A fully loaded commercial truck can have a gross weight of up to 80,000 pounds under U.S. regulations. These massive vehicles can collide with cars with deadly results. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, nearly 5,000 fatal crashes and 108,000 injuries involved large trucks and buses in one year alone.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a trucking accident, a truck accident lawyer can review your case in a free consultation to determine if you can seek compensation for your injuries and other losses. You can help your attorney build a strong case and improve your chances of recovering maximum compensation by taking action right after a truck accident.
Steps to Take after a Truck Accident
Important actions to take after a car accident include:
Seek Medical Attention
After a truck accident, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you do not feel any pain or discomfort, get a medical evaluation for yourself and your passengers. Some injuries may not show immediate symptoms, and if you require medical attention later, you might make it hard for your doctors and lawyers to demonstrate the accident caused the injuries.
Call the Police
Even if the accident seems minor, call the police and have them come to the accident scene. The police will create a report that your lawyer can use in legal proceedings and insurance claims. The police will also control the scene, ensure everyone’s safety, and gather information from all parties involved.
When talking to the police, never apologize or admit fault for the truck accident. Even if you think you may have caused the collision, let the police and your attorney determine fault based on the evidence. Admitting fault can harm your case and make it more difficult to receive compensation for your damages or injuries.
Exchange Information with the Other Driver
Exchange information with the other driver or drivers involved in the accident. Get their name, phone number, and insurance information. Also get the make, model, and license plate number of the other vehicle or vehicles.
Get Contact Information and Names of Witnesses
If anyone witnessed the accident, get their names and contact information, and write down what they saw. This information can prove your case later on.
Take Photos or Videos of the Scene
If it is safe to do so, take photos or videos of the scene. Include pictures of the license plates of involved vehicles, damage to your vehicle and other vehicles, damage to property other than vehicles, and objects at the scene, including accident debris, skid marks, fallen branches, and so on. Take photos from different angles to show the position of the involved vehicles as they relate to each other, the road, and any other objects.
Record the Location of the Accident
Note the location of the truck accident, including the street name and intersection, if applicable. If you have a GPS-enabled device, take a screenshot of the map showing the location of the accident.
Make Notes About Road Conditions and Weather
Write descriptions of the road conditions and weather at the time of the accident. Was the road wet or dry? Was it raining or sunny? Did any other factors contribute to the accident?
Contact Your Insurance Company
Report the accident to your insurance company. You should give them general information, such as your name, the names of other people in the accident, the date and time of the accident, the location of the accident, insurance information for the other driver, and the make and model of other cars involved.
Only provide the facts when reporting the accident to your insurance company. Do not admit fault or speculate about the cause. You probably don’t know all the possible contributing factors to your truck accident. Just report the accident and let an attorney handle the further discussions with the insurance company.
The insurance company may offer you a quick financial settlement. Never accept an offer from an insurance company without first consulting an attorney. Otherwise, you may leave money on the table money you need and deserve.
Consult a Truck Accident Attorney
After a truck accident consult with an attorney. Truck accidents can overwhelm you, and you may not know all of the causes of the accident or the full damages you face. An attorney can navigate the complex legal process for you, protect your rights, calculate your full damages, negotiate with insurance companies, and recover the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Knowing the causes of your truck accident can determine fault and what legal action you can take. Here are some of the most common causes of truck accidents:
Truck drivers are often under pressure to work long hours, which can lead to driver fatigue. Fatigue can impair a driver’s reaction time, judgment, and decision-making abilities, making them more likely to cause an accident.
Distractions can take a driver’s attention away from driving or draw their eyes away from the road in front of them. Common distractions for truck drivers include using a cell phone, eating or drinking, and adjusting the radio or GPS.
An improperly loaded truck can cause it to tip over, leading to subsequent accidents. Overloading a truck can also cause the brakes to fail, making it difficult for the driver to stop the truck.
Trucks are complex machines with many parts that must work together to operate safely. Equipment failure can cause the driver to lose control of the truck and crash. Common equipment failures include brake failure, tire blowouts, and steering system failure.
Poor weather, such as rain, snow, and ice, can make it difficult for a truck driver to maintain control of their vehicle, especially an inexperienced or untrained driver, or a trucker who drives too fast for conditions. Slippery roads can cause the truck to skid or jackknife, while high winds can cause the truck to tip over.
Who Can Your Lawyer Hold Liable for Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents can involve multiple parties that your truck accident lawyer can hold liable for a truck accident:
The Truck Driver
You can hold the truck driver liable if they drove negligently or recklessly at the time of the accident. This could include speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or failing to follow traffic laws.
The Trucking Company
You can hold the trucking company liable for a truck accident if it negligently hired, trained, or supervised the truck driver. Additionally, if a mechanical issue with the truck caused the accident, you can hold the trucking company liable if it failed to properly maintain or inspect the vehicle.
The Shipping Company
If the accident was caused by improperly loaded or secured cargo, you can hold the shipping company liable. They must load and secure cargo in a way that does not pose a danger to other drivers.
Economic damages refer to the financial losses you have suffered in the truck accident. These damages compensate you for your actual monetary losses.
Economic damages include:
- Medical expenses: This includes the cost of medical treatment, hospitalization, medication, rehabilitation, and other related expenses.
- Lost income: If you have missed work due to the truck accident, you can claim compensation for the income you lost.
- Property damage: If the truck accident damaged your vehicle or other property, you can claim compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing it.
Non-economic damages refer to the non-monetary losses you suffered because of the truck accident. These damages compensate you for your pain, suffering, emotional distress, and other intangible losses.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering: This includes physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish you suffered in the truck accident.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: If the truck accident caused you to lose the ability to enjoy life as you did before the accident, you can claim compensation for this loss.
- Loss of consortium: If the truck accident affected your relationship with your spouse or partner, you can claim compensation for this loss.
In some cases, you may receive punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the at-fault party for their reckless or intentional conduct. These damages deter others from engaging in similar conduct. For a court to award punitive damages, you must prove that the at-fault party acted with malice, fraud, or gross negligence.
How Can a Lawyer Help With My Truck Accident Case?
Here are some reasons you should consult a truck accident attorney:
A truck accident attorney can provide you with legal assistance. They can handle all legal communication with insurance companies, investigate the evidence around the accident, including police reports and medical records, and file a lawsuit if necessary.
Knowledge of the Law
Truck accident lawyers have extensive knowledge of the laws and regulations that apply to truck accidents. They can explain your rights and responsibilities, as well as your legal options.
Truck accident attorneys are skilled negotiators who can broker a fair settlement with the insurance company. They can also represent you in court if they cannot reach a settlement your claim becomes a truck accident lawsuit.
A truck accident attorney can maximize your compensation by identifying all possible sources of compensation, including insurance policies, trucking companies, and other liable parties. They can also calculate the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
Peace of Mind
Consulting a truck accident attorney can give you peace of mind and relieve the stress of dealing with insurance companies, medical bills, and legal proceedings. An attorney can handle all aspects of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery and getting your life back on track.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Truck accidents can cause life-altering injuries that require extensive medical treatments and time away from work. Your actions after a truck accident can greatly improve your chances of recovering full compensation for your injuries and other losses.
You can trust the right personal injury lawyers near you to handle all the legal aspects of your truck accident claim professionally and thoroughly so you can focus on your own recovery. Contact a personal injury attorney in Miami today for your free consultation and case evaluation.