Truck accidents could be severe in terms of physical harm to the victims and wreckage to the vehicles involved. Reliable studies since 2018 have shown that accidents involving large trucks are on the rise. These accidents are caused by a variety of factors, ranging from drunk driving to manufacturer error and poor maintenance.
You want to know what to do after a truck crash, whom to contact, how to keep yourself safe, and what evidence you must gather for your accident claim to be viable. If you are involved in a truck accident, you should consult a truck accident attorney, who will advise you on the next steps. You want advice on information such as compensation for damages and injuries incurred and proceedings that will lead you to obtain the amount you deserve.
Ensuring You Stay Safe
After a truck accident, you should stay calm and assess the situation. Take a deep breath and assess any injuries you may have sustained. If you can, check on other passengers or drivers involved in the accident.
You should move your vehicle to the side if it has not been severely damaged. Moving your vehicle prevents a new crash from oncoming vehicles. You also want to place a hazard sign a few meters from the scene to warn other motorists of the collision ahead of them.
After ensuring you are safe, you want to call law enforcement, an ambulance, or paramedics, especially if you have not sustained serious injuries. At times, you could be in such severe pain that you cannot operate your cell phone. In this case, you could stay in your car until emergency services arrive. Staying in your vehicle protects you from sustaining more injuries.
Staying at the Accident Scene
When a truck collision occurs, you want to stay at the scene and wait for the police to assess what happened to cause the crash. According to California Vehicle Code 20002, you will be charged with a hit-and-run offense if you drive away. You want the law enforcers to arrive and write a report.
The police report is important, as it will help you receive the compensation you deserve when you file an accident claim if you are not at fault. A truck driver could have their license revoked if they drive away.
You want to gather crucial information for building your case when you are involved in a truck accident. Consider following the tips below:
- Information You Should Gather
You should provide the following information to the other drivers involved in a collision:
- Your name,
- Your contact, and
- Your vehicle’s registration number.
You should also gather the names and contact information of the other involved drivers and those who stopped to help the injured. You must have this information for future reference when you decide to go to court.
The contacts you would have gathered may act as crucial witnesses when filing for a vehicle accident claim in court. Their details of the truck accident account could be used in court to support your case.
You want to gather the following information:
- The truck driver’s name
- The truck’s number plate
- Details of the insurance policy number
- Details of the trucking company
Gathering And Preserving Evidence
One way to gather evidence after a truck accident is to obtain a report from the police. The police will assess the scene of the crash, take pictures, ask the bystanders questions, and then compile a report that provides physical evidence.
You could also gather evidence by taking photos of the accident scene. Take photos of the wreckage, road, and weather conditions at the time of the collision. This will help in determining what caused the crash.
Notifying the Relevant Authority
Immediately after the accident, summon first responders and call medics to assist those who have been seriously injured. You must contact them if you are in a position to do so, as the initial treatment at the scene of an accident could be beneficial and save the lives of the injured.
The law enforcers, for example, the California Highway Patrol, are also called in within twenty-four hours to keep a record of the collision. You could use the report as primary evidence in court.
The information gathered by the police could help you win a lawsuit against the person responsible for the accident. Note that the report may not be apparent to you as some of the information required to determine the responsible party needs expertise from law enforcement or lawyers.
You are also required to file a report at the California Department of Motor Vehicles if the damages accrued were more than $1000, there were casualties, or there were any fatalities.
Having a Medical Examination Done
It is important that you have a medical examination done. You may not have visible injuries or even feel okay after the crash. However, you should seek medical intervention immediately. Some injuries are internal and cannot be easily detected unless you go to the hospital.
At times, these injuries could be fatal if not taken care of immediately. If the injuries are not as serious and you discover them a few days later, it may be hard to prove that you sustained them in the truck accident. As a result, you may be forced to pay your medical bills out of pocket rather than through insurance claims.
Contacting Your Insurance Company
You should contact your auto insurer immediately after an accident, even if you are not at fault. You do this to obtain the benefits of your insurance policy when involved in a collision. Involving your insurer immediately after the truck accident will enable you to obtain the settlement you deserve once you file an accident claim.
Be sure to go through all the terms and conditions of your insurance policy to be informed of the benefits you could obtain once you file a claim. This is crucial, as it will enable you to know which damages you will have to cover out of pocket and which the insurer will handle. You will also know the timeframe required for you to file a claim and what evidence is required for you to qualify for a settlement.
Information to Provide to Your Insurance Company
You want to provide the following information to your insurer to enable them to know who to follow up with and gather information from once you file an accident claim:
- The contact of the truck driver
- The insurance company details of the truck driver
- The contacts of other individuals involved in the collision
- The car registration numbers of those involved in the accident
- The insurance company details of all those involved in the crash
Importance Of Keeping Detailed Records Of All Communication With Your Insurance Company
Keeping detailed records of all communications with your insurer could act as a basis for you to obtain the settlement you deserve. It could also help your insurer provide information that is crucial while you are defending a lawsuit filed against you.
Consulting a Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accidents are considered more complicated than regular car accidents, as many parties are involved in their operations. These include
- Truck drivers,
- Cargo loaders,
- Repair and maintenance service providers, and
- The trucking company.
Gathering evidence from all these entities while injured is impossible, and you could miss out on your deserved compensation if you cannot gather the required evidence.
Having a lawyer will ensure that you are well-represented in gathering evidence and that your case goes through the right legal channel. Your lawyer will also help you find the party liable for the accident. Your lawyer also acts as the communication bridge between you and the person liable for the crash.
