Leaving the scene of any truck accident, even without apparent injuries, carries significant legal risks. However, remaining composed and taking key actions like cooperating with police, documenting evidence, and contacting an attorney can help mitigate consequences down the road.
Though you may feel alone, a truck accident lawyer can work to uncover any potential liable parties and negotiate effectively on your behalf. Justice may still prevail when the right steps are taken promptly.
There Can Be Legal Consequences If You Flee the Scene of an Accident Without Injuries
Here are some common legal consequences for drivers who flee the scene of a single-truck accident:
Hit and Run Charges
Leaving the scene of an accident where property is damaged can lead to misdemeanor or felony hit and run criminal charges. Penalties can include fines, license suspension, and jail time.
Commercial truck drivers are at risk of CDL license revocation or disqualification if they leave the scene of an accident regardless of whether there were injuries. This can severely impact their current and future truck driving employment.
Insurance Claim Denial
Fleeing the scene and not promptly reporting the accident to authorities or your insurer can be grounds for an insurance company to deny collision, liability, or injury claims arising from the crash.
Leaving the scene can allow the courts and insurance companies to presume you were negligent in causing the accident, limiting your ability to counter argue liability.
Higher Civil Damages
Punitive civil penalties may be awarded against a hit and run driver to punish egregious behavior if the victim files a personal injury lawsuit after a serious crash.
Commercial drivers who recklessly leave the scene of an on-the-job accident they caused may be terminated from their employment.
No Personal Injury Claim
Fleeing the scene forfeits a truck driver’s ability to file their own injury claim if hurt in a single-truck crash or a crash that didn’t result in any injuries
Consulting with an attorney experienced in truck accidents can help mitigate these consequences if you left the scene inadvertently or under duress. But in general, remaining at the scene can help avoid unnecessary legal fallout.
What Can I Do to Protect My Rights After a Pickup Truck Accident Without Injuries?
Here is an explanation of steps to take to protect your rights after a truck accident with no obvious injuries:
Remain on Scene and Cooperate With the Police
- Stay on the scene and call 911 to report the accident. Do not admit fault, but be cooperative with officers and provide your license, registration, insurance, and basic details.
- Allow police to formally document statements, take measurements, and prepare the official accident report. The report will contain key evidence to establish what occurred.
Document Cab and Cargo Areas. Take Photos of All Damage:
- Use your smartphone to thoroughly photograph the truck cab interior, exterior, bed, and any trailers or cargo areas. Document all damage, fluid leaks, and final rest positions from multiple angles.
- Take close-up shots of precisely where and how the truck struck other vehicles, objects or barriers. These will demonstrate impact forces and severity.
- Photograph any cargo that may have shifted or spilled during the crash. Unsecured loads can show negligence.
Note the Position of Final Rest, Skid Marks, Debris Field
- Carefully diagram or pace off the distance of any skid marks leading up to the point of impact as skids show evasive actions taken before the crash
- Note the number of rotations if the vehicle rolled over
- Mark the exact final position of the truck and scattered debris location
Get Witness Statements and Surveillance Video:
- Obtain contact details and written statements from any witnesses, including passing motorists, to document their accounts of how the crash occurred
- Check nearby buildings and intersections for any security or traffic cameras that may have footage and try to obtain copies
Seek Immediate Medical Treatment
- Even if you do not feel injured, get examined promptly after the accident
- Some injuries like internal bleeding or head trauma may not be immediately obvious
- Having medical records demonstrating you sought care will help if any injury claims arise later
- An examination can also establish that you were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
- Do not provide any formal recorded statement to insurance companies without consulting legal counsel first
- Retain a lawyer knowledgeable in truck crash cases to protect your rights and best interests
How Can a Lawyer Help Me If I Left the Scene of a Pickup Truck Accident Without Injuries?
Here are some ways an experienced attorney can help mitigate the legal consequences if you left the scene of an accident:
- Negotiate With Prosecutors: An attorney may be able to negotiate to reduce penalties if there were extenuating circumstances
- Appeal Insurance Claim Denial: If an insurance claim was denied, an attorney can file an appeal and make the best case for why coverage should still apply
- Refute Negligence Presumption: A skilled lawyer can gather accident reconstruction evidence and witness statements to rebut a presumption of negligence if the driver left the scene.
- Preserve Ability to File Injury Claim: Instructing the driver to seek immediate medical examination helps retain their right to file an injury claim later on, despite having left the scene initially.
While fleeing an accident scene creates added legal problems, an attorney’s counsel may reduce the ultimate impact if there were understandable reasons for the driver’s panicked response.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer to Learn What to Do After a Pickup Truck Accident Without Injuries
After a pickup truck accident without clear injuries, you may face a difficult decision on whether to remain on the scene or leave temporarily. Leaving the scene carries legal and insurance risks. Consulting a truck accident attorney provides guidance on constructive post-crash actions that protect your interests.
You may still recover losses fairly when the right steps are taken. Contact the truck accident lawyers of Vaughan and Vaughan to learn more about how we can help you with your claim.