The leading cause of big wheel truck accidents is driver fatigue. Big wheel truck drivers spend many hours on the road, and this reduces their alertness while driving. When under extreme pressure, the air pressure brakes on trucks may malfunction, leading to an accident. Big wheel trucks are much heavier than regular vehicles. When an accident involving such trucks happens, it often leads to extreme personal injuries and property damage.
Given the serious consequences of truck accidents, it is important to seek proper compensation for your injuries. The steps you take after the accident will determine your rights and the likelihood of getting compensation for your damages. If you are involved in a big wheel truck accident in California, the Truck Accident Injury Attorney Law Firm can guide you on the steps to take.
Steps to Take after a Big Wheel Truck Accident
If you are involved in a big wheel truck accident, knowing the steps to take is important. Accidents involving big trucks can occur due to a wide range of reasons like a distraction, speeding, fatigue, and truck malfunction. Several parties might be liable in a big wheel truck accident. The good news is that you have rights as a victim of a truck accident, and you deserve compensation. Some of the steps that you should take after a big wheel truck accident to protect your rights as the victim are:
Do Not Leave the Accident Scene Unless You Need Emergency Medical Care
You should stay at the accident scene after a big wheel truck accident if you only suffer minor injuries. It is always advisable to stay at the accident scene until the police arrive. However, if you have suffered extensive injuries, immediate medical care should be your priority. If you have to leave before the police come, you should leave behind your contact details.
Even if it is advisable to remain at the accident scene, you should ensure that you move to a safe location from the vehicle wreckage. It is common for vehicles to burst into flames after an accident. Therefore, you should not remain inside the vehicle after an accident. If you are on the highway, you should avoid staying too close to the roadway where other vehicles are passing. Other vehicle drivers might hit you accidentally and inflict further injuries. If your vehicle is stuck underneath the truck, you should move out of the vehicle to a safer place.
Call the Police
If you sustain severe injuries in a truck accident and you require emergency care, you may not wait for the police to come. In some instances, you might not even be in a position to talk, especially if you are unconscious. However, this does not mean that you should not report the accident to the police. If you cannot record a statement with the police at the accident scene, you should record a statement immediately after you receive medical treatment.
You should be honest when telling the police about the accident. You should only rely on facts and avoid basing your statement on speculations. If you are not sure about certain facts of the accident, you should not guess. If you can't remember some of the accident's facts, you should admit that you can't remember. Giving false information might make the police question your credibility, which would negatively impact your personal injury case.
The police will make a report and outline all the details of the accident. You should request a copy of the police report since it will play a major role in your personal injury claim. You may also note down the names of the police officers who record the facts of your accident.
Seek Treatment for Injuries Sustained
Your health and safety come first. You should seek immediate medical treatment if you sustain severe injuries in a truck accident. You should not wait for the police to arrive if you have suffered life-threatening injuries like excessive bleeding, respiratory issues, and other extensive injuries. If you suffer minor injuries, you do not have to leave the accident scene immediately. However, you should seek same-day treatment for the injuries.
Seeking immediate treatment for injuries suffered in a truck accident will help prevent exacerbating the injuries. Seeking medical treatment after an accident will also help to protect your legal rights. When you file your personal injury case, the insurance company will review your medical records. You should request your doctor to capture all the details of your injuries, whether severe or minor. You should also request receipts for any medical treatment you undergo. Medical receipts will make it easy to prove the costs incurred in seeking treatment for your injuries.
Do Not Delay
You should not stay too long before seeking treatment for the injuries sustained in a big wheel truck accident. If there was a significant period between the accident and when you sought medical care, the defendant and their insurer may question the seriousness of your injuries. The defendant or the insurance company might point out that you would have sought immediate medical care if your injuries were severe. Insurers may use the delay as a reason to offer you a low settlement. It is best to seek medical treatment on the same day as the truck accident. If you cannot seek treatment the first day, you should do so within 72 hours of the accident occurrence.
Gather Evidence from the Accident Scene
If you are physically capable, you should gather ample evidence from the accident scene. Ensure that you record as many details from the scene as possible. You may use your phone to take photos of your bruises and cuts. You should also take photos of the surrounding conditions, including road conditions, traffic signs, and obstacles.
If there are some businesses around the accident scene, you may approach them and inquire about the presence of surveillance cameras. The video footage from the surveillance cameras may have captured crucial information regarding the big wheel truck accident.
If you are capable, you should collect additional crucial information or advise another person to collect the information for you:
- A photo of the truck driver's license
- The truck driver's insurance information
- Photos of the truck and your vehicle capturing all the damages
Exchange Information with Other Parties Involved
It is important to exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident. For instance, you should not leave the accident scene without obtaining the truck operator's contact and insurance details. You should seek to know whether the big wheel truck accident is the truck owner or an employee. This information will help you know whether you should file a claim against the truck driver, the truck company, or other party associated with the truck business.
If some witnesses are present at the accident scene, you should obtain their contact details. If the witnesses are willing, you may record their statement outlining what happened at the scene. Witnesses will come in handy to provide your truck accident attorney with evidence while seeking compensation for your damages.
Do Not Give Statements to the Insurance Company
When a big wheel truck accident occurs, the defendant, usually the truck accident, will hire an insurance adjuster to investigate the case. In most cases, the insurance adjusters will appear friendly and concerned and might request your statement regarding what happened during the accident. You should not give a statement to the insurance company or the insurance adjusters. The adjusters are on the side of the insurance company. They might use any information you provide them against you and make it appear like you are to blame for the truck accident.
