Getting Compensation For Truck Accident Injuries
Being in a truck accident is very different than being in a car accident. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average car on the road weighs about 4,000 pounds. The legal weight for an 18-wheeler, however, is about 80,000 pounds. Because of this, trucks are much more difficult to control on the road and cause much more damage when in an accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 5,000 people a year die in collisions with large trucks. Fatality figures for truck accidents have increased four consecutive years in a row. Pedestrians killed in crashes involving large trucks increased by a staggering 13 percent last year.
Because trucks are so dangerous on the road, the trucking industry is more heavily regulated. This means that when you are the victim of a truck accident, you need an experienced truck accident attorney who knows the trucking regulations and what to look for in an accident. You need the attorneys at Foster Wallace.
Here are seven things you should do after a truck crash to ensure that you remain safe, that you receive competent representation, and that you have the best case for receiving full compensation for your injuries.
1. Make sure you are safe at the scene.
Many people involved in a truck crash are not able to remove themselves from the wreckage and cannot do all the things that are needed immediately after an accident. If you are seriously injured, do not try to move unless you are in danger. Just wait for medical assistance to arrive.
However, if you are not seriously injured and are able, be sure to move to the side of the road, away from traffic. If you are able to move your car, do so without putting yourself or anyone else in danger.
2. Call the police.
Call the police for assistance immediately. Try to determine how many people are involved in the accident. The police will send as many ambulances as needed.
When the police arrive, they will secure the scene and control the traffic passing by. They will then gather information to make a report of the accident. When you talk to the police, be honest about what happened, but you do not need to give a lengthy statement. Just describe what you believe happened.
Do not admit fault. The police will make a report of the facts. Your attorney will assess with you what happened and who may be at fault. The police will obtain statements from any witnesses that are available.
Do not express any opinion about your injuries. If the police ask if you are injured, say that you need to be seen by a medical professional. Do not decline medical attention when it is offered.
Be sure to get a copy of the police report.
3. Record the scene.
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, try to record the scene with your cell phone.
- Record the vehicles. Take video or pictures of your vehicle and any other vehicles that were involved in the accident. Record license plate numbers and the extent of the damage to each vehicle.
- Record your injuries. If you are bleeding, have any external injuries, or have torn clothes, take pictures. If you can, take pictures of the other party involved in the accident if they are not seriously injured.
- Record the scene. Take video or pictures of the scene of the accident. What are the weather conditions? Were there traffic signals or signs posted nearby? Were there people around? These pictures could be valuable in determining the cause of the accident.
4. Do not admit fault
When you speak to the police or an insurance adjuster, never admit fault. Even if you think you may be at fault, let your lawyer assess the true cause of the accident.
There may be several other defendants named in a lawsuit besides the truck driver.
- The manufacturer of the truck could be liable for a faulty part that may have caused the accident
- The loading company could be liable if the truck was loaded improperly and it contributed to the accident
- The trucking company who hired the truck driver may be liable for:
- Failing to train the driver
- Failing to do a background check on the driver for a driving record
- Failing to abide by the trucking regulations that limit the number of consecutive hours a driver may drive
Even if you think you were at fault, there may be others who also were at fault. This can affect how much you are compensated for your injuries. Let your truck accident attorney determine who is at fault for your accident.
5. Get immediate medical attention.
Always obtain medical attention as soon as possible. If medical attention is available at the scene, accept it. Go to the hospital to be evaluated, even if you think you are not injured. You could have suffered internal injuries that you are not aware of. You also could have suffered injuries that will not show symptoms for several hours or even days. A doctor may be able to assess these injuries right away. If you wait to see a doctor, the lawyer for the other party or parties may claim that you sustained those injuries after the accident.
After a truck accident, you may want to post what happened on social media or let friends and family know that you are okay. You must resist the urge to post any pictures or make any statements on social media, especially any statements about your injuries. Any statements you make can be discovered and used against you in a lawsuit.
7. Call your insurance company.
As soon as you are able, call your insurance company to have the damage to your car assessed. If the other party’s insurance adjuster assesses your car, do not make any statements. Just say that you are being represented by Foster Wallace and that they should contact us.
Keep in mind that even though your insurance company may send an adjuster to assess the damage to your car, they are not necessarily there to help you. They are there to minimize the amount of compensation they may have to pay out. Do not make any statements or offer any opinions about the value of your damages.
Do not have your car repaired until the damages to your vehicle have been fully assessed.