There is no way around it; fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal. Regardless who was at fault in an accident, when a driver flees the scene of an accident, a crime has been committed. It is seen as an admission of guilt in the eyes of the court and public opinion. By its definition, a hit and run accident is described as an incident involving a car or truck that strikes a pedestrian, vehicle or fixed object and leaves the scene without the offender identifying himself or herself or offering aid to any injured party. Hit and run accidents kill nearly 1,500 people annually. These accidents are scary, intense and exceptionally hard to “solve” and can be very violent. For drivers behind-the-wheel in the accident, the natural human instinct may be to impulsively bolt from the scene in the hopes that nobody will find out. However, doing so can cause huge ramifications in the future. If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, the team at Green Law Firm can step in and guide you through this overwhelming time.
Reasons for Fleeing the Scene of an Accident
Here are a few reasons why a truck driver might leave the scene of an accident:
- A driver is unaware that he or she has actually been in an accident
- The accident caused injury only to the driver, so they did not feel the need to stop
- The driver is intoxicated or under the influence,
- The driver is fearful of the penalties for his or her actions
- It was not safe for the driver to stay at the scene
- The driver feels the damage incurred will go unnoticed by the employer
The penalties for a commercial driver involved in a hit and run accident can be very severe. In addition to any criminal penalties, these drivers are almost certain to have their commercial driver’s license suspended and even sometimes revoked. This puts the commercial driver’s job and livelihood at stake and makes a hit and run accident a volatile and high-tension accident.
Ways to Help Find a Hit and Run Driver
If you have been hit in an accident where the driver has fled the scene, the first thing you will want to do is call 911 for help. If you can move and have access to a phone, do so yourself. If not, try to alert a passerby and enlist help. While the details are as fresh in your mind as possible, try to note and write down as many details as possible. Don’t have a pen and paper? Text yourself from your phone!
You will want to note things that will help authorities to identify the driver:
- What the vehicle looked like, including color, size and any writing on the truck
- Identifying features of the driver, including ethnicity, hair color etc.
- What time and location the accident occurred
- Names and contact information of witnesses so that their statements can be recorded for your benefit
It can be challenging to locate a driver involved in this type of crime. Even if a vehicle can be identified and located, it may be hard to prove who was behind the wheel at the time of this accident. To help locate a driver involved, you may also
- Contact local business owners nearby to find out if surveillance video shows the accident, and
- Go door-to-door and see if anyone recognizes a truck that fits the description.
Compensation for a Hit and Run Victim
Several types of compensation can come into play for victims of this invasive crime.
If the driver is identified and has insurance, a plaintiff can receive compensatory damages. In some instances, an injured person may file for punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are money awarded to a victim that is intended to bring his or her life back to a state of “normalcy” as soon as possible. This includes monies associated with:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Adjustments made to the victim’s lifestyle to accommodate their injuries
Punitive damages are monies awarded to a plaintiff to punish the defendant for their wrongdoings. The standard of proof for punitive damages is much higher and must show outrageous or especially egregious behavior.
Big trucking companies have even bigger insurance companies standing beside them. Investigators for these insurance companies will do their best to compensate you as little as possible. This is why it is vital to work with a legal team that understands the ins and outs of these types of cases! Bill Green and Green Law Firm has a long-standing record of successfully recovering ample compensation for the victims of hit and run accidents!
Sometimes drivers involved in the accident may be uninsured. In this case, it is likely that your auto insurance includes uninsured motorist benefits to assure your bills and fiscal needs are met.
While a hit and run case will almost always favor the plaintiff, it is often exceptionally difficult to locate the driver involved in the crime. If you have been involved in a hit and run case where a driver cannot be located, the South Carolina State Office of Victim Assistance may be helpful to you! State law allows persons who have been injured in a reported crime (both physically and emotionally) to receive benefits from SOVA. You may file for yourself or on behalf of an immediate family member; a legal representative, like the team at Green Law Firm, may also file on your behalf. SOVA will reward up to a total of $15,000 for medical services with proper documentation based on evidence. While this does not come close to adequately compensating someone who has been through a traumatic hit and run accident, this money can certainly be helpful in time of need when medical bills may be piling up.
When a crime has occurred, the solace of successfully punishing a perpetrator can be necessary closure for a victim. The is why hit and run accidents can be one of the most frustrating and hard-to-navigate crimes for those involved. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident of this nature, contact the team at Green Law Firm. We will handle your case with care, respect and attention. We will examine your case and take it on at NO RISK to you! We are compensated based only on monies you are awarded. Call us at 888-800-2455 to get help today!