If your vehicle should be hit by a tractor-trailer, there are several things you should do right away to secure your rights, which are highlighted below. If you remember and observe these key tips, you’re more likely to obtain better medical care and have a stronger chance of securing a reasonable personal injury settlement.
Call the Police
Any experienced tractor-trailer accident attorney will tell you that most truck collisions are serious and may involve devastating injuries. That’s why it’s essential to dial 911 as soon as possible after the crash.
When the police arrive, tell them everything you remember about the incident. Your memory will be the freshest right after the crash, and you want to do everything possible to establish that the truck driver may have caused the accident.
Be sure you get your copy of the police report, because your personal injury attorney will need it to conduct his investigation of the crash. Your attorney will study the police report and work with expert witnesses and investigators to prove who is liable for the damage.
If you are physically able to, collect evidence immediately after the accident, because it will help your attorney strengthen your legal case. Try to take photos of the vehicle positions, your injuries, vehicle damage, skid marks, and other important facets of the scene.
After you receive medical attention, write down as much as you can remember about the incident. The side that presents the most convincing case, with the most evidence, will usually prevail in a personal injury settlement negotiation.
Get Medical Attention
Most people have some kind of injury after a tractor-trailer accident. Even if you don’t believe you’re hurt, you should go to an ER to get checked out.
Your adrenaline will be flowing and you may think you aren’t hurt when you might be. For example, you could have an internal injury that is bleeding but you wouldn’t know about it for several hours.
If you delay medical treatment, the truck driver’s insurance carrier will try to deny any claim you make later.
Collect Witness Contact Information
Take note of anyone who stays at the crash scene and could be a witness in your favor. Witnesses might include the drivers and passengers of other vehicles, someone standing on the side of the road, or a pedestrian.
You don’t have to get statements from witnesses; the police will handle that. But you should attempt to obtain contact information for any witnesses you see. Give that information to your attorney because it could be extremely helpful for establishing liability.
Don’t Talk Too Much
After a truck accident, chances are you’ll be agitated and might say things you will regret later. It’s always best to say as little as possible to other people involved in a vehicle incident.
Save your words for the police. Give them an honest description of the accident as you see it.
A common problem after an accident is to apologize to the other driver even if you didn’t do anything wrong. Hey, most of us want to be nice, but doing that might just jeopardize your case.
Don’t Post on Facebook
A tractor-trailer accident can be a big deal, so you might be tempted to tell the world about it on social media. Don’t do that.
Assume that anything you put on social media will be captured and studied by the trucker’s insurance company. They will be looking for anything they can use against you.
For example, suppose your back was injured when a tractor-trailer rear-ended you. You tell the doctor that you can’t walk more than 100 feet without severe pain. But then you post on Facebook that you ran a 5k last weekend!
The insurance company will look for contradictions in your story to argue you aren’t really hurt. Don’t give them anything to work with. Keep your stories off social media, maybe even stay off it entirely, until the case is settled.
Hold on to these tips after a truck accident, and you’ll be more likely to win a good settlement. That will get you back on your feet and recover faster.