on your financial outlook from the accident. The driver may not have insurance that will help compensate you for your injuries.
The good news is that Maryland law allows for certain alternatives for you to recoup the financial losses that you could potentially suffer to tend to your injuries and damage to your vehicle. You can file a claim through your own car insurance. The uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) or personal injury protection (PIP) will cover the economic expenses you incurred from the accident.
If you were injured while you were not in a car but engaged in another activity, such as walking or riding your bike in the area, you could also seek to compensate your medical expenses through your health insurance.
If your insurance company attempts to deny your claim or offers you a reduced amount, you should speak with a seasoned truck accident lawyer who will negotiate with your insurance company to help you get the amount for which you are entitled.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Clients if the Driver Responsible Flees the Scene
It is difficult enough dealing with the ramifications of a truck accident, but it can even more difficult when that truck leaves the scene leaving with you with few options. The Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton will assist in pursuing the driver and fight to obtain compensation to help you pay for your injuries. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent clients throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.