07 Aug What to do After a Truck Accident
We share the road with a variety of vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Your midsize sedan uses the same highway as an 18-wheel semi-truck. Just as vehicles differ, so do the attention spans of their drivers. Cautious and attentive driving takes place right alongside reckless and careless driving. And so, accidents are inevitable. Though you strive to ensure the safety of yourself and others when you get behind the wheel, it is important to know what to do in the instance of an accident.
An accident involving a semi-truck often results in devastating damages and injuries. It is crucial to seek medical attention immediately, followed by legal counsel experienced in handling trucking matters. And as you aim to restore justice and seek compensation from a lawsuit, make sure to implement these necessary and helpful steps.
Steps to take after a truck accident:
1. Don’t Move.
Where circumstances are severe or life-threatening, leave your car where it stopped immediately after the crash. If your car becomes disabled, this will be your only option. However, even when you can drive, leaving your car in the location is came to rest will help preserve any useful evidence. Still, always use good judgment and caution to prevent additional accidents.
2. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
Even if you are uninjured, someone else involved in the crash may be suffering and unable to call themselves. In addition to seeking first responder assistance, calling 9-1-1 will also dispatch the police. Upon their arrival, police will create a crash report and assist in gathering important evidence and eyewitness statements.
3. Gather evidence (pictures!).
Take pictures, videos, and voice recordings. You have a great opportunity for gathering evidence with your cell phone. So make sure to document as much as possible. Be sure to include shots of the cars, significant landmarks, skid marks on the road, and other details. A video is even better if time and mobility allow. It is also beneficial to record your thoughts and the details of the events with a voice recording. Include everything you remember happening in the accident as memory tends to fade quickly with time. This will be valuable in assessing the nature of the crash. But remember, never put yourself in harms way in gathering any of the above information.
4. Get Other Driver Info.
Make sure to gather information from the other drivers involved. This should include their name, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, insurance carrier and agent name, and their insurance policy number.
5. Don’t Give Any Statements to Other Insurance Company or Investigators.
While you should always cooperate with law enforcement, do not give any statements about the crash or your injuries to the other insurance company without first speaking with your lawyer. Insurance companies have large teams of investigators and will use whatever you say against your case. They will use leading questions, just like cross examination, to get you accept answers that will harm your future recovery. Just don’t do it.
6. Report Crash to DMV within 10 Days.
Be sure to follow your state’s laws for reporting an accident, either to the police, DMV, or another authority. California requires you report a car accident to the DMV within ten days if a person was killed or if monetary damages exceeded $1,000.
7. Get Medical Help if Necessary.
In every situation, seeking competent medical advise as soon as possible is best. While this may seem obvious if you suffer a serious injury, people in minor crashes often go days without seeing a doctor, only to feel symptoms later. Insurance companies always use the gap in medical care to argue you are not really injured. Just get the medical attention you deserve.
8. Seek Legal Advice Promptly.
If you decide to pursue a claim against any other driver or negligent party, remember that your timing in doing so is critical. Evidence, especially from a car accident begins to disappear moments after the accident. Proper legal teams have investigators who will gather and preserve as much information and evidence as possible, so you can worry about getting better.
9. Statute of Limitations.
You will also need to consider the statute of limitations which applies a deadline to when you can file a lawsuit. If you fail file a formal complaint with the appropriate court within the appropriate time period, any recovery will be prohibited.
10. Retain Experienced Legal Counsel.
Have your case evaluated by a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer. Be sure that your attorney specializes in these cases, opposed to one who handles anything that walks through the door. Experienced trucking attorneys will better understand the nature of your case to vigorously prosecute your claim.
In the aftermath of an accident involving a truck, you will face a myriad of medical and legal challenges. And as you do so, be sure to seek proper legal counsel and guidance. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of William D. Shapiro. We specialize in trucking accidents with unmatched expertise.