Trucking accidents are some of the most horrific accidents out there. Due to the sheer size and weight of the trucks alone, they could leave a devastating wake of catastrophic injuries when they are involved in a crash.
Victims of these trucking accidents are often left fighting for their life, or dealing with life-changing injuries and sky-rocketing medical expenses that affect not only them but also their families. However, you do not have to handle these problems, stresses, and fears alone. With the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney, you could fight for the justice you need and the damages you deserve.
What Do You Need to Do Following a Trucking Accident?
Trucking accidents are an extremely tense situation for everyone involved. However, it is essential to remember that the steps you take following a truck accident could help keep you safe and protect your legal rights.
Call the Police and Report the Crash
If you are involved in any motor vehicle accident, you need to remain at the crash scene and call 911 immediately. If possible, remove your car from the road, or turn on your hazard lights, so other drivers can see your vehicle, which could prevent another accident. Once the police arrive, they will assess the situation, get emergency medical treatment if needed, fill out the police and accident report, and let you know what to do next. Once the assessment is complete, request a copy of this report for your records.
Get Checked out By a Doctor
Regardless of how minor your injuries were, you should still seek medical attention following the accident. Maybe at the moment, you may not feel any pain or notice any harm, but over time these injuries can become more apparent and severe. If you do not receive medical treatment at the crash scene, get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. They can provide you the treatment you need, discover any hidden injuries, and get your injuries on record, which is important for your case and seeking compensation for your damages.
Figure out Who the Other Parties Are
If it is safe, make sure you take down the information of the truck driver involved in the accident. Get their name, phone number, insurance information, the company they work for, their driver’s license number, and their plates number. Additionally, make sure you document any identifying marks on the truck. Even though the truck driver may be at fault, their employer or the company they are driving for could also be found liable for your injuries.
Verify if There are Any Witnesses
Some of your best evidence can come in the form of witness statements from those who saw the accident, have photos of the crash, and/or could verify what happened. That is why you should always check for any witnesses that are near the accident scene. If there are, try to get their name and number in case you need more details about the accident.
Collect Evidence and Document the Crash
Try to take as many videos and pictures of the crash scene as you can. These photos can be used as evidence to help you prove the severity of your injuries, fault, personal property damage, and other crucial evidence needed to show what happened.
Include pictures of any visible injuries, the damage to your car, the truck, any other vehicles involved, any road hazards, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, and any traffic signs nearby. All of this information could help you show liability and determine the full extent of the compensation you should receive.
Watch What You Say
Following an accident, you will likely be contacted by the insurance company. When this occurs, you need to watch what you say to the adjuster, as they will try to use what you say against you. This could either result in a denial of your claim or a lowering of your payout. Because of this, you should consider speaking with a truck accident attorney before talking to the insurance company. You must cooperate with the insurance company, but you do not have to give them a statement, so let them know you need to speak with your attorney before proceeding with any comments.
In addition, be careful what you say directly after the crash. Do not apologize for the accident; do not make comments about it being your fault. The less you say, the better. Wait until the police arrive before you discuss any aspect of the accident and what happened. However, in the alternative, if the other drivers say anything about their fault in the accident, make sure to document it.
Do Not Post on Social Media
In some cases, these truck crashes can end up being newsworthy, and you may see your accident on local news stations. However, do not comment. Likewise, do not go into details with your family friends; you can let them know how you are but do not discuss what happened, as this could create issues later on.
Finally, do not post anything on social media, indicating either your emotional or physical condition. Anything you put online can appear in depositions or in the courtroom. Even if you delete the comments or post later, someone may have a screenshot or could be called in by the opposing side to testify that they saw the post.
Call a truck accident Attorney
If you have been involved in a trucking accident and suffered injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for these injuries. To figure out if you have a claim, you need to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as you can. An attorney could get to work investigating the accident scene, and fighting for the financial recovery you need.
How Do These Trucking Accidents Happen?
Trucking accidents can occur for a variety of reasons.
However, some of the more common causes of trucking accidents include:
- Reckless driving: Often, these commercial trucks have to drive long distances in short amounts of time. As a result, reckless driving (such as speeding) can occur if these trucks are running behind schedule.
- Distractions: Anything from texting and driving, daydreaming, to even eating can result in a massive accident. It can happen to any driver, especially with the amount of extra stimuli available today.
