Truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries and long-lasting psychological trauma. One thing that makes truck accidents different from other types of accidents is the sheer size and power of commercial trucks. When a standard motor vehicle has an accident with a semi-truck, the smaller vehicle and its occupants rarely do well. Given the severe consequences of commercial trucking accidents, it is important to understand what to do following a collision with a semi-truck. In this article, we explain what to do and why you need a truck accident attorney in the aftermath of a truck accident.
Step 1: Report the Crash
Following an accident with a semi-truck, it is important to report the crash to the authorities. When an officer arrives at the scene, they will assess the situation, complete an accident report, and instruct you on what to do next. Some states may require that you report the accident by law in some situations, so reporting all accidents, even minor ones, is a good rule to follow.
Step 2: Seek Medical Treatment
Next, regardless of whether you believe you sustained an injury, you should seek medical attention after a truck accident. Often, adrenaline masks injury symptoms for several hours following an accident, and some types of accidents, such as head and internal injuries, may not present symptoms immediately. Therefore, if you don’t receive treatment at the scene of the crash or aren’t immediately transported to the hospital, you should see a healthcare provider as soon as possible following the crash. Not only is this important for your health, but if you fail to seek medical treatment, it can negatively affect your ability to seek financial compensation going forward.
Step 3: Gather Information and Identify Possible Liable Parties
After reporting the accident and seeking medical treatment, you should attempt to identify all other parties involved in the truck accident. Although the truck driver may be at fault for your accident and resulting injuries, the company that he or she works for may also be liable for your injuries and any property damage. An experienced truck accident attorney can assist you in identifying all potentially liable parties. Important information to obtain following a truck accident includes the following:
- The truck driver’s name and contact information
- The truck driver’s insurance company and policy information
- The truck driver’s license number
- The contact information for the truck driver’s employer
Step 4: Identify Witnesses
Eyewitnesses can help when pursuing financial compensation for your injuries. Therefore, it is always a good idea to attempt to identify anyone who may have witnessed your truck accident. If you had to immediately leave the scene of the accident due to injuries, the police report may allow you to identify witnesses.
Step 5: Take Photos and Videos
Photographic and video evidence is extremely helpful in truck accident cases. Therefore, following a semi-truck accident, you should take photos and videos of the accident scene and your injuries. You can later use this evidence to prove the cause of your accident, the severity of your injuries, the amount of damage to your vehicle, and any other information that may help your case.
Step 6: Watch What You Say
It is important after a semi-truck accident to be careful who you speak to and what you say. After an accident, an insurance adjuster may almost certainly contact you. And although this person may claim to have your best interests in mind, the adjuster can use anything you say against you later. Therefore, when speaking to a representative from the insurance company, you should limit the type of information you provide. As we discuss below, you shouldn’t speak to the insurance company at all until you’ve first consulted with an experienced attorney. Your truck accident lawyer will then advise you on what you should and should not say when dealing with the insurance company. This also goes for requests from the insurance company for a written statement—you shouldn’t provide anything to the insurer in writing until you’ve contacted an attorney.
Step 7: Contact an Attorney
Except for obtaining medical care for your injuries, the most important thing you can do following a truck accident is to contact a personal injury attorney that specializes in truck accidents. There are several reasons to seek legal assistance following an accident with a semi-truck, including:
Truck injuries tend to be severe: Semi-trucks weigh as much as 20 times more than a car. The odds of being seriously injured in a semi-truck accident are far greater than obtaining similar injuries from a collision involving two cars.
Trucking companies are powerful: Trucking companies and their insurers are very powerful. And they have teams of aggressive attorneys ready to defend them. Therefore, to obtain the compensation that you deserve following a trucking accident, you need a knowledgeable truck accident attorney to represent you. To put it simply, taking on a trucking company alone is a losing proposition.
Insurance companies often try to lowball injury victims: Finally, insurance companies are notorious for trying to lowball injury victims. They know that an accident victim will often accept the first offer they receive, and they take full advantage of this. Without an attorney in your corner, it’s often difficult to determine how much your case is worth.
So, if you’ve experienced an injury from a semi-truck accident in Florida, you need an experienced truck accident attorney on your side. At Harrell & Harrell, P.A., our sole focus is the representation of injured clients in the Jacksonville area. For over 40 years, we’ve helped truck accident victims obtain financial compensation for their injuries. Our lawyers have a deep understanding of the difficulties faced by the victims of truck accidents, so when you come to us for help, we’ll do everything we can to obtain fair financial compensation on your behalf. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced semi-truck accident lawyers.