What to Do and What to Avoid After a Truck Collision
Hundreds of thousands of truck accidents happen each year, and some result in injuries and fatalities. In 2018, for example, 121,000 large trucks and buses were involved in injury accidents, and 5,096 were involved in fatal crashes. Injuries are very common in accidents involving large trucks because of their large sizes and weights. One of the first things you should do after a truck collision is to seek immediate medical attention. Even if you are unsure whether you have been injured, you should see your doctor. This can help you identify any hidden injuries you might have suffered and ensure you receive appropriate treatment for them. Requesting immediate medical care can also help you prove that your injuries were caused by the collision instead of a different incident.
Gather evidence at the accident scene.
If you can, after a truck collision, you should try to gather as much evidence at the accident scene as possible. Try to take photographs of the scene, including the damage to both your vehicle and to the large truck, the weather conditions, nearby traffic lights or speed limit signs, tire skid marks, and other relevant information. Exchange information with the truck driver, and ask for the names and contact information of any witnesses. This type of information can help your attorney understand what happened and investigate your claim.
Hire an experienced truck accident lawyer.
If you were injured in an accident with a large truck and the collision was not your fault, you should hire an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the collision. Getting help early is important because it can help your attorney ensure that critical evidence is preserved in your case. Your attorney will also have more time to investigate what happened and build a stronger case of liability. Having strong legal representation from the start can also help you avoid making crucial errors that could harm your ability to recover damages.
Keep thorough records.
Create a file and keep all records that relate to your case in it. The following types of expenses should be documented in your file:
- Medical and lab reports
- Medical bills
- Diagnostic reports
- Income statements showing lost wages
- Photos of vehicle damage
- Other costs related to your accident
- Any communication from the insurance company
Bring your file with you when you meet with your lawyer.
Do not leave the scene.
Whenever you are in an accident, you must stay at the scene until help arrives. If you drive away, you could be criminally charged. Call 911 to report the collision and wait for the police and other first responders to arrive.
Do not admit fault.
You should not admit fault when you are talking to the driver or the police. Even if you think that you might have contributed to the accident, things that you are unaware of might have happened and caused it. For example, the truck driver might have been driving while drowsy after being on the road for longer than allowed under the hours of service rules and have contributed to the collision. Talk to a lawyer before you admit fault.
Do not sign anything from the insurance company.
If you suffered injuries, the insurance company might send you an early settlement offer or ask you to sign a medical authorization. Do not sign either of these types of documents without talking to an attorney. A medical authorization allows the insurance company to dig through your medical records in the hopes of finding some other incident on which to blame your injuries. An early settlement offer will likely be unreasonably low. Your attorney can handle these types of things for you in a way that protects your interests.
Speak to an experienced truck accident attorney.
If you have been in a truck accident and believe the truck driver might have been at fault, you should speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave as soon as possible. Call us today at 417-322-2222 or message us online to schedule a free consultation.