How a Truck Accident Injury Attorney Could Help you After the Collision
You want to seek a lawyer's services to help you deal with the aftermath of the collision. Seeking the services of a lawyer helps you in many ways, from assessing the damages you will have incurred to handling legal proceedings and pursuing the compensation you deserve. Note that the party liable for the accident may have a legal representative; having yours, too, makes your case more solid.
The lawyers provided by the liable party's insurance company could undermine your compensation claim, resulting in you obtaining less than you deserve if you represent yourself. A lawyer will work with you to ensure that your claim increases in value and that you receive fair compensation.
Your lawyer could help with your case in the following ways:
1. Identifying The Party Responsible For The Collision
Your lawyer will help determine which party you should sue if you are involved in a truck collision. It could be either the trucking company, the truck driver, both, or even the truck manufacturer. If your lawyer determines that you are not liable and that the other party is responsible, they will help you file a lawsuit against them.
2. Assessing and Determining the Damages and Losses Incurred
After the collision, you could make a list of the losses you will have incurred. Your lawyer’s input is critical, considering they have many years of experience dealing with cases like yours. They could help you develop a claim statement and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
3. Documenting and Compiling the Necessary Paperwork
After the assessment, your lawyer will help you compile and document the crucial paperwork required to win the case against the liable party. The manner and timing of your submission of the paperwork will determine whether the judge will support or dismiss your claim. Having a legal hand in it will elevate the value of your claim.
4. Communication With The Other Party
If you seek services from an attorney, you will have a legal representative who can communicate with the liable party. Therefore, you will not be required to deal directly with your perpetrators.
5. Fighting For Your Rights and the Compensation You Deserve
Having legal representation means you could use the fine-tuned skills of negotiation that your attorney has acquired over the years to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Your lawyer will also answer all your questions concerning what to do after a truck accident.
Determining Who is at Fault When a Truck Accident Occurs
You could determine who to sue by considering the circumstances surrounding the truck accident, the injured parties, and whether the trucker works for a company or individually. CCTV footage could also be used to determine who is liable for the accident.
When an accident involving a truck occurs, parties who could be held liable include
The Trucking Company
In many cases, the company may be responsible for the accident due to factors such as the use of shortcuts, lack of proper maintenance of the vehicle, use of poor quality equipment, truck parts coming off, and overworking the company’s truck drivers by making them work long hours.
The trucking company's insurance provider will want to settle the claim quickly to ensure that they limit their exposure to financial bills that may accrue once you start seeking services such as health care, psychological counseling sessions, and repairs to your damaged vehicle.
Other establishments may also be at fault, whereby the trucking company sought maintenance services from another organization and their servicing was faulty or the individuals involved in loading the goods did not lock up well, leading to falling items.
If the truck driver owns the vehicle and operates it as their own business, you could sue them and seek compensation through their insurance providers if it is determined that they are at fault. The service and maintenance providers contracted by the trucker could also be at fault in this case, and therefore, you will sue them instead if it is determined that their services were faulty.
It is challenging to tell who is at fault as many people are involved in the operation of a truck, from the manufacturer to the trucking company to the driver to the one who loads the goods. One of them could be at fault, so after contacting the law enforcers, your next step should be to contact a truck accident injury attorney.
fatally, or you could sustain injuries from which you cannot recover. In some instances, the accidents may be less impactful, and the damage to your car could be repairable.
If you are a truck accident victim, you want to seek compensation for the damages, which could be economic or non-economic.
This type of damage involves a financial loss, which you accrue when you bear the following:
- Repair expenses. These costs are incurred when you seek repair services for your vehicle after the truck accident.
- Health care bills. These are accrued when you seek medical services such as medication or therapy for the injuries sustained, which could be physical or non-physical.
- Loss of earning capacity. If you are affected in such a way that you cannot earn because of the physical restraints that come with injuries sustained during the truck accident, then you will not be able to provide for yourself or your family.
- A cut-off on financial support. This is experienced when you lose the family's breadwinner to a truck accident.
Non-economic damages compensate for losses involving emotional and psychological harm you sustain after the collision. Examples of the damages are:
- Physical pain and emotional suffering. When you are a truck accident victim, you could sustain physical injuries, which will result in psychological suffering in the long term due to trauma and the permanent status of your physical injury.
- Disfigurement. You could sustain injuries that are huge enough to cause physical changes to your body.
- Disability. Truck accidents could lead to the loss of body parts that could leave you permanently unable to function normally.
- Loss of a companion or a family member. Some accidents are fatal and could involve losing a loved one.
Accidents involving trucks occur from time to time in California. Each case is unique, meaning that those involved are compensated uniquely depending on the circumstances at the time of the collision.
You want to consult an attorney to help establish damages or losses you incurred following the collision. The lawyer should have prior experience representing truck accident victims so that they can pinpoint what damages you have incurred that are not immediately apparent while you are assessing.
Find a Truck Accident Injury Attorney Near Me
Truck accidents are becoming more common in California, causing severe damage and injuries. You want to know the steps to take after being involved in a crash. Many truck accidents involve multiple parties, and various types of evidence are required from various people compared to normal car accidents.
You want to contact a truck accident injury attorney to help you gather the evidence required and pursue the damages you deserve. At the Truck Accident Injury Attorney Law Firm, we have helped many truck accident victims file claims and battle against the most intimidating defendant lawyers. Contact us today at 619-754-7667 so that we can start working on your case.