Roughly one out of every ten car accidents in the United States are hit-and-run crashes. No matter how strict the consequences are, drivers may take a chance leaving the scene of the accident. It does not sway them that they risk jail time and losing their license if they are later found.
The number of hit-and-run crashes has increased in the last decade, especially since there have been more truck accidents in general. South Carolina’s rate of hit-and-run crashes is higher than the national average. What if the hit-and-run driver is a commercial truck operator?
Why Truck Drivers Flee the Scene
While it is illegal for anyone to leave the scene of an accident, a truck driver may have more motivation than others not to stop. For a trucker, their CDL license is their entire livelihood. If they are caught driving under the influence, they will lose their license for an extended period of time.
If their safety rating with their employer drops, they may be fired from their job. Finally, you might have been struck by an inexperienced driver who just plain panicked when they caused an accident.
You Can Still Get Accident Compensation
Being the victim of a hit-and-run is less than ideal for many reasons. However, you do not necessarily go empty-handed if you have suffered an injury in these accidents. Hopefully, your auto insurance policy includes uninsured motorist coverage.
In South Carolina, it is mandatory for auto insurance companies to offer this type of coverage. Although you do not have to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, it is always a good idea to buy it for this kind of situation.
Assuming you have uninsured motorist coverage, your own car insurance company must pay you for the damages you suffered. First, you will still need to prove that the driver that hit you was negligent in the accident. Just because you are dealing with your own insurance company does not mean that the legal process will be friendlier to you by any means.
Dealing With Your Own Insurance Company Is Not Easy
The company that you paid for coverage may still act adversarial because they are the ones that are paying you. They will still seek proof to show that you deserve financial compensation. However, these cases are somewhat easier to prove than a regular two-car accident because there is nobody else’s word to contradict your own because the driver fled the scene.
Assuming that you are successful in proving liability, you can receive financial compensation up to the amount of the policy limit. Since truck accident injuries can be serious, chances are that your own policy limit may not be enough to compensate you. Unfortunately, there is not anything else that you can do unless you locate the responsible driver.
There Is Still Hope of Finding the Truck Driver
There is a possibility that you can locate the driver after a semi-truck hit-and-run accident. There may be identifying markings on the truck that witnesses saw. You or someone else may have seen a company name on the side of the vehicle, which is more than you may get in many hit-and-run crashes with cars.
You may have various other ways of finding the driver. There may be surveillance video or dashcam footage that shows the truck. There might be a camera at a point further down the road that shows a truck with damage from the crash. However, trucks will not have the same extensive damage as cars from these accidents.
Other drivers in the area might have caught what happened on their own dashcams. The key is to get witness contact information when the accident occurs. You may be too injured to deal with any of that at the scene, but police may have recorded the names and contact information of people who might be witnesses.
While police are also looking for the responsible driver, your personal injury attorney may also perform their own investigation. You have every motivation to hire someone to work to find the driver because it can make a large difference in the total amount of your compensation when you have the trucking company’s insurance policy against which to file a claim.
The trucking company themselves may have their own motivation to report a hit-and-run driver. If the driver is later caught, and the trucking company is proven to have known about the accident without reporting it, the company will face major legal issues, both with the government and a civil court.
Still, about one in every ten hit-and-run accidents is eventually solved. Just because the driver fled the scene, and the odds are not in your favor, you should still not give up hope of getting justice.
Call a Greenville Truck Accident Attorney
The Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm is exactly the type of tenacious attorney you need to hire when you are facing a difficult legal situation. We will diligently work for you to obtain the best legal outcome in your case, investigating the accident and tracking down evidence that can strengthen your case. Your first step is to call us for your free initial consultation.
You can reach us online or call us at (864) 280-7660 or message us online to discuss your case.
Truck Driver Hit-and-Run FAQs
Can I still recover money if the driver is caught and charged criminally?
Yes. The criminal process and the civil litigation process and two different things. You can still be paid in a civil case even when the driver is convicted of a crime.
Can I sue my own insurance company?
Yes. You have a contract with your insurance company to pay you damages when the terms of the policy are met, regardless of who caused the accident.
When should I call a truck accident lawyer?
Hit-and-run accidents are complicated, and you should hire an attorney right after the accident to begin investigating.