How do I Handle a Hit and Run Accident with a Semi-Truck?
Hit and run accidents are very complex in any situation. But, when it involves a semi-truck driver, the situation may seem even more perplexing. In 2017, large trucks were involved in about 8.8% of all fatal vehicle crashes in 2017, according to the NHTSA.
Whenever the other driver flees, you will undoubtedly have a lot of concerns. You might be concerned about whether your insurance coverage safeguards you and whether it will be possible to get the compensation you require for medical bills and car repairs. Above all else, the most significant thing to do would be to remain calm.
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
Once an accident occurs, the law in Florida that all the people involved need to remain on the scene to swap information and help authorities with their investigation, no matter who is at fault. When one driver flees the scene and doesn’t participate in the accident investigation process, that is known as a hit and run.
The most frequent hit and run incidents involve:
- A motorist leaves after hitting a parked automobile.
- A driver does not stop after hitting another car while driving.
- A motorist strikes a pedestrian or cyclist and does not stop to render aid.
- A driver exits their vehicle and leaves the scene on foot.
Compared to other types of hit and run accidents, those involving big rigs and large vehicles are less common. However, they do still happen.
How Do I Prove a Truck Driver Left the Scene of the Accident?
There are several techniques to establish a hit-and-run truck driver was the one who caused the damages to your vehicle. The most important aspect is having an experienced hit and run accident lawyer such as Darrigo and Diaz’s team on your side. We will help make sure that no stone is left unturned to prove your case.
Following a hit and run, apprehended drivers will try to convince police officers, the court, and insurers which there was a reasonable motive for leaving the scene. The truck driver will likely claim that they did not realize they had struck another vehicle. However, this defense is rarely successful.
Will my Insurance Cover me After a Hit and Run Truck Accident in Florida?
If law enforcement is ineffective in tracking down the hit-and-run driver, your PIP insurance will help cover some of the costs associated with the hit-and-run accident. Suppose the other driver is located after the PIP payout. In that case, it is still possible to bring a claim against the truck driver to demand compensation for damages not covered by your insurance. It’s always good to carry extra insurance such as an Uninsured Motorist policy to help pay for costs not covered by PIP.
The statute of limitations in Florida to bring a claim is four years. But extenuating circumstances in individual cases may affect this. That’s the reason you will need a seasoned hit and run accident attorney to work with you and make sure your rights are protected to the fullest extent possible.
How Common are Hit and Run Truck Accidents in Florida?
Regrettably, Florida frequently tops the lists every year as the state that leads the nation for hit and run accidents. Between 2015 and 2019, more than 500,000 hit and run accidents resulted in more than 1,000 deaths in Florida. 2019 was a particularly active year for hit and run crashes, with more than 105,000 hit and run accidents in Florida contributing to 214 deaths and more than 22,000 injuries. In Hillsborough county, hit and run accidents accounted for a remarkable 6,857 incidents with 19 deaths and injured more than 1,640 people.
In 2016, the US had a record amount of deaths from hit and run crashes totaling 2,049. Rough estimates state that there is a hit and run crash every second in the United States, with Florida averaging one hit and run accident every five minutes. When semi-trucks are involved, 96% of the fatalities that occur in accidents are the occupants of the smaller vehicles.
What are the Penalties for a Hit and Run Truck Accident in Florida?
Florida has a severe issue with hit and run crashes; the penalties here are strict. If a driver is charged with leaving the scene of an accident in Florida, they might face severe penalties if the Incident included these elements:
- Property Damage — 2nd-degree misdemeanor; up to 60 days in prison and a $500 fine.
- Injuries — 2nd- or 3rd-degree felony; License revoked for at least 3 years, up to 5 years in prison, and a $5,000 fine.
- Fatalities — 1st-degree felony; License revoked for at least 3 years, minimum of 4 years in prison with a maximum sentence of 30 years, and a $10,000 fine.
What Should I do After a Hit and Run Truck Accident?
Don’t chase a hit-and-run truck driver as it may cause a far more dangerous situation for you and others on the road. Additionally, you would also be leaving the accident scene and may lose out on the opportunity to acquire eyewitness accounts. Moreover, the issue of who is responsible for the injury gets murky.
Instead, immediately call the police and your insurance carrier. Begin documenting the accident scene by taking photos, videos and taking the witnesses’ contact information along with any details of the accident they remember. It’s vital to document any details you can remember about the truck and what led up to the accident while it’s still fresh on your mind.
Also, always seek immediate medical care, even if you don’t feel like you’ve sustained any injuries. Adrenaline and other “fight or flight” chemicals can dull your sensitivity to pain following a traumatic experience such as a hit-and-run accident with a big rig. Injury symptoms may not appear for hours, weeks, days, or even months later.
How can a Hit and Run Attorney Help?
Contact Darrigo & Diaz to help you understand the process of seeking recovery of damages associated with a hit-and-run truck accident. Darrigo & Diaz is located in Tampa and ready to fight for you to receive the reimbursement you deserve. Contact us at (813) 774-3341 for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation right over the phone. You can also contact us online with any questions you have. As you begin this journey, just remember that we’re here for you every step of the way.