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What to Do After a Truck Accident?

What to Do After a Truck Accident?

What to Do After a Truck Accident?

After a truck accident, you most likely have many questions, such as, “What happens now?” “What should be my next steps?” and “How should I handle this situation?

The adrenaline rush and shock can leave you uncertain about how to proceed. However, you do not want figuring out what to do after a truck accident to turn into a guessing game.

Below are some actions you should take if you find yourself injured in a truck crash. For guidance regarding your specific situation, never wait to discuss what to do with a truck accident lawyer. The sooner you do, the sooner you can take appropriate action.

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Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Rear-end car accident with a truckAccidents involving large trucks cause more than 150,000 injuries and 5,000 deaths annually across the United States.

Among some of the most common causes of truck crashes are:

  • Driver error. Human error remains one of the primary causes of truck accidents. Common examples of driver error include misjudging distances, failing to adhere to traffic signals, or making improper lane changes. The large size and limited maneuverability of commercial trucks make any error potentially more devastating to everyone on the road.
  • Improper cargo loading. Improperly secured or distributed loads on the truck can lead to tipping, spilling, or other dangerous situations. Overloaded trucks or those with shifting cargo can cause accidents.
  • Inadequate training. Driving a commercial truck requires specialized skills that can only be achieved through comprehensive training. If a driver lacks adequate training, they may not fully understand how to safely operate the vehicle under various conditions, which increases the risk of accidents.
  • Driver fatigue. Truck drivers often have rigorous schedules that can lead to feeling tired and drowsy. Driving without adequate rest reduces reaction times, impairs judgment, and increases the likelihood of falling asleep at the wheel. Despite regulations intended to limit driving hours, including Hours of Service (HOS) regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), fatigue remains a significant issue among truckers.
  • Equipment failure. Failure of truck components, such as brakes, tires, or steering systems, can lead to catastrophic accidents. Regular inspections and timely maintenance can prevent such failures.
  • Speeding. Trucks are large and heavy vehicles that require extra time and distance to stop safely. During an emergency brake, the truck may not stop quickly enough to avoid a collision when traveling at high speeds. That is why truck drivers must obey posted speed limits at all times.
  • Distracted driving. In today’s digital age, truck drivers may check their mobile phones, eat, use navigation systems, or engage in other distractions. The problem with distracted driving is that it takes attention away from the road, increasing the potential for accidents.

Knowing what caused your truck accident is essential to more accurately identifying liable parties. Depending on how the crash occurs, potentially liable parties may include the truck driver, the trucking company, the manufacturer of the truck or its parts, the cargo loading company, and others.

Actions to Take After a Truck Accident Occurs

Being involved in a truck crash can be a frightening and life-altering experience. Emotions running high amid the chaos can make it challenging to know what to do. This brief guide explains what actions to take after a truck accident.

Seek Treatment Immediately

Injuries do not always manifest any symptoms or visible signs immediately. That is why you need medical attention as soon as possible, even if you think you are fine.

Here are a couple more things to keep in mind:

  • Do not refuse an ambulance after the crash. This is not the time to tough it out. Accept medical help on the scene, and get transported to the hospital if emergency responders recommend it.
  • What to do if you aren’t seriously injured? If you feel your injuries are minor or have not suffered an injury, visit a doctor within a day or two of the accident. Some injuries, particularly internal ones, may not present symptoms immediately.

Remember: Get prompt medical care. Documenting the harm you have suffered will also help you when pursuing a compensation claim later.

Notify Your Insurance Company

You need to notify your insurance company about the accident, as promptly reporting is typically a requirement of the insurance policy. This is true even if you believe the truck driver was to blame. You risk invalidating a future claim if you do not report the accident to your insurer as necessary per the contract.

Here are a couple more notes about notifying your insurance company:

  • Be concise and stick to the facts. When speaking with your insurance company’s representative, do not admit fault or speculate on how the accident occurred. The time is not right for that yet.
  • Keep a detailed record. Document all your interactions with the insurance company, including the names of individuals you spoke with, the call’s date and time, and the conversation’s outcome.
  • Have your truck accident lawyer handle this notification. This is usually the best course of action to avoid saying anything that your insurer might misconstrue.

If your insurance company starts asking questions that seem too invasive or inappropriate, direct the insurer to your attorney. It will help you avoid saying anything that can harm your case.

Avoid Speaking With Third-Party Insurers

The insurance companies for the truck driver or trucking company might contact you soon after the crash, asking questions or even making a quick settlement offer.

