What To Do After a Truck Accident?
It is common for many people to experience a motor vehicle accident at some point in their lives. Truck accidents, however, are much more infrequent and, when they do occur, can cause massive damage to property and life-threatening injuries.
Trucks are essential to commerce and business in the U.S. The increase in consumer demand for shipping and the need to transport materials and goods within and across states for business functions leads to more trucks traveling the road alongside the public daily.
A Phoenix truck accident lawyer can guide you with available legal options and can help you with filing a truck accident claim to recover compensation for your damages.
Truck Accidents in the U.S.
In one year across the U.S., truck accidents accounted for over 4,000 deaths on the roadways. The vast majority of these deaths, nearly 70 percent, happened to occupants of other vehicles, bicyclists, or pedestrians. Statistics show that truck accidents and the likelihood of deaths have increased dramatically in the last decade.
For many, driving near trucks can be unnerving. One wrong move, sudden swerve by a truck driver, or an unexpected obstacle in the road can result in a devastating accident involving one or multiple passenger vehicles nearby at the time. If you are the victim of a truck accident, what you do in the aftermath can impact what happens in your case.
Stay Focused on Your Recovery
Truck accident injuries can be fatal, and surviving victims may have catastrophic injuries requiring intensive medical care and long-term treatment. When you survive a truck accident, you will likely be hurting physically and emotionally and may be uncertain about how or if you will heal. The most important thing you can do after a truck accident is to get the medical attention you need and remain involved in your treatment.
Your recovery may not be steady or linear. You may face ups and downs and complications you do not expect after suffering truck accident injuries. Whatever you do during this time, you must stay dedicated and up-to-date with your care.
Focusing on recovering from your truck accident injuries will give you the best chance to heal as quickly as possible. Insurance companies and the court in a potential truck accident claim or case will look closely at your injuries and what you do to maximize your recovery. For example, suppose they find evidence that a patient fails to follow doctor’s orders or does not keep up with rehabilitation or therapy. In that case, they may argue that the victim hindered their healing progress to reduce the damages they may owe you.
Access the Police Report
A police report from a truck accident can reveal critical information that a victim may not know. Often, in the case of a truck accident, a victim may not even get a chance to speak with an officer while at the scene of the crash as they may require emergency medical transport and treatment.
When the police come to a truck accident scene, their first priority will be to get injured victims the help they need. Their next task will be to investigate the crash, possible causes, and whether there were violations of any traffic laws.
You should remember that the police report provides powerful evidence that a party may use as part of the case. However, a police report is not definitive or binding on a court or insurer processing a claim. The court or insurer may consider additional evidence which may come to light that may not have been available to the police at the scene as part of the case. Regardless, reviewing the information within the police report will help you better understand the accident and how to best prepare for your claim or case.
Typically police reports are not available immediately, although you may receive an informational report with the basic accident and party information soon after the crash. To retrieve the police report, in most cases, you can do so online, in person, or by mail. Each jurisdiction sets its timeframes and limits on when the accident report must be available. You should begin trying to retrieve your report approximately two weeks following the truck accident date.
Review Any Evidence You Have and Collect Any Additional Evidence Available to You
In addition to the police report, you may have other evidence in your possession or available to you that could bolster your case and claim after a truck accident. Photographs, videos, messages, medical records, employment documents, and other information you may have accrued since the accident may become essential in your case.
After a truck accident, you will need to prove who caused the crash and identify the damages the crash caused you. This can include the extent of your injuries, how much work you have missed, and the impact the accident has on your physical and emotional well-being. You will need to provide evidence to prove each of these elements in a truck accident case. You should collect any documentation or information you have that may be relevant to show your attorney.
Provide Notice to Your Insurance Company of the Accident
One confusing aspect in the aftermath of a truck accident is communicating with insurance companies. To be clear, at no point should you communicate with the at-fault party’s insurance company. You are under no obligation to speak to them, and you can jeopardize your case outcome by doing so. When you hire a lawyer, they will communicate with this party on your behalf and do so in a manner that does not endanger your claim and case.
While you should not speak with the other insurance company, the policy agreement between you and your own insurer does likely burden you with the task of notifying them when a crash occurs. Before you notify your insurance company that a truck accident has occurred, it is important to distinguish between giving them notice of the event and subjecting yourself to their questioning or giving extraneous information.
