What to Do After a Truck Accident
Call the local police to the scene immediately after a truck accident. Accept emergency medical care if you were injured and gather evidence at the scene, if you can. In general, you should also avoid saying anything verbally or on social media that could be construed as you accepting blame for causing the collision.
What you do after a collision with a large truck is important and can help build your personal injury case. Representing yourself after a truck accident can be difficult, though. It is never too early to contact a truck accident attorney after an accident.
Getting one involved in your case early could give them time to canvass the accident scene and surrounding area. They can also explain and protect your rights and gather crucial evidence that will support your case.
Insist on a Reporting the Truck Accident to Local Police
After a collision with a large or commercial truck, everyone involved in the accident will tell their own version of the events. A primary benefit of calling the police to generate a truck accident report is that the report will capture objective data about the crash.
Filing a police report has these additional advantages:
- It prevents accident details from being misconstrued
- It captures critical information at the right time
- It lists contact information from key parties
- It can contain a narrative from the investigating officer
- It can include police-generated photos and diagrams
The truck accident lawyer who accepts your case can also use the dating information on the report to interpret how the statute of limitations will apply to your case. This is important since failing to meet the filing deadline can prevent you from recovering damages at all.
While mandatory, the statute of limitations is also complex and can change based on a number of factors. The best way to comply with it is to let a lawyer familiar with your state’s laws handle it for you.
Your Accident Report Has Important Information That Supports Your Case
Your lawyer, along with legal and insurance representatives for the at-fault party in your truck accident case, may rely on impartial information like your police report to understand what happened.
This report will contain:
- Each vehicle’s VIN, license plate number, and description
- Names and contact details of all involved parties
- The accident’s date, time, and location
- Road and weather conditions at the time of the crash
- Description of injuries and vehicle damage
- Points of impact on both involved vehicles
Your police report will also note any tickets or citations issued to the truck driver. Your lawyer may obtain a copy of the report and include it in the case file they build for you. If you obtain it prior to engaging a lawyer, share it with your lawyer and retain a copy for your personal records.
Seek Medical Care and Help Anyone Injured in the Truck Accident
Recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) research reported 415,000 annual truck accidents, including 101,000 crashes that resulted in serious injuries. Get immediate medical attention and stick to your prescribed treatment plan until you reach maximum medical improvement after a truck accident.
Common truck accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Back and spine injuries
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Chemical and electrical burns
- Limb loss or amputation
The lawyer who represents you may collect medical bills from every healthcare professional and facility where you were treated. They may also request a written prognosis to include the costs of future care in your compensation request. Overlooking this important step could mean you are left with uncovered medical bills that should be the responsibility of the at-fault party. A lawyer can help you avoid this costly oversight.
Track Your Immediate and Ongoing Medical Care and Bills
Medical care after a truck accident can be costly and extensive. It can also vary greatly based on the extent and severity of your injuries.
Your medical bills can include:
- Emergency room care
- Hospital admissions
- Rehab and therapy
- Surgical procedures
- Assistive medical devices
- Treatment-related travel costs
- In-home medical support
On your own, it can be easier than you think to overlook accident-related medical expenses, including medical expenses for personal injury claims. A lawyer can compile your medical records, receipts, and more to substantiate your past, present, and future medical expenses.
Track All Post-Accident Expenses and Losses
Your medical bills are only one of your recoverable damages.
Your legal team can also assess the value of:
- Income loss from any of your jobs. Your lawyer can help you document full and part-time employment, gig-economy income, other difficult-to-document income, and loss of future earning capacity.
- Post-accident psychological trauma and past, present, and future physical pain and suffering.
- Compensation for lasting disabilities, disfiguring injuries, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Your lawyer can compile the bills, estimates, and receipts that prove the value of your economic damages. They can also explain how intangible damages are documented and add this information to your evidence file.
Report the Accident to Your Insurer and Get Property Damage Estimates
The at-fault party must repair or replace your damaged or destroyed vehicle. Repair estimates include the cost of restoring your car to its pre-accident condition. After repairs are done, your vehicle may not hold its resale value. Since many people shy away from buying a car known to have been in an accident, you can recover its diminished value as part of your compensation request.
If your car is declared a total loss, your attorney may use authoritative guides, like the Kelley Blue Book, to understand its replacement value. They can also fight to include any add-ons or improvements in your replacement estimate so your car is not undervalued.
Gather Evidence at the Scene if Your Injuries Permit You To Do So
Most lawyers recommend that you should gather as much information at the crash scene as possible. Do not attempt to do so if it will worsen any injuries you sustained in the crash. Instead, let the police handle evidence collection at the scene and let your lawyer analyze it later.
