UNITED STATES—Unless you want to stay indoors for the rest of your life, you’re likely going to encounter semi-trucks on roadways. Most of the time, you can easily share the road with these large vehicles. Unfortunately, accidents happen and sometimes involve semi-trucks. If you’re involved in this type of accident, there are some steps that you can take so that you receive proper compensation for any injuries.
The first thing to understand would be the causes of accidents involving semi-trucks. The most common reason is speeding, whether it’s by you or the truck driver. Fatigue is another common factor that is often involved in semi-truck accidents. When drivers don’t take the time to rest before getting on the road or have to drive for several hours, they can become fatigued and might not pay enough attention to the road. There may be other causes such as:
- Use of drugs or alcohol
- Truck malfunctions
- Driver distractions
After being involved in an accident, you should first seek medical attention. In most situations, emergency personnel will respond to the accident and determine if you need to go to the hospital by ambulance or if you are safe to go on your own. If you have a life-threatening issue, such as excessive bleeding or a head injury, then you will likely be transported by ambulance. Other injuries that you should have examined include possible fractures or broken bones, whiplash, and deep cuts.
Keep all documents from your doctor or hospital visit after the accident so these can be presented at court and filed with each insurance agency. You can talk to your insurance provider and an attorney to determine who bears the financial costs of semi-truck accident injuries so that your medical bills can be paid.
Avoid waiting to file an insurance claim or to contact an attorney after an accident with a semi-truck. There are usually statutes of limitation that prevent you from filing after a certain length of time. Another reason why you want to work quickly to seek treatment and meet with an attorney to file a claim is because the insurance adjuster might not think that your injuries are severe if you wait.
Even though the police officers who investigate the accident will likely get information from each party involved, you need to get the truck driver’s information so that you can start the process of filing a claim. Some of the information that you want to obtain might include the name of the trucking company, the insurance company, and the driver’s phone number.
Ask witnesses if they would be willing to make a statement for your attorney or if they would be willing to take pictures of the accident. You should also get various perspectives of what witnesses saw before and after the accident occurred. Collect the contact information for any witnesses who were at the scene and saw the accident so that your attorney can contact them if needed. Reach out to any nearby businesses with security cameras that you believe may have footage of the accident.
Talking to Insurance Agents
Never admit that you were in the wrong when you talk to insurance agents. If possible, have your attorney with you when talking to an agent so that you know when and what to answer. Your attorney can usually consult with the insurance company for you if you don’t feel comfortable.
Keep in mind that most insurance companies try to offer a low settlement, which means that you might have to rely on your attorney fighting to get the most money possible for your injuries, lost wages, and the pain and suffering that you endure. Your attorney will help you get through the legal process as painlessly as possible so you can get your life back to normal.