When you get into an accident with a truck, it can be a scary experience. You could be facing serious injuries, property loss, and financial hardship, particularly if you cannot return to work for a period of time. If this happens to you, it is important you know what you need to do should you find yourself in this situation. The following are the steps you need to take after you are in an accident with a truck.
Do Not Leave the Scene of the Accident
The most important thing to do is stay at the accident scene until it is appropriate for you to leave. Do not simply check your vehicle and drive away. You may not have any outward injuries, but you can be injured internally. You also need to stay to get the accident on police record.
Check with the Other Parties to the Accident
The next thing you should do if you are physically able, is to check in on the other driver and passengers involved in the accident. If someone is unconscious or seems to have significant injuries, you should not move them until emergency medical personnel has arrived on the scene. The only time you should consider moving an injured person is if the conditions are hazardous, such as a fire or if the person is in the line of dangerous oncoming traffic.
Call Law Enforcement
As soon as you can, you should call the police. Do not skip this step, as you need a police report to recover your damages. The police will take all the pertinent information from the accident and prepare a report for everyone in the accident. The report will include the details of the accident, including the names and identifying information of those involved, a company name if the truck was a commercial vehicle, and the identifying information of the responding officer.
Gather Information from the Accident Scene
Along with the information held in the police report, you need to gather some additional evidence at the scene. This includes the driver’s license number of the other driver, license plate numbers, and insurance information if it is not already in the police report.
One thing to keep in mind as you speak to the other driver and passengers is not to take the blame or admit fault. If you apologize for the accident, the attorney for the other party can argue that you admitted liability for the accident, where you would then be responsible for their resulting damages.
If there are people standing nearby when the accident occurred, or if anyone stopped to help you after the accident happened, take a few minutes to speak to them. Ask them for their contact information in case your attorney needs to ask questions. Also, check with any businesses near the area to see if any cameras may have caught the accident as it happened.
Call Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible, call your insurance company to let them know about the accident. Be honest and truthful when you call and explain what happened. You should fully explain your injuries and provide any factual information. Do not over exaggerate or be dishonest in any way. This can cause you serious problems, including a denial of payment for your accident damages. The insurance company will want a copy of your police report as well.
Get an Attorney
If you do not currently have one, you should retain an attorney as soon as you can after the accident. You can get help with a strong attorney working for you. While some people choose to settle with insurance companies, an attorney can fight for pain and suffering if your injuries are severe. Going through an accident with a truck can be a trying ordeal. Be sure to work closely with your attorney to get fully compensated for all your damages. Your attorney is there to help you get through this process and can help you get the settlement you deserve.
Keep a File of Your Medical Treatment
As you see doctors or receive any medical treatment, keep a file of the information at hand. Take note of all your visits to doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, and anyone else from whom you receive care. You should also keep a record of any medication you take or regular therapies you have to undergo as a result of your injuries. You should also have copies of your medical reports and bills in your files.
While you can easily prove your out-of-pocket expenses and income losses, you may have a more difficult time proving a pain and suffering claim. In your medical files, keep a journal or take notes of how the injuries have impacted your life. This should include timecards or a schedule of days you missed from work or school, a list of routines and activities you are no longer able to take part in, as well as how the injuries have impacted your family.
Document Your Damages
As part of your evidence, you should include any documentation that will help prove your damages. This includes photographs of your damaged vehicle, damage to personal property, and the like. The photos will help the insurance adjuster determine the amount of compensation you should receive for your physical damage to your property. If you have any photos of your vehicle prior to the accident, that can be useful as well, as the adjuster can see the value of your vehicle before and after the accident.
Keep Quiet About the Accident
While you have been through an ordeal like an accident with a truck, you may have a natural inclination to talk about it. However, you should avoid discussing the accident with anyone besides your attorney, the police, and your insurance company. Do not speak to any other insurance company or representative that is not yours. The insurer from the other driver may try to contact you. Be kind but firm in saying you do not intend to discuss the issue without your attorney. You should also keep quiet on social media or in other social situations when it comes to your accident.
Do Not Entertain an Early Settlement
Insurance companies will often attempt to finalize your claim by offering you a settlement as soon as possible. Before you do this, you need to talk to your attorney. The settlement figure may sound like a lot of money at first, but you have to factor in additional expenses you can eventually have that you may not have thought of.
The above tips can help you get through an accident with a truck. If you have an injury and property damage, you can receive compensatory damages with an attorney on your side.