When possible, evidence you should obtain includes the names and phone numbers of any witnesses who came forward. Witnesses are valuable because they can provide details on the accident from varying perspectives. In these technology-rich days, they may also capture photos and videos that support your version of events.
Take pictures, if you can, of your car and the truck from varying angles. A lawyer can get pertinent information you might have a hard time accessing on your own. This can include the truck driver’s license and training history, route information, and logbooks. It can also include cargo loading records and the truck’s repair and maintenance history.
Consult a Local Truck Accident Attorney Sooner Rather Than Later
It’s never too soon after a truck accident to get a lawyer on board. Involving a law firm means you can concentrate on your recovery without losing valuable time on your case. A local law firm could also have a plethora of resources that will help delve into your case.
A lawyer can:
- Advocate on your behalf
- Determine the value of your case
- Protect you from an insufficient settlement
- Protect you from bad faith insurance practices
- Create and send a demand letter
- Conduct a detailed and comprehensive investigation
- Meet all mandatory notification and filing deadlines
- Prove there might be more than one liable party
- Pursue all potentially liable parties in your case
- Handle all case-related communication and documentation
- Complete and submit insurance claim forms
- Handle the negotiation process from start to finish
If a family member lost their life in a head on truck collision, a lawyer can help you build a strong case for wrongful death compensation.
A lawyer can also present your evidence to the at-fault parties and their insurers in an organized fashion and handle the back-and-forth negotiations of the settlement process. They can fight for a favorable settlement and work hard to prevent your case from being undervalued or underpaid.
Your Lawyer Can Interview Witnesses While Their Memories Are Vivid
If there were passengers in your car at the time of the collision, they will be asked to tell their version of the events that led to the accident. Other witnesses who might be interviewed include first responders, passersby, and the officers who investigate the accident. Avoid talking to potential witnesses on your own. Let your lawyer handle these interviews for you.
Let Your Attorney Determine How the Truck Accident Happened
A truck accident can have many at-fault parties—the truck driver, their employer, the manufacturer of the truck or its parts, the cargo loaders, or the repair facility.
Contributing factors and causes of truck accident cases include:
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Driver intoxication
- Manufacturing flaws
- Truck design errors
- Mechanical failure
- Truck parts failure
- Road and weather conditions
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Faulty truck repair
- Faulty truck maintenance
- Unlicensed driver
A thorough investigation will get to the bottom of the accident and identify all contributing factors. Each potential at-fault party will have their own insurance provider. You do not have to juggle multiple insurers on your own. Let a lawyer deal with them for you.
They can handle all verbal, written, and virtual communication for you. They can also field settlement offers, weighing the feasibility of each one you receive. Your lawyer does not usurp your right to make the final settlement decision. Instead, they guide you toward a well-informed decision and fight hard to obtain a fair case outcome.
What Not To Say or Do After a Truck Accident
Sometimes what you do not say or do can be important to your case. At the accident scene, provide the police with the information they request. Until you speak to a local law firm, avoid saying anything else.
- Do not argue with the truck driver or verbally place or accept any degree of blame. Speak only to the police officer at the scene.
- Do not speak to any insurance representative until you speak to your attorney. They may handle all contact for you, including with your own insurer, if necessary.
- Do not put any recollections, thoughts, or comments in any fixed form. This includes sending or responding to emails and signing anything your lawyer has not reviewed.
Do not apologize or admit fault or liability. Answer necessary questions at the scene and do not elaborate or answer unasked questions. Anything you do say could later be misconstrued or used against you at a later date. Share necessary information—nothing more, nothing less.
Avoid the Temptation To Talk About Your Accident on Social Media
Today, everyone posts their thoughts on social outlets. Avoid talking about your accident on social media or posting pictures. You should also avoid accepting new or unknown friend requests. Your posts, if taken out of context, can harm your case, so the best course of action is to avoid posting anything at all.
Any status updates, comments, or photos you share can be used as evidence later. Deleting posts may not be effective since they can be retained with screenshots.
Many Law Firms Offer Free Consultations to Truck Accident Victims
Recovering from the physical and psychological trauma of a truck accident can take time. It can be hard to simultaneously focus on putting your case together. You can leave your case to a lawyer in your area.
Many personal injury law firms in Phoenix can listen to the details of your case in a free consultation. You can ask any questions you have and learn more about what to do after a truck accident. After a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Phoenix, you may have a clearer idea of how your truck accident case will work.