Injured in a Truck Accident? Your Next Steps
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Of the 15.5 million trucks on U.S. roadways, two million are semi-tractor trailers. Chances are, if you’re traveling on a major highway or in crowded city streets, you’ll see a semi truck.
While many of these trucks operate daily without incident, traveling hundreds of miles, accidents involving trucks are common. Whether due to operator negligence or road conditions, if you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you may be unsure of where to turn next. Here are the steps you should take and how a truck accident attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
1.) Call the Police and Get Medical Attention
The first step after a truck accident is to contact law enforcement and emergency services. If you are hurt, you need experts to examine and document your injuries immediately. Because semi-trucks are so large, weighing 10,000-80,000 pounds, the injuries sustained by a driver in a smaller vehicle can be catastrophic. The sooner you receive medical attention, the faster you can get into surgery or see a specialist.
If you have a traumatic brain injury (TBI), this may not cause symptoms immediately after the accident. You need X-ray imaging and scans to ensure there is no brain swelling or injuries to your spinal cord.
Responding officers will document the scene and collect evidence to help determine who was at-fault for the accident. They create a report which will be essential for filing your accident claim.
2.) Document the Damage
If your phone is functional and you are not too injured to move, take photos of the damage to your car, the truck, and the surrounding area. Ask for witness names and video record their recollections of what happened. Get contact information for everyone involved.
While police will do this as well, if any of this information is missing from the police report or the truck driver changes his story, you’ll have independent verification of the facts.
3.) Hire an Attorney
It’s crucial to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. Your attorney can begin an investigation into the accident and contact eyewitnesses for further corroboration.
A trucking company must keep detailed records of maintenance, driver’s hours, routes, inventory, and other items. If the company has shady business practices or wants to avoid a major lawsuit, they may begin to destroy these records. The sooner your attorney can subpoena these documents, the more evidence you will have to prove your case.
At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., our experienced lawyers are on your side. We understand the kinds of injuries that result from a trucking accident, and we can help you navigate the medical tests and documentation you need to file a strong truck accident claim.
Your attorney can also review your uncoordinated benefits to ensure you do not overpay your health insurance when those benefits are covered by managed care plans or another primary policy. Having an experienced truck lawyer review your insurance policy can potentially save you thousands of dollars.
4.) Contact Your Insurance Company
You must file an application with your insurance company within one year of the date of the accident to receive your no-fault benefits. In some cases, insurance companies require notice within 30 days, especially if the truck driver was uninsured or underinsured.
No-fault benefits include medical expenses, lost wages, mileage for medical appointments, nursing services, and home help services. You must file a claim against the trucking insurance company within three years of the date of the accident for pain and suffering.
Other Items to Know About Truck Accidents
Most truck accidents have more than one liable party, such as the truck manufacturer, shipper, broker, commercial trucking company, retailers, and distributors. If a defective part or an improperly secured load caused the accident, the driver may not be liable. This is one way that a truck accident is different from a typical car accident.
Additionally, truck accidents are governed by federal regulations that are complicated and must be handled by an experienced truck accident lawyer. A lawyer unfamiliar with state and federal laws may lose your case.
Contact Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. to Arrange Your Free Consultation
If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to a larger amount of compensation than the insurance companies want you to know. Because semi truck accidents are so deadly, we can also file a wrongful death suit if your loved one was killed due to the truck company’s negligence.
For a free consultation of your truck accident case, contact the law firm of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., today at 866-MICH-LAW.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.