Getting into an accident with a large truck is a stressful experience, especially when you’re injured due to another driver’s negligence. Pursuing a claim for your injuries can be frustrating. But building a strong case starts with your actions immediately following a collision. So it’s important to know what to do after a truck accident. If you sustained injuries due to a truck driver’s negligence, speak with an experienced California trucking accident lawyer at Silva Injury Law, Inc. today.
What to Do After a Trucking Accident
Stay at the Scene
First, you want to remain at the scene. Do not leave, even if the truck driver suggests you both go your own way. You need to stay until the police come if there are injuries. Otherwise, the police could charge you with a hit and run, even if you weren’t at fault.
Try to obtain photos of the scene, provided your injuries are not too severe and you can do so safely. Take pictures of all involved vehicles and accident damage. Include pictures of skid marks, debris, and anything else that could be important in the claim investigation. For example, maybe it was raining, the accident occurred in a construction zone, etc.
Be sure to exchange information with the other party. If the police are on the scene, they will facilitate the exchange and write everything out in their report. Are there witnesses? Be sure to get their contact information. Sometimes, a witness may need to leave before the police arrive on the scene.
Limit What You Say
Watch what you say at the accident scene. Do not say you have no injuries and never admit fault. Even saying, “I am sorry,” could be used against you.
Get a Medical Evaluation
You should seek medical attention if you don’t require transport to the emergency room. Some injuries may not be visible externally, such as organ damage or internal bleeding. You don’t want to delay seeking medical treatment as it can impact your claim. The other driver’s insurance adjuster will be looking for any opportunity to discount or deny your personal injury claim.
Waiting weeks or months to see a doctor is the ammunition the claims adjuster is looking for. They will argue that your injuries are not severe or something else happened following the trucking accident that led to your injuries.
Speak to an Attorney
It’s important to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. They can help you with all the legal steps of an accident claim. The best way to maximize the value of your trucking accident claim is to put it in the hands of a capable attorney.
Legal Steps of a Trucking Accident Claim
Pursuing a personal injury claim for your damages starts with filing a report with your insurance company. In most cases, your insurance company will handle reporting the claim to the other driver’s insurance.
Pursuing the injury portion of your claim with the adverse party is your responsibility. Before the truck driver’s insurance considers offering you any money, the insurance adjuster must complete their investigation into coverage and liability. Liability is very subjective, which is why you and the adjuster assigned to your case may disagree.
You will be speaking directly with the adjuster and negotiating your own settlement if you do not retain a lawyer. Insurance companies use your lack of negotiations experience to their advantage. Don’t expect to get their best offer or even one close to your actual claim value right away.
You need to be very cautious about what you say to the other driver’s insurance company. They are looking for anything to use against you in their investigation—such as what you said at the scene or on a recorded statement following the accident. When a lawyer represents you, they will handle all communication with the adverse party, including negotiating your claim’s settlement.
If the adjuster denies your claim, you may need to file a lawsuit. Filing a case without legal representation is risky. It would be best if you had a legal advocate on your side who understands how the litigation process works.
Who Is Responsible for a Truck Accident?
Determining fault is part of the claims investigative process. All motorists owe each other a duty to follow traffic rules and regulations. Truck drivers must adhere to additional rules that could impact liability as well. One example is not exceeding a certain number of hours behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler.
To reach a liability conclusion, we look at the police report, involved parties’ statements, witnesses, and all other evidence. In some cases, it may be necessary to retain an accident reconstructionist who can provide their expert opinion on who is at fault.
Contact a California Trucking Accident Lawyer
If you sustained injuries in a trucking accident, don’t attempt to handle your personal injury claim on your own. Instead, contact Silva Injury Law, Inc. Our team has years of experience representing injured victims for numerous types of claims, including truck accidents. We understand the complex nature of these cases and the tactics insurance companies use to keep from paying out any money.
You should be concentrating on your recovery and getting back to work, not arguing with an insurance company on how much money they owe you. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us help you hold the responsible party accountable and fight for the compensation you deserve.