In 2016, 4,564 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks or buses, a 5% increase from the previous year. Moreover, there were roughly 119,000 crashes involving large trucks or buses that resulted in injuries. This number has increased significantly over the past several years, up from 60,000 injury crashes in 2009. Being injured in a big rig accident is a frightening experience. In the most severe cases, it can be life-altering.
How you handle the aftermath of the big rig accident can determine the success of a personal injury claim against the driver and/or the trucking company. Both immediately after the accident at the scene, and in the weeks and months that follow, there are important steps to take to increase the likelihood of a successful claim.
What to Do Immediately After the Truck Accident
Here are 5 steps to take while you are still at the accident scene to help your chances of a successful big rig accident claim:
Contact the police. If you have been involved in an accident with a big rig, call the police right away. The police will assess the accident and draw up an official report, including information from any witnesses. Additionally, the officer may issue the big rig driver a citation if the driver was in violation of any laws, such as speeding or driving under the influence. This could become very important in proving the big rig driver was negligent. When you call 911, they can also arrange for an ambulance to come to the scene to assess any injuries you suffered in the crash.
Gather photographic evidence. The importance of taking photos of the accident scene simply cannot be overstated. If you are physically able to do so, you should take plenty of photos at the scene. Get clear photos of the vehicle damage and the surrounding scene, including any nearby road signs and traffic signals. If there are skid marks on the road from the accident, be sure to get photos of them. It is also a good idea to get video footage of the scene if you are able.
Obtain detailed information on the big rig driver and the trucking company. Make sure you have the driver’s name and contact information, as well as the name of the trucking company, and the truck’s license plate and identification numbers. It’s a good idea to take photos of the big rig as well.
Get witness information. Witnesses can be a very important part of your claim, particularly if the insurance company is disputing liability. Collect the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident.
Watch what you say. Insurance companies will try to use anything you say to deny your claim or minimize the payout. This can include anything you say immediately after the crash, even though you may be disoriented or in shock. Stick to the facts of the situation and refrain from emotional outbursts or apologizing, which could be taken as admitting fault.
What to Do After You Leave the Accident Scene
Here are 5 things you can do after you leave the scene of the accident to help your truck accident claim:
See a doctor as soon as possible. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, you should be evaluated by a doctor. For one, your injuries could be more extensive than you realize, and symptoms of auto accident injuries can sometimes appear days or weeks later. Additionally, it is important to have an official diagnosis and treatment plan outlined in your medical record if you are going to make a personal injury claim.
Work with a personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys have experience in dealing with big rig accidents, and they understand how to handle insurance companies. Your attorney can help you seek fair compensation for your damages. By investigating the crash, gathering evidence, identifying all the possible liable parties, and negotiating on your behalf, your personal injury attorney will take a great deal of the burden off your shoulders.
Be cautious with social media. On more than one occasion, social media posts have been used by insurance companies against plaintiffs in a personal injury claim. Refrain from posting about your accident on social media, and be careful not to post anything that might counter statements made in your accident claim.
Keep accurate records throughout the process. It’s important to document everything, from your interactions with insurance adjusters to doctor’s visits. Doing so will help build your case, and may become very important if your case goes to trial.
Be patient. Negotiating a fair settlement can take time. Insurance adjusters nearly always start by offering a lowball settlement, hoping the accident victim will accept it so they can close the case. Allow your personal injury attorney to negotiate for you, and don’t agree to a settlement offer without first consulting your attorney.
“Thousands of people suffer serious injuries from big rig accidents every year. If you are the victim of one of these devastating accidents, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your case,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.
Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in a truck accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today at (760) 777-7777 for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, El Centro, and Yucca Valley, and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.
DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.
Our firm has been handling a variety of personal injury cases throughout the California High Desert communities for over 30 years. Here you will find a personal injury attorney who can help protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.