After a crash, your health is the main priority. If you are too injured to get started on your claim at the crash site, that’s okay. An experienced truck accident lawyer knows how to find the evidence necessary to win. After an accident involving a large truck like a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, tractor-trailer truck, tanker, or another type of big rig, if your health and safety allow for it, take the following steps:
- Get medical attention immediately. Even if you do not think you are injured, it is important to see a doctor to get checked out. Injuries from truck accidents can sometimes be hidden or delayed.
- Contact the police. The police will investigate the accident and file a report. This report will be important evidence.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. If possible, take pictures of the damage to the vehicles, the injuries you sustained, and the road conditions at the time of the accident.
- Get the names and contact information of any witnesses. Witnesses can provide important information about the accident.
- Notify your insurance company. Most insurance policies require crash victims to notify their providers soon after the accident. This can be a difficult conversation for truck accident victims because the agent is looking for any excuse to reject or reduce your settlement. Don’t give them one. Stick to the facts – names of those involved, date, and place. When asked about injuries, it is enough at this time to say that you are being medically treated and say no more. If you have a truck accident attorney, they can handle notifying the insurance company for you.
- Do not talk to the insurance company for the other driver or the trucking company. The insurance company will try to get you to say things that could hurt your case. It is best to refer all questions to your lawyer.
- Hire a lawyer. A lawyer can explain a victim's rights and options and represent them in a legal case. An experienced truck accident attorney can help with every aspect, from gathering evidence to negotiating aggressively with the insurance company.
Establishing Liability in Truck Accident Cases
Truck accident cases are often more intricate compared to accidents involving only vehicles. While you may initially believe that the truck driver is solely responsible, there may be multiple parties at fault for your injuries and losses. Potential defendants in a truck accident case can include the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, the shipping company responsible for loading the cargo, insurance companies, and even government entities. If the truck driver is an independent contractor, the level of supervision by the trucking company may also come into question. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates commercial trucks in the United States.
For instance, if the accident was caused by a faulty part in the truck, both the manufacturer of the truck and the company that produced the defective part may share liability. A skilled truck accident lawyer will identify all responsible parties in your specific case and hold them accountable through legal action.