If you or a loved one have been involved in a truck accident, there’s a lot you need to know. While any vehicle crash and its resulting aftermath can be devastating, stressful, and frustrating, truck accidents are more complicated than those between private individuals.
Truck drivers usually work for a company, which may share some of the liability. These companies also have the resources to hire attorneys and insurance agents who may try to intimidate accident victims and pay as little as possible.
Let’s look at everything you should know about truck accidents. If you or your loved one were injured or killed in a truck accident, contact the experienced attorneys at James McKiernan Lawyers today for a free consultation.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
After you’ve been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, take these steps for your best chance at recovering the maximum amount of damages. Note that if your injuries are severe, medical attention takes priority over everything else on this list.
Report the Crash and Stay at the Scene
Even after a minor truck accident, you must report the incident to the police and stay at the scene of the accident until they finish their investigation. If nobody has sustained injuries, you can call the non-emergency number for your local police station. Otherwise, call 911.
If you have no or only minor injuries, you should collect as much information as you can before leaving the scene. Get the truck driver’s name, address, email, and phone number. Look for witnesses and get their information, as well. Take pictures of the accident and your injuries.
The more information you can collect immediately after the accident, the better. You should also document your healing process with pictures or videos.
Get Medical Attention
Even if you don’t feel like you have been injured, seek medical attention as soon as you can. During and after an accident, you will have massive amounts of adrenaline racing through your system that may mask the pain until it wears off. Shock can also hide injuries.
Not only can a doctor identify injuries you haven’t felt yet, but it’s important to establish a medical record showing that you sought medical attention. Proving that you were injured in the accident is harder if you wait a few days before going to the doctor.
Be Careful What You Say
Never admit fault, either to the other driver or the police. Don’t lie to the police, of course, but don’t disclose anything you don’t have to. Additionally, be careful what you say to your insurance company or any representatives of the truck driver’s insurance company. Anything you say may be used against you when you seek compensation for your injuries.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Even if the other driver was at fault and your vehicle doesn’t seem damaged, you must contact your insurance company. They have protocols regarding how and where to get a repair estimate, and your car may have sustained damages that you can’t see.
Avoid Posting on Social Media
While it’s tempting to share your accident on social media, that can actually come back to haunt you when you pursue compensation. The truck driver’s company and insurance agents can find ways to use your social media posts against you. Even if you delete them, people may take screenshots, so it’s best not to post at all. Inform your friends and family about what happened directly.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Regardless of whether your insurance company or the truck driver’s insurance is paying for your damages, they will always try to offer you the lowest possible amount. An experienced personal injury attorney like the ones at James McKiernan Lawyers can help you get the best compensation for your injuries, pain, suffering, and loss of income.
What Factors Determine Who Is at Fault in a Truck Accident?
Even if you think the accident was your fault, other factors may be in play which could lay at least part of the fault elsewhere. Here are some factors which can impact the fault distribution in truck accidents.
Rules and Regulations
Various rules and regulations exist to help prevent truck drivers from driving drowsy or distracted. If the driver chose – or was forced – to ignore those rules, they or the company they work for may be found at least partly responsible for the accident.
Did you know there were more than 31 million vehicle recalls in the United States in 2020 alone? If the truck that hit you was part of a recall and the company never addressed the issue, they may be found at fault for the accident.
Truck Driver Behavior
The truck driver may have been inexperienced, poorly trained, speeding, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or too fatigued to drive safely. Any of these factors could make the driver (or the company that failed to train them properly) completely responsible for the accident.
All vehicles need regular maintenance, and 18-wheelers are no exception. Trucks can also experience mechanical problems which could result in the driver losing control of the vehicle. In this case, the mechanics who maintained the truck or the company that owns it may be held responsible.
Injured in a Truck Accident?
If you or your loved one were involved in a truck accident, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at James McKiernan Lawyers in San Obispo, California. We’ve seen the life-changing results of 18-wheeler accidents, and we know how to help you get compensation.
Insurance companies make their profit by paying out as little as possible. Since they aren’t interested in making sure you are fairly compensated for your or your loved one’s injuries or death, you need the expertise of a personal injury attorney to get compensation for medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
For a free consultation to discuss your case, click here or call 800-200-HURT. While every case is different and we can’t guarantee results, we have experience battling the insurance companies and want to get you fair compensation.