Getting into a truck accident can be a devastating and frustrating experience. And it’s not surprising one of the first thoughts you have will be, “What do I do now?”
What you do at the accident scene is important to any potential personal injury claim you may have following the trucking accident. Collecting evidence and keeping your comments brief will not only protect your legal rights but will assist your truck accident lawyer in getting you compensation for your injuries.
You were just hit by a tractor trailer. What do you do now?
Before you even have time to figure out what happened, take a moment to make sure everyone is ok in the car. You are probably rattled at this moment and need to have a clear head before continuing to the next step.
If you’re in immediate danger, move to a safe location away from other vehicles if you can. Try to drive to a safe location on the side of the road to prevent further accidents from occurring. If your car is incapacitated, try to leave the vehicle and get to the side of the road.
Next, call the police and request an ambulance to come to the scene. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s best to have medical professionals check on you. Remember, any injuries may not show until hours or days after the truck accident.
While you’re waiting for emergency services to arrive, exchange information with the other drivers. When speaking with the truck driver, you want to get their commercial driver’s license (CDL) and the insurance as well as the name of the owner of the truck and the employer. These will be needed later on.
Take a moment to document your accident. Get photos and video of the scene, of the tractor trailer, and of your car. You also want to get contact information for any witnesses of the accident.
Once the police arrive on the scene, give a brief but factual statement. Let the police know what happened but do not offer any opinions of what you think might have occurred.
Once the ambulance arrives, seek medical attention. If you do not want to go to the hospital from the scene, make an appointment with your personal physician to get checked out at a later date. Injuries sometimes don’t appear until hours or days after the accident so it’s in your best interest to see the doctor after a trucking accident.
Knowing what to say or not say to the police is key to your truck accident claim. What you say becomes part of the accident report, which is a crucial record for your claim. The insurance company will be using the police report to determine who was at fault for the accident so you will want to make sure the account is accurate.
Chances are you will be in a high emotional state at the scene of a truck accident, making your ability to give a statement extremely stressful. You may admit fault where you are not liable at all.
According to the U.S. General Services Administration, truck drivers are not to sign or make any official statements as to who was at fault except to their supervisor or a federal government investigator. This is important because the police report is not to establish fault but to acknowledge what occurred from your perspective and any potential witnesses.
If you are the driver of the car, you should follow the same process. Stick with the details of the accident and do not offer an opinion about what happened or who you think may be at fault for the accident. Remember, the information in the police report will be used by your insurance company to establish who was at fault for the accident.
You and the trucking company or driver can exchange the following information:
In addition to the steps you take at the accident, start documenting any expenses and serious injuries that resulted from the truck collision.
The successful accident claim will be fully documented with medical treatment, the information about the vehicles involved, and a timeline of how the accident happened. The more information you can provide to your truck accident lawyer, the more quickly they will be able to reach a fair settlement with the insurance adjuster or the party you sue.
When the commercial truck collision occurred, you believed your insurance coverage was sufficient. However, when it comes to financial recovery, even if you have the proper policies, your insurance company is not always in your corner.
The goal of your policy provider is to make sure the at-fault party pays out for the majority of the losses in the collision. But, if you live in a state where each driver’s insurance covers their policyholders’ loss, you will likely be coming up short on compensation.
A personal injury lawyer can help to build a claim with the insurance company to get you the appropriate financial compensation.
In cases where the insurance company is unable to provide you with the money you need, the legal process of filing a lawsuit against the other driver may be required.
If the next phase of your accident is to sue, an experienced truck accident lawyer will be able to take on the trucking company’s insurance carrier to cover losses relating to the accident. Remember, in some cases, it can be multiple parties responsible for the accident.
For example, if a truck driver was found falling asleep at the wheel at the time of the accident, they may be held liable for the crash. But after a thorough investigation, your truck accident lawyer discovers that the truck driver was under orders of his employer to disregard the hours of service regulations so the shipment can reach its destination earlier than expected. In this case, the trucking company may be held responsible for the crash.
No matter who you need to take action against, you as the injured person in large truck collisions needs to have an experienced truck accident law firm on your side.
If you suffered severe injuries in a truck accident, you need to schedule a free legal consultation as soon as possible.
A respected personal injury attorney at Regan Zambri Long will get the best results possible for your case. Find out how we can help you with your truck accident case in a free, no-obligation consultation. You don’t pay until we win.
Schedule your free consultation by calling (202) 960-4746 or sending us a message today.