If you’ve been in an accident with a driver from a commercial truck company, you’re probably overwhelmed with what to do. Sure, you may have handled a regular car accident before. However, truck accidents bring more complexity to gathering information, filing insurance claims, and taking possible legal action.
Not only can being involved in a large truck accident be a stressful experience, but it can be lethal. This is often due to the size differences between passenger cars and commercial trucks. In 2017 alone, 2,797 passenger vehicle occupants and 683 large truck occupants died in truck accidents.
The main differences between handling regular passenger vehicle crashes and truck crashes comes down to the frequent need to get legal advice. After all, there are the complexities of determining fault and getting proper compensation. But luckily, many of the steps for reporting the accident and researching the incident are very similar.
Read on to learn the exact steps you need to take if you’re involved in a truck accident.
Report Your Truck Accident First
Like with any vehicle accident, it is essential that you report the incident immediately to the local police department. If the accident is small and your vehicle doesn’t show much damage, you may feel tempted to ignore this step. But a police report is a necessity for proving the incident and moving forward with any legal action.
When the police arrive, look for any nearby witnesses who saw your accident involving the truck company. They can provide insight that you can later use to help prove who was at fault.
At the same time, you’ll want to calmly explain how the accident happened and provide contact information for all parties involved. However, be careful not to admit fault or say anything that can be used against you later in a legal case with the truck company.
Gather Key Information for Your Case
While still at the scene, now is the time to gather photos, statements, insurance information, and contact details. You’ll need these for submitting your car insurance claim and moving forward with any legal claims, if necessary. This also helps establish who actually was at fault for the accident.
Take photos from different angles of the accident and avoid moving the vehicles. You’ll want to be able to provide a clear image of the accident just as it had happened. If you have any injury, it’s important to photograph this as well for later proof.
When gathering information, you might think it’s enough to get the name and phone number of the independent truck company. However, this is a bad idea since it can be hard to track down the specific driver. Instead, get the driver’s full name and contact information, driver’s license number, insurance policy information, and contact information for the truck company itself.
Get Medical Care Quickly
Due to the size and weight of the vehicles that truck driving companies use, injuries can be severe for these accidents.
Even if you feel fine or think you just have a mild whiplash injury, it’s recommended to get checked out at a hospital or doctor’s office as soon as possible. In fact, truck accident injuries can worsen or even show up later.
When you do get medical care, be sure to follow through with the complete treatment. Also, ask the medical facility for a copy of your records and the bill.
Not only will following this step ensure you get proper medical treatment, but it will help you with your case later. For example, when dealing with compensation from insurance companies, you might need medical records if you need to file a suit against the truck driver’s company.
Know How to Deal with Insurance
So, you’ve reported the incident to the cops and gotten any immediate medical care needed. Now you need to give your own car insurance company a call to file a claim.
When reporting the truck accident, stick to the facts on the police report and be prepared with the photographs and witness statements you’ve collected. You might find that your insurance company prompts you for more detailed information. If so, let them know that you intend to seek an attorney who can represent you and provide the necessary information.
One note is you shouldn’t call the truck company’s insurance company yourself. But it’s possible you might receive a call from them. Again, avoid admitting any fault. Just stick to just the basic facts on the police report to avoid saying something that could be used against you in a truck accident law case.
When it comes time for an insurance adjuster to take a look at your vehicle, consider contacting a truck accident lawyer first for advice. The adjuster will ask you for an official statement, and it helps to know which things to avoid paying for the best result of your claim. You’ll also want to save any documentation for repair estimates or repairs completed.
Reach Out to a Truck Accident Law Firm
There’s a lot to understand when it comes to truck accident law and liability of driver companies. In the end, state laws, the driver’s intent and behavior, and the nature of the job will all have an impact on liability.
For example, truck companies can be liable when their employees make driving errors that aren’t on purpose and that occur during their work shift. However, when the driver is a contractor for an independent truck company, liability typically shifts to the driver.
Whether you’ve gotten injured in the truck accident, faced significant damage to your vehicle, or just want some advice on handling the claims process, it’s a great idea to reach out to the best truck accident attorney for help. You can often receive a free consultation to decide if this is the best option for you and to get started with a claim examination.
In return, you’ll have someone looking out for your best interest after the accident. Your attorney will also be able to help determine who was at fault and how much compensation you could expect for your losses or injuries.
And Now You Know What to Do After a Truck Accident
If you’re unfortunate to be involved in a truck accident, you’ll at least have peace of mind. You know exactly what information to gather and how to report the accident.
For the least stressful experience, reach out to a truck accident law office as soon as possible after the accident. This will you get help early on with speaking to the insurance company. You’ll also have expertise that can get you the best compensation possible for the incident and help you avoid mistakes that can hurt the case.
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