Being involved in a truck accident can be a highly stressful experience. However, it’s crucial to know the correct procedures to follow in order to protect yourself legally and seek compensation if necessary. Here are 10 essential steps you should take immediately after a truck accident.
Step 1: Stay at the Scene
Whether you were directly involved in the accident or witnessed it, it is your responsibility as a licensed driver to remain at the scene until law enforcement allows you to leave. Leaving the scene can lead to serious legal consequences.
Step 2: Contact Law Enforcement
Ensure that you call law enforcement and emergency services to the scene. This is essential for documenting the accident and starting the investigation process. Don’t let the truck driver dissuade you from contacting the authorities.
Step 3: Exchange Information
Exchange vital information with all parties involved in the accident. This includes driver’s license numbers, insurance company details, contact information, and the trucking company’s name. This information will be crucial if you need to file a lawsuit or pursue further actions.
Step 4: Identify Witnesses
If there were witnesses present at the scene, gather their contact information or get written statements from them. This can help support your case and provide additional evidence if needed.
Step 5: Notify Your Insurance Company
Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. This prevents any risk of them denying coverage due to delayed notification. Be cautious when speaking to the at-fault driver’s insurance company and consult a personal injury attorney before providing any statements.
Step 6: Document the Accident
Use your cell phone to capture photos of the accident scene, damages, and any injuries sustained. These visual records will be valuable when proving the extent of the situation, both in and out of court.
Step 7: Preserve Records
Keep all relevant documents, such as medical bills, records, shop bills, and proof of pre-accident income. These records will help establish damages and ensure accurate compensation calculations.
Step 8: Be Cautious with Statements
Avoid making any admissions of fault or apologies at the accident scene. If the truck driver tries to shift blame onto you, seek legal counsel immediately. Anything you say could potentially be used against you in the future.
Step 9: Seek Medical Attention
Even if you believe your injuries are minor, seek medical treatment promptly. This creates an official record of your condition and can help identify any hidden or long-term issues.
Step 10: Seek Legal Representation
Protect your rights by engaging a qualified truck accident attorney who can navigate the complexities of trucking laws. Ensure they have experience handling similar cases and are familiar with the local legal landscape.
It’s crucial to select the right legal representation when dealing with a truck driving accident. At Garrity Traina, we have the expertise and experience to handle your case effectively. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Driving Accidents
Are truck accident lawsuits different than car accident lawsuits?
Absolutely. Truck accidents involve higher stakes due to the size and potential impact of 18-wheelers. Insurance companies and trucking companies will fiercely protect themselves, making the settlement process more complex and demanding a robust case to establish liability.
Can I be compensated for lost wages?
If the accident causes you to miss work, you may be eligible for compensation for lost wages directly resulting from the accident. This typically covers the period from the accident until your full recovery.
Can I sue for being hit by a semi-truck?
If you were not at fault in an accident involving a semi-truck, you may be eligible for compensation. While most cases are settled before reaching court, you have the right to file a lawsuit and prove the truck driver’s liability and the adequacy of the compensation you seek.
Do I need an attorney for a truck driving accident?
Hiring an attorney is highly advisable. Insurance companies and trucking companies have legal teams working in their favor, so having legal representation ensures your best interests are protected. An experienced attorney specializing in Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) accidents will navigate the legal process on your behalf.
How is pain and suffering calculated in truck driving accidents?
Calculating pain and suffering is subjective and determined by adjusters, mediators, or juries. The severity of your injuries and their impact on your life play a significant role in determining the compensation amount.
How can I maximize my compensation from a truck accident?
Thoroughly document the accident, build a strong case, and engage an experienced Houston personal injury lawyer well-versed in 18-wheeler accidents. This combination is the key to maximizing your compensation.
What happens if a CDL driver is involved in an accident?
CDL drivers must report the accident to law enforcement and their employer immediately. Fatal accidents require immediate drug testing. Truck drivers face more severe fines and penalties, and if they violate any laws leading up to the accident, they may be held accountable by law enforcement. Serious truck accidents may trigger federal-level investigations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Why do insurance companies resist settling truck driving accident claims?
The risk exposure for insurance companies is higher when covering semi-trucks and trucking companies due to the potential damage they can cause. As a result, insurance companies often try to minimize their liabilities and protect themselves from significant financial losses.
When you are involved in a truck driving accident, it is essential to follow the correct procedures and protect your legal rights. At Garrity Traina, we are dedicated to advocating for our clients and ensuring they receive fair treatment and compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.