- Tired driving: Truck drivers often drive long stretches of time, even when they are following regulations. So, it is no surprise that these drivers can get fatigued behind the wheel, lose focus, and cause a crash.
- Stopping distance: It is essential to realize that these trucks are enormous, sometimes weighing up to 40 tons. As a result, immediate stops are just not possible, and unfortunately, this results in dangerous accidents.
- Trucking malfunctions: Large trucks contain a lot of technical and mechanical components. Therefore, these vehicles need to be checked frequently to make sure that they are running in proper order. When they are not operating efficiently, many parts can end up malfunctioning and result in a deadly crash.
- Improperly secured cargo: When truck cargo is not secured or loaded correctly, it can fall off the truck and onto the road, leading to deadly road conditions.
What Are Some Common Injuries That Result From a Trucking Accident?
Understanding what injuries can result from a trucking accident can help get you the medical treatment you need and provide your attorney with information that would be helpful in pursuing the maximum compensation you deserve.
Common trucking accident injuries include:
- Head and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Broken bones and severe bruising
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Wrongful death
Trucking Accidents Are Significantly Different From Other Motor Vehicle Crashes
Many people wrongly assume that motor vehicle crashes are relatively the same, no matter if they involve a car or a truck.
Yet, the size is not the only aspect that makes trucking accidents so unique.
- A truck driver owes other motorists a higher duty of care when they are sharing the road.
- A truck driver and trucking company are generally required to carry more insurance than drivers of motor vehicles.
- A trucking company is required to perform background checks when hiring their drivers.
- Various federal regulations govern truck operations.
- A truck driver must follow strict hours of service regulations, which dictate how many hours they are allowed to drive in a day or week.
Speaking with a knowledgeable truck accident attorney after your crash can help you understand each of these differences and how they could affect you and your claim.
Who Is At-Fault for a Trucking Accident?
If you want to succeed in a trucking accident lawsuit, you need to establish liability.
To bring the most compelling case on your behalf, you first need to figure out all the potentially liable parties, which could include:
- The truck drivers
- The trucking companies
- The cargo companies
- The truck manufacturers or the truck part manufacturers
- Government agencies responsible for the maintenance and the safety of the roads
Working with an experienced truck accident lawyer can help you identify all the parties involved in your accident and make sure that you try to hold each of them accountable for your damages.
What Damages Can You Pursue in a Trucking Accident?
Remember, trucking companies and insurance companies often want to settle for as little money as they can. Why? Because they are businesses with a bottom line. However, if you were injured in a trucking accident, your injuries are most likely severe, requiring a lot of treatments and rehabilitation services.
For these reasons, you need an attorney that can fight for the compensation you need, including:
- Medical expenses (including past and future costs)
- Lost Wages (including past and future wages)
- Personal property expenses (such as motor vehicle repair)
- Rehabilitative service costs
- Household service costs
- Any other out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life and activities
- Loss of consortium
- Burial and funeral expenses
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Claim?
For a truck accident case, in Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident. However, depending on the circumstances of your accident, this time can be extended or shortened. That is why it is vital to speak with a truck accident attorney as quickly as possible. They can figure out if your claim is viable and let you know how much time you have to file your claim.
Typically, even though you have some time, it is best not to wait too long to file. Memories fade, witnesses are no longer available to testify, and evidence can disappear over time.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Today
Nobody wants to go through a trucking accident. Yet, these terrible crashes do occur. Countless victims end up dead or left with significant injuries and disabilities they have to deal with for the rest of their lives. What makes these situations even worse is the legal proceedings involved in these trucking accidents are often complicated, confusing, and stressful.
However, with the help of a skilled truck accident attorney, you could get the legal assistance you need.
- Gather evidence: Once retained, an attorney could begin the investigation process immediately—gathering crucial evidence, interviewing relevant witnesses, and documenting the information needed to prove fault and damages.
- Negotiate: Truck accident lawyers know that the defense team and the insurance companies will likely try to lower the amount of your settlement. However, the attorney could take over these negotiations and fight for fair compensation.
- Prepare for trial, in case it’s necessary: If the other side does not want to play fair, your truck accident attorney could take your case to trial, and handle all aspects of the litigation process, ensuring you understand the whole process from start to finish.
If you or a loved one was injured in a trucking accident, do not wait any longer. Contact an experienced truck accident attorney today.