While you may want to speak with them or even accept a check to close the case immediately, never do this. Insurers take steps to minimize your claim, and saying the wrong thing or accepting an insufficient settlement can damage your financial future.

Instead, politely decline to discuss the accident and inform the representative you plan to hire a truck accident lawyer.

Consult a Truck Accident Attorney

Trying to navigate the days and weeks after a truck accident alone is a risky endeavor. In those days and weeks, you must communicate with the insurance company, fill out forms, and prepare a lot of paperwork for your claim.

By taking these steps without legal counsel, you expose yourself to significant risks.

  • Why consult an attorney? An attorney will work tirelessly to protect your rights, handle communications with insurance companies on your behalf, and take the necessary steps to receive the compensation you deserve.
  • What to expect during the consultation. During your first consultation, the attorney will ask for details about the accident, your injuries, and the events that followed. They will also explain your options for compensation and what to expect if you pursue legal action.
  • How to choose the right attorney. You need an attorney with experience in personal injury law, focusing on truck accidents. A track record of successful cases can indicate an attorney’s competence.

The steps you take right after your truck accident can affect your ability to recover compensation for your damages.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About What to Do After a Truck Accident

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)As a truck accident victim, you may face many concerns, ranging from medical care to legal proceedings. In such critical times, you must understand your rights and responsibilities.

The FAQ section below can address some of the questions you may have. However, if you need further guidance, consider speaking with an attorney.

Why should I call the police after a truck accident?

Calling the police is one of the first actions you should take after a truck accident. Their presence not only ensures immediate medical attention to anyone who the truck accident injured but also provides an official record of the accident.

You need that record for your insurance claim and subsequent legal actions.

Further, under state law, you must call the police to the scene of a motor vehicle accident if the crash caused property damage in excess of $1,000, bodily injuries, or death.

Should I see a doctor if I feel fine?

Yes, absolutely. The adrenaline rush and shock from a traumatic event such as a truck accident can mask symptoms of injuries. That is why you need to seek medical attention even if you feel perfectly fine or think you suffered minor injuries like bruises.

Sometimes, serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries or internal damage do not manifest symptoms until days or weeks after the accident.

Should I answer the insurance company’s calls after a truck accident?

The insurance company will most likely contact you after an accident, but you are not legally required to answer their calls.

Speaking to an insurance adjuster without proper legal guidance can leave you at serious legal and financial risks. They may ask leading questions to get you to admit fault or accept their quick, low-ball settlement. Instead, politely decline to speak with them and tell them your attorney will contact them. It protects you from inadvertently saying something that can hurt your case.

Will I have to deal with the trucking company after the accident?

Likely, yes. The legal concept of vicarious liability means that companies can be held accountable for the negligence of their employees while on the job. In most cases, this makes the truck driver’s employer – the trucking company – one of the liable parties in your accident claim.

However, trucking companies may try to distance themselves from liability, which is why you need the assistance of an experienced attorney.

When should I contact an attorney after a truck accident?

“The sooner, the better” is the most appropriate answer. Consulting a truck accident attorney as soon as possible can protect your rights from the outset and maximize your chances of receiving a fair settlement.

By working with an attorney early in the process, you preserve crucial evidence, understand the legal implications of your case, and ensure the trucking company’s legal team or insurance company do not take advantage of you.

What are my options for compensation after a truck accident?

After a truck accident, there are various avenues for seeking compensation. You may recover economic damages to cover medical bills, loss of income, diminished or lost earning capacity, property damage, etc. In personal injury law, damages refers to the money awarded to the injured victim.

Additionally, you can be entitled to non-economic damages for emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and others. You might want to schedule a case evaluation with a truck accident attorney to explore your avenues for seeking compensation and determine the extent of damages in your specific case.

Never Wait to Consult a Truck Accident Attorney

Time is of the essence in truck accident cases, and waiting too long to seek legal counsel can have significant consequences.

One important reason to consult an attorney right away is to ensure the preservation of evidence. Truck accidents often involve many complicated factors, such as multiple vehicles, technical evidence, and trucking company records or footage. By involving an attorney early on, they can protect and collect this key evidence.

Another critical consideration is the statute of limitations for filing a truck accident claim. Each state has its own specific time limits to file a lawsuit. These time limits vary, and failure to file within the applicable statute of limitations can result in the loss of your legal rights to pursue compensation.

By consulting a truck accident attorney without delay, you can file your claim within the appropriate time frame, maximizing your chances of a successful outcome.

Don’t wait, reach out to a personal injury attorney today to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Consultations are free.

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