The Do’s and Dont’s of Semi Truck Accidents, Injuries and Claims
You’ve had a truck accident that left you scarred physically, emotionally and financially. What you do next is critical to your recovery, so it’s important to know the do’s and don’t after your semi truck accident. While working with an experienced truck accident attorney, like the team at Dermer Appel Ruder, is the most recommended strategy, we’ve compiled a list of what you should and should not do after your unique truck accident injury case.
What Should You Do?
- Do seek medical attention. Your first priority is your own safety and your passengers’. Check on everyone in the vehicle, including yourself. If you are in a dangerous stretch of road, determine whether you can pull your vehicle over to a safer location. Next, call 9-1-1. If you or anyone in your vehicle is seriously hurt, call for help first.
- Do gather Documentation. Once you’ve ensured that you and your passengers are safe and that the scene around you is safe, start compiling important details from the crash. Gather contact information from the driver, trucking company, and any witnesses. If possible, take pictures of your crash scene, injuries, road conditions, any road signs, the other driver’s license plate, driver’s license and insurance information. Record a video or written description of events that led to the accident.
- Do contact your insurance company. Call your insurance company within 24 hours of the accident to let them know you have a possible claim. If another party is likely going to assume fault for the accident, you should contact their insurance provider within a few hours of the accident as well. You will likely not have all of the relevant details they’ll ask for, however you should have enough information for the provider to initiate a claim either on your behalf.
- Do call a lawyer. Trucking companies have hired resources fighting to protect their profits after accidents. An experienced truck accident attorney can help protect your rights under the law. Additionally, attorneys like the team at Dermer Ruder Appel, can help you get the documentation you need to strengthen your case and provide general oversight throughout the process.
- Do request a copy of the accident report. Your attorney and your insurance company will likely ask for a copy of your accident report. Whether or not you’re asked for it directly, or your provider reaches out to the police department themselves, the report will not be ready immediately. For a typical accident, the process of completing the investigation and filling out the necessary paperwork may take two to three weeks. For a more serious or complex accident, the investigation itself could take 4-6 weeks or longer.
What Should You Avoid?
- Don’t admit fault. Say it with me: you’re innocent until proven guilty. Only the court of law can ultimately determine who is at-fault in these cases. However, most auto accidents either end up with one party assuming fault (liability), or all parties avoiding the assumption of liability but agreeing to a settlement anyways. The matter of fault can take months or years to decide.
- Don’t sign anything. Simply put: what you sign could be a document that will not allow you or an attorney to pursue your claims legally. Don’t agree to a settlement without first speaking to a lawyer. Do not discuss details of the accident with anyone except police.
- Don’t be intimidated. If you are injured in a semi truck wreck, you have the right to seek compensation for those injuries. If the alleged at-fault parties in the accident, or their insurer, do not declare fault or offer you a fair settlement, your next option is to file a formal damages claim through the courts. During the course of the claim, or lawsuit, the insurer may make a more generous offer, or the lawsuit could result in a ruling through a judge, jury, or arbitrator.
- Don’t post photos on social media. If there’s an investigation going on into your accident or claim, social media may not be the best place to share it. Posting information about your accident will surely prompt questions you’ll feel obligated to answer as well as become a permanent, semi-public record that can be used against you during your case proceedings. In general, we believe that avoiding any unnecessary discussion of the incident can be the best policy in most cases.
- Don’t avoid a trip to the ER. Documenting injuries as soon as possible is an imperative step in the claims process. As such, it is not a bad idea to take the ambulance called to the scene to the hospital right away. However, you will be able to make that call once paramedics have assessed your injuries. Also, using an ambulance can provide documentation of the severity of the accident. If you believe you suffered a concussion or broken bones but decline an ambulance, any liable parties could claim you weren’t seriously injured.
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck crash in or around Atlanta, you’ll need experience as your legal guide. Avoid what could be costly mistakes by trusting the team at Dermer Appel Ruder. Take advantage of your free consultation today and let our experience work for you.