Accidents can be stressful and frightening, especially those involving trucks. Knowing what to do after an accident can be confusing, especially because the claims process is handled differently, and there may be special laws that apply. If a truck driver was at fault for the crash, knowing what to do after a truck accident is even more imperative than a regular passenger vehicle crash in Dallas.
Before making a claim, it’s important to collect as much evidence as you can. This includes the name of the driver, the name of the motor carrier company and any other identifying information (relevant to the driver and truck).
If there were any witnesses, get their contact information. Take pictures if possible — such as damage to the vehicle, the entire accident scene, road signs, skid marks, debris and anything else that would be helpful to the case.
Be sure to inquire about obtaining a copy of the police report. This will be important later.
File a claim.
A claim will need to be filed with the insurance company for the motor carrier. When dealing with one of their adjusters, don’t agree to provide a written or verbal statement regarding the accident. And don’t negotiate a settlement until you have a full understanding of the injuries sustained and the impact they may have on your life.
Seek medical attention.
Of course, the thing to do after an accident is to get immediate medical attention. But during the claims process, it’s just as important to attend all appointments. Keep track of them, including the date and the name of the treating physician.
After an accident, gather billing statements, copies of medical records, discharge papers, prescriptions and anything else related to the medical care you receive. It will be necessary to establish the costs involved and the severity/nature of the injuries.
Keep track of lost wages.
Documentation is important when it comes to time off from work. Write down the number of days missed and the earnings lost.
Seek help from an attorney.
Don’t hire just any attorney – hire one who is familiar with what to do after an accident. Trucking accidents are different than average passenger car crashes. One reason is that there are federal regulations that may apply to the case. For instance, the driver and the employer may have violated laws concerning the amount of time spent behind the wheel. Or there may have been something wrong with the load, which became a contributing factor to the accident. This could mean that other parties also are liable.
Another reason for contacting an attorney is that additional evidence could be obtained. Trucks often carry automatic onboard recording devices, which might provide useful information. It may be possible to obtain the driver’s personnel file to learn if there are other issues, such as someone with a poor driving history or whose license had been suspended.
Of course, an attorney is also critical when someone has suffered serious injuries. Having legal counsel negotiate with the motor carrier’s insurance company provides a better chance of receiving a fair amount. When you’re wondering what to do after an accident, you can stop worrying and start taking action by calling Julie Johnson, the Dallas personal injury lawyer who fights for victims’ rights: 214-290-8001. We work on a contingency fee.