When notifying your insurer of an accident involving a commercial truck, you need to provide basic information and not give any statements, opinions, or perspectives. The time and place of the accident, the parties involved, and the vehicles involved are sufficient to alert the insurer that an accident took place.
You may be asking yourself why you must refrain from speaking to your insurer about the details of the accident. The simple answer is that they are not on your side. They may have contractual obligations to you based on your policy, but if they, at some point, must pay for damages in your case, they will also attempt to deflect liability and reduce compensation to protect their company’s interests.
Write Down Your Recollection of the Events
The accident, the scene of the crash, your immediate injuries, the trip to the emergency room, and your recovery are all aspects of a truck accident case that may become relevant to the outcome of your claim and the amount of compensation available to you.
You cannot so easily recall the events after weeks and months pass. Rather than leave it to chance, if you will remember, it is best to start a journal or notebook to jot down relevant notes and events that may have an impact on your case. Whether it is a conversation at the scene, trouble that arises during your recovery or facts you remember after the accident or anything that you think could become part of the case or beneficial to you; you should write it down to prevent the possibility that you will overlook the information later on.
Get Your Free Consultation With a Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents fall under the general umbrella of personal injury law. Fortunately, most reputable Phoenix lawyer for personal injury offer free case consultations when considering whether to accept a client and their case. This free case consult allows you to talk to a legal professional about the truck accident, your injuries, and your losses. Additionally, contacting a law office for a case evaluation allows them to let you know whether they can accept your case and the likelihood of recovery in your case.
You should not question whether to hire a lawyer in your truck accident claim; you should consider it a vital tool in your recovery. You are likely facing significant losses and serious injuries. Going up against the truck company, truck driver, and insurance company is no easy task. You need experience and legal knowledge on your side to fight for your interests and benefits.
What Compensation Can a Victim of a Truck Accident Seek?
If you are the victim of the negligence of a truck driver, truck company, or another party to the accident, you have rights under the law to seek out monetary compensation for your losses. The damages a victim can incur in a truck accident are often high.
You may not expect just how much of a burden the losses after a truck accident can be. You may expect some losses, such as those relating to your vehicle and the bills for the emergency treatment of your injuries. However, you may not be ready for the extent to which your damages may reach after an accident with a truck. Fortunately, many victims can pursue the recovery of these losses and more following a truck accident, whether through an insurance claim or lawsuit in court.
The most common damages available to truck accident victims:
- Medical costs. You can seek to recover your medical bills for treatment of your injuries, including long-term costs and future medical expenses.
- Loss of income. The loss of your earnings, your income potential, and future income are all potentially recoverable in a truck accident case.
- Pain and suffering. Physical, emotional, and mental pain and anguish can have lasting effects and impacts on your life. The law allows victims to pursue compensation for this personal injury and loss they experience.
- Property Damage. The money for the repairs to your vehicle, rental costs, and the value of the loss of your vehicle may be part of a truck accident case and claim.
What Happens if a Truck Accident Causes the Death of a Victim?
Tragically, not all victims of a truck accident will survive their injuries. Some victims may die at the scene of the truck crash, while others may lose their life if they succumb to their injuries in the hours and days after the accident.
When a victim loses their life, they may leave behind a family that relied on them for guidance, emotional support, and financial assistance. The loss of one life can have ramifications for many others after a truck crash. In many cases, when the death of a loved one occurs because of negligence on the part of another party, certain family members may file a wrongful death action.
In a truck accident wrongful death case, the law allows the recovery of certain damages that occur because of the sudden death of an individual survived by close loved ones. If your loved one died due to a truck accident, you might have a basis to file a claim or case on their behalf. Talk with a lawyer about the facts surrounding your loved one’s truck accident death and discuss what legal avenues you may have to seek justice on their behalf.
What is the Best Time to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer for Your Case?
There is no better time to hire a Phoenix personal injury law firm‘s lawyer to represent you in a truck accident insurance claim and case than early on. As soon as your injuries allow, contact an attorney near you to schedule your free case consultation. Insurance companies will get right to work following a crash and fight to avoid accepting liability that would mean paying the true value of your damages.
Contact a local lawyer who can work to get you the best solution and maximum damages possible in your case.