The insurers are working against you and do not have your interest at heart. You will be risking your right to fair compensation by sharing information with insurance companies. While informing the truck company about the accident, you should work with a truck accident attorney. If the insurance company requests information or a statement from you, advise them to speak to your insurer.
Do Not Accept Liability
Your actions may have contributed to the occurrence of the big wheel accident. Even if you feel that you are partially responsible for the accident, you should not admit fault. The other party will shift the entire liability to you. Some people admit fault without realizing it. For instance, if you start apologizing after the accident, the other parties will assume that you are responsible for it. It is better to remain quiet and contact a truck accident attorney. Giving out too much information may implicate you and affect your right to compensation.
Consult an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
You should reach out to an experienced truck accident attorney soonest possible after the big wheel truck accident. Your attorney will handle the case and liaise with the insurers on your behalf. The roles of a truck attorney in a big wheel truck accident are:
- Investigating and gathering facts about the truck accident – Your attorney will use many avenues to obtain the evidence required in the accident. They will obtain witness statements from people who were present at the accident scene. The attorney will also rely on the police report outlining the facts of the accident. Your truck accident attorney might also work with an accident reconstruction expert. A reconstruction expert will visit the accident scene and establish how the accident occurred and the factors contributing to its occurrence.
- Evaluating your injuries and reviewing your medical records – You deserve compensation for the money spent seeking treatment for injuries suffered in a truck accident. Your attorney will review your medical records to determine the extent of your injuries and guide you on the rightful compensation amount. You should preserve all your medical records, including receipts for seemingly minor transactions.
- Preparing the necessary documents, including claim forms and supporting documents –You have to file the necessary paperwork and documentation while filing a personal injury lawsuit after involvement in a truck accident. Your truck accident attorney will guide you on the required paperwork. For instance, while seeking compensation for lost wages or loss of earning capacity, you have to provide your employment documents.
- Negotiating with the defendant's insurer – After your involvement in a big wheel truck accident, the insurance company will try to offer you a quick settlement. You should never accept the initial settlement from the insurer even if the compensation seems adequate. If the insurer approaches you with a settlement proposal, you should instruct them to contact your attorney. Your truck accident attorney is likely to negotiate for a much higher settlement amount.
- Representing you in Court – Most personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court. However, if the parties involved fail to agree out of court, the court will proceed to trial. Your truck accident attorney will represent you in court. The chances are that the attorney has handled numerous cases similar to yours. They understand the legal procedures well, including the tricks that insurance adjusters often use. With an experienced truck accident attorney, the insurance adjusters and the defendant will not take advantage of you. You should not attempt to represent yourself in court, especially if you do not understand the legal procedures.
File a Lawsuit to Seek Compensation
You should file a lawsuit with your attorney's help to seek compensation for the injuries suffered in the truck accident. You should not attempt to file a lawsuit without hiring an attorney, especially if you have suffered extensive injuries. An attorney will help you gather all the necessary evidence to support your case.
When filing a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation after a big wheel truck accident, you must prove several elements. You must prove that the party at fault owed you a duty of care and that they violated this duty. The accident must have occurred due to the defendant's breach or violation of the duty of care. You must have suffered damages due to the defendant's negligence or failure to exercise the proper duty of care.
You will require sufficient evidence to prove the elements of negligence outlined above. It is hard to collect the evidence on your own due to the injuries suffered in the truck accident. You may also be unable to collect evidence since the evidence required in a big wheel truck accident is complicated. You need a competent truck accident attorney to help you gather relevant evidence to support your case.
The leading sources of evidence in a big wheel truck accident include:
- Black box or electronic control module data
- Truck driver logs
- The truck company maintenance and service logs
- Expert testimony
- Witness statement
- Video footage
- Accident reconstruction evidence
To obtain some of this evidence, your truck accident attorney may require to file motions in court. The attorney may also need to take legal measures, especially if the defendant is unwilling to cooperate. Due to the many parties involved in big wheel truck accidents, it is hard to gather evidence and identify the at-fault party. You need expert legal counsel.
Avoid Sharing the Accident Information on Social Media
We are in the era of social media, and many people tend to share intimate details of their lives on social media. You should not make this mistake as a victim of a big wheel truck accident. You might not realize it, but the defendant and the insurance company will be monitoring you and watching your every move. If you share contradicting information, the insurer or the defendant may use it to deny you a right to compensation.
For instance, if you suffered limb injuries in the truck accident and post photos of you going on a hike or other physical activities, the insurance company may question your injuries' seriousness. The insurer may point out that if your injuries were indeed serious, you would not manage to engage in the hike or other physical activities right after the accident.
The best thing is to stay away from social media and avoid posting anything related to the big wheel accident. This way, you will not risk your right to compensation.
Do Not Wait Too Long Before Seeking Compensation
After involvement in a bit wheel truck accident, you should not wait too long before filing a lawsuit to seek compensation. First, you should promptly consult a truck accident attorney to give them ample time to investigate your case. With the help of your attorney, you should file the case within the statute of limitations. You should ensure that you have ample time to negotiate with the insurance company. If the insurance adjusters realize that you are rushing against time, they might not be willing to cooperate. They may take advantage and offer you low compensation for your injuries.
Find a Truck Accident Injury Attorney Near Me
Have you or your loved one been involved in a big wheel truck accident in California? Truck Accident Injury Attorney Law Firm will help you seek compensation. Our dedicated truck accident attorneys will investigate the case to identify the liable parties and help you seek compensation. Contact us at 619-754-7667 and speak to one of our attorneys.