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Can Truck Drivers Be Held Liable for Miss-and-Run Accidents?

Did you know that some crashes in Oklahoma are caused by drivers who escape without so much as smudging their vehicle’s paint? Worse yet, in some cases, the drivers who cause these crashes aren’t even aware they caused them!

These types of crashes are called “miss-and-run” accidents. Because the at-fault drivers leave the scene of the accidents, it’s difficult for victims to get compensation compared to crashes where at-fault drivers stop. Miss-and-run accidents can happen with all types of vehicles, including passenger vehicles, motorcycles, and semi-trucks.

If you or someone you love was injured in a miss-and-run truck accident, here’s what you need to know.

What Is the Definition of a Miss-and-Run Accident?

Unlike hit-and-run accidents where a vehicle makes physical contact with another vehicle, pedestrian, or property before the driver flees the scene, miss-and-run accidents involve scenarios where the actions of a driver cause an accident without direct contact with other vehicles.

For example, if a semi-truck driver abruptly changes lanes and forces another driver to take evasive action that results in them running off the road or crashing into another vehicle, this could be classified as a miss-and-run accident.

These incidents can be particularly dangerous when involving large commercial trucks due to their size, weight, and lack of maneuverability. That’s because other drivers may have to swerve far out of their lanes and into ditches or the paths of other vehicles to avoid being hit by these semi-trucks or their trailers.

How Do You Determine Liability in a Miss-and-Run Accident?

Determining liability in miss-and-run accidents can be complex, primarily because there is no physical contact between the truck and the victim. However, this does not mean that truck drivers cannot be held liable.

To establish a truck driver’s liability in a miss-and-run accident, victims need to demonstrate the truck driver’s negligence led to their crash. This can involve gathering evidence such as eyewitness statements, video footage from surveillance or dash cameras, and vehicle data records.

How Can Negligent Truck Drivers Cause Miss-and-Run Accidents?

Miss-and-run accidents involving commercial truck drivers often stem from the unique challenges and pressures of the job.

Here are several common factors that may lead to miss-and-run accidents caused by truck drivers:

  • Fatigue and Drowsiness: Truck drivers often work long hours and might be driving with insufficient rest, leading to fatigue. Truck drivers working beyond their allowed hours can experience significantly impaired reaction times, judgment, and ability to make safe driving decisions, increasing the risk of causing accidents without direct contact.

  • Distracted Driving: Distractions such as using a smartphone, eating, using a GPS device, or adjusting the radio can divert a truck driver’s attention from the road. This lack of attention can cause a driver to accidentally make dangerous maneuvers that force other drivers to react in ways that increase their risk of a crash.

  • Inadequate Training: Driving a large commercial truck requires specialized skills and thorough training. Inexperienced or inadequately trained drivers might not handle the truck correctly in certain situations, leading to dangerous maneuvers that result in miss-and-run scenarios. For example, inexperienced semi-truck drivers may not be able to tell if a car is in their blind spot before changing lanes, forcing that car out of the lane and into another car’s path.  Semi-truck drivers might also be held liable if they falsified their credentials or drove a commercial truck under someone else’s name and license.

  • Speeding: Exceeding speed limits or driving too fast for conditions can make it difficult for truck drivers to react to road hazards, traffic changes, or other vehicles’ actions in time, thereby increasing the risk of causing miss-and-run accidents.

  • Aggressive Driving: Actions such as tailgating, frequent and unpredictable lane changes, or not yielding the right of way can intimidate or force other drivers to take evasive action, potentially causing accidents without the truck making physical contact.

How Are Truck Drivers in Miss-and-Run Accidents Identified?

Identifying a truck driver involved in a miss-and-run accident can be a complex and daunting task, especially since the truck often continues on while the injured victim stays put.

Holding the driver liable can also be difficult, given the absence of direct contact between the truck and the victim.

Resources and evidence that can help track down miss-and-run accident truck drivers includes:

  • Surveillance Footage: Surveillance videos from nearby businesses, traffic cameras, or highway monitoring systems may have captured the incident. This footage can be crucial in identifying the truck and possibly the company name or license plate.

  • Dashcam Videos: If the victim or witnesses have dashcam footage, this can provide direct evidence of the truck’s actions leading up to the accident.

  • Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs): Commercial trucks are often equipped with ELDs that record data on the truck’s movements and driver’s activity. These records can be obtained to establish the truck’s location at the time of the accident.

  • Witness Statements: Collecting statements from eyewitnesses who saw the incident can provide descriptions of the truck, any identifying marks, and the direction in which it was headed.

  • Working with Experts: Accident reconstruction experts can analyze the available evidence to help determine how the accident occurred and potentially identify the truck involved. They can also interpret data from ELDs, dashcams, or GPS devices.

  • Coordination with Law Enforcement: Law enforcement officials who are investigating the accident may share information and resources to help victims pursuing compensation identify at-fault truck drivers.

Trust Our Oklahoma City Truck Accident Lawyers’ Experience

Being injured in a miss-and-run truck accident can feel hopeless. You may have very little information about the truck that caused you to crash and tracking it down may seem impossible. However, we’ve helped many victims get compensation after crashes like these, and now we want to help you.

Contact the Oklahoma City truck accident attorneys at Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers today for a free case review. We’ll review the facts of what happened and devise a plan for tracking down the at-fault truck driver and getting you the compensation you deserve.