Have you ever driven right next to a big commercial truck, like an 18-wheeler, semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or big rig? Have you seen a big truck crash into another car? Have you worried what would happen if that car was yours and you were driving? If you answered yes, you’re probably not alone. In fact, if you get hit by any type of vehicle, 18-wheeler included, it’s common for lots to be going through your mind. In the event you or a loved one has been hurt in a wreck with a truck, here are common questions that may be on your mind.
What should I do first after a truck accident?
Immediately after the accident, police likely came to the scene. In most states, like Tennessee, the law requires police to be called after an accident causing personal injury or property damage. The police should take statements from the parties, photos, and witness statements. However, you should still document everything you can, including witness information, pictures of the vehicles, pictures of your injuries, and any other relevant information. For instance, if you suffered bruising or scarring, make sure to photograph those areas. Further, sometimes witnesses are left off of a police report. If you get their information, your attorney can contact that person to get his or her version of events. It is always beneficial to secure as much evidence as possible after a crash involving a semi-truck.
Do I need an attorney?
An experienced truck accident attorney can be valuable. Big truck companies look to start investigating a wreck immediately, so you will want someone on your side with the resources to match that urgency. A seasoned lawyer will know the ins and outs of personal injury laws in your state, federal trucking regulations, and steps to take to protect your legal rights. For instance, it will be important to take steps to prevent spoliation of critical evidence like driver logs and black box data. It may be necessary to also consult with accident reconstruction experts if liability is contested. Hiring a personal injury lawyer means you have someone on your side throughout the entire process, from start to finish.
How do I go about getting my car fixed?
Lack of transportation can snowball into other issues. