6 things you need to do after a semi-truck accident | BC Law
Getting into an accident with a commercial truck can be the scariest experience you may ever have. Because of their large size, the semi accidents may even cause fatal injuries that can affect many lives. Below are 6 things you need to do after a semi-truck accident.
If you have been involved in a truck accident or in a semi-truck crash, what are the things you need to do to protect yourself and your rights? Is there any possibility for compensation in a case where you need financial aid for your treatment?
Semi-truck accidents can be very serious and result in catastrophic injuries. If you or someone you care about gets involved in one, here is a guide to help you get through this unfortunate incident.
What to do after getting in a truck accident
Did you know? A truck can easily “weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and are taller with greater ground clearance, which can result in smaller vehicles underriding trucks in crashes.” (1)
It is easy to make mistakes after being in an accident. After all, one minute, you are just driving on that highway, and the next, your vehicle is flipped in a crash.
Unfortunately, someone else’s mistake could cost you a lot. At times, it could even be the reason why you will not get the compensation you deserve.
As legal professionals who are committed to giving the public adequate information to protect their rights, we do not want this to happen to you. This is why we compiled the six essential things you should do in the event of the accident.
1. Seek medical assistance and report to the authorities
Can you feel any pain or burning sensation in your body? After the accident has happened, you may feel disoriented and be in extreme pain. Check yourself for any injury and assess your body. Even if you feel ok we recommend you seek medical assistance and report to the authorities.
Look around you. Are you still in the vehicle? If you are able to, the priority is always getting into a safe location. There is always a possibility of getting hit by another car or vehicle.
In a situation where you are not able to move, be calm and wait for help. However, if you can move, call 911 immediately. Wait for the police and medical representatives in a safe spot.
Once the police arrive, give your own statement of what happened. Be honest. If the other party asks to settle on the spot, do not agree. You will be able to ask for a copy of the police report in a few days.
2. Exchange contact information with the other party
If you are able to move around, you should exchange information with the parties involved in the accident. You may be tempted to just make a mental note, however, there are many instances where individuals involved in an accident forget valuable information.
Make sure to know the following:
- The driver’s legal name, address, and contact number, including their email address
- The driver’s insurance provider and policy
- The driver’s license number
- The license plate number of the truck
- Information about the driver’s employer and trucking company
In Florida, exchanging insurance information after an accident is mandated. In the situation where the other driver in the accident is uninsured, your insurance company should usually include the uninsured or under-insured party in your policy. This is another reason why you should not accept a settlement before getting in contact with your insurance provider. As a result, you may no longer be eligible to claim the damages you should have been entitled to.
3. Collect pieces of evidence
Once you are sure that you are able to walk around the scene without sacrificing your health, you may spend your time to collect pieces of evidence. The most important thing is taking photos. Take pictures of the scene, your vehicle, and the truck that caused the accident from various angles.
If there are any valuables that have been damaged, take photos of them as well. Taking a video of your self-account of the accident can also work in your favor later on.
4. Talk to witnesses and ask for their contact details
Look around for eyewitnesses as their statements may be a great help for your claim. In some cases, there are instances when an insurance company may not agree to a payout if they do not know what happened. There is also a possibility of complex cases where it is difficult to determine who the real liable party is. To be sure, politely ask witnesses for their names and contact information.
If the authorities have not yet arrived at the scene, you can try asking witnesses to stay so that they can depict what happened. Of course, you cannot force them, but it can’t hurt to try.
5. Don’t post to your social media about the accident
After getting treated, you may find yourself wanting to update your family and friends about your current condition. Doing a lengthy post on your Facebook may be the easiest way to do it instead of calling relatives one by one, but this isn’t a good idea. Again - don’t post to your social media about the accident. Here’s why.
The things you post or comment on may be used legally against you in the future. A simple photo update may even be used as evidence by the other party or an insurance company to prove that your personal injuries are not that serious.
Although it can be tiring, updating your family offline will be the best thing you can do for your claim.
6. Get in touch with a truck accident lawyer
Whether you sustained serious injuries in the accident or not, hiring a truck accident lawyer will greatly help you with your claim. This is because they will be the professional who will help you get a fair settlement amount for your treatments and for the repair of your vehicle.
An accident lawyer represents you in a number of ways. In many instances, it will be possible for your claim to be settled faster, as there is someone who will assist you and oversee the procedure. This will allow you to rest and recover, knowing that you have a reliable partner in this difficult journey.
Your lawyer will be able to assist you with:
- Collecting pieces of valuable evidence
- Getting the statements of witnesses
- Negotiating with your and the other driver’s insurance company
- Representation in trial
Hiring a truck wreck lawyer before talking to your insurance company is also highly recommended. This is because of the sad fact that sometimes, instead of being your ally, your insurance provider may work against you. Although not all providers are like this, there are too many instances of motorists not being able to receive a fair amount due to the company’s interest to settle quickly and cheaply.
Frequently asked questions
Who is at fault in a truck accident?
There are many factors that will be considered in court to determine liability. As an example, here are the potentially liable parties in a semi-truck accident:
a) The truck driver
In many instances, the truck driver may be the one at fault in the accident. Because they are the ones who should be responsible behind the wheel, they will have to pay if it is proven that they were reckless or neglectful with their driving.
b) The truck driver’s company
In the situation where the truck driver is operating under a trucking company, the latter may also be held liable if they hired an unqualified driver, did not maintain their vehicles, and if they failed to do their legal duties to ensure the safety of their drivers, other motorists, and pedestrians.
c) The manufacturer of the truck
In some cases, the companies that designed or manufactured the parts of the semi-truck may also be liable if the accident has been caused by the defective components or product.
d) The maintenance company
The companies that are hired to service or repair the truck could also be at fault if they failed to do their duty of ensuring that the truck is in proper condition, causing the accident.
How long will a truck accident lawsuit usually take?
When you get the assistance of a legal representative, you may have a general idea about how long your case may take. Since there are many aspects that will affect the duration of your claim, the more complex the case is, the longer it would be to finish.
Some truck accident lawsuits last for months. In some cases, it can last for years, especially if the insurance company will not agree to a fair settlement amount.
Call a truck accident lawyer in the St. Lucie Florida area today
“No one -- absolutely no one -- is above the law.” Leon Jaworski
When you are involved in an accident that caused you to sustain an injury, it is normal to feel dazed and confused. In some instances, insurance companies and liable parties use this unfortunate time urging you to settle for an unfair amount for your treatment.
A truck accident lawyer can help you protect your rights in this situation. With their training, they will make sure that you are safe and that your legal rights will not be trampled on. For more information about your claim, call a local accident lawyer for assistance.
Large trucks | The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)