An accident with a semi-truck often leaves victims with severe injuries and property damage, and trucking companies will work hard to deny liability for the crash. Victims can greatly increase their chances of compensation after an accident by keeping a cool head and following a few simple rules in the days and weeks after the crash.
What Victims Must Do to Recover From a Semi-Truck Accident
The first thing all truck crash victims should do is call 911 and stay at the scene, even if you are able to drive away. Contacting and cooperating with police will benefit your claim, and it allows the police officer to make an official report with details that you may not notice at the time. If you can, use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene, including damage to your vehicle and the license plate of the truck. A video of the locations of the vehicles and road signs can also help your case later. You should also go directly to the hospital once you are cleared to leave by the police.
Once you are no longer in immediate danger from your injury, you should complete the following steps:
- Report the accident to your insurance company. Insurers will need to be notified of the accident as quickly as possible, as your medical and car repair costs should be billed to this provider. You should read your auto policy carefully to determine how much the provider should give you after the crash.
- Gather evidence. You will need evidence to back up any injury claim you make, from negotiating with an insurer to filing a truck accident lawsuit. Two vital pieces of evidence include a copy of the police report and the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident. If you were unable to take pictures at the scene, it is vital that you contact an experienced semi-truck crash attorney to gather evidence on your behalf. Truck companies may destroy evidence unless they are legally ordered not to do so, and an attorney can ensure the company provides all relevant documentation (such as driving logs and internal crash memos).
- Attend all of your follow-up appointments. One of the biggest mistakes people make after an accident is failing to continue all necessary treatment for their injuries. Even if your condition is improving, you should continue to attend all of the appointments your medical team schedules until they feel that your treatment is complete. Keep careful records of the doctors, nurses, and physical therapists you see throughout your recovery, and get copies of all of the treatments or medications that you received relating to your injury. It is a good idea to keep a diary to record how your injuries affect your daily life, including your relationships with family members, your ability to work, and any physical limitations caused by your injuries or treatment. These records will not only help demonstrate your losses, but also the degree of your pain and suffering (and how much you should be compensated as a result).
- Don't sign anything. A representative from the trucking company or the company’s insurance agent may contact you in the days following the crash. Although they may say that the call is only to collect details to file their own insurance claim, the truth is they are looking for evidence against you. Do not speak with anyone from the trucking company without your attorney present, and do not agree to give a recorded statement. You should never settle a claim until you know the full costs of your injuries, economic losses, and property damage, so beware of a trucking company representative who is offering a fast settlement.
If you have suffered significant injuries as a result of a commercial truck crash, it’s best to present your case to an experienced truck wreck lawyer to learn your legal options. The attorneys at GriffithLaw will listen to your story and explain your rights in your free case evaluation. Fill out the quick contact form on this page to get started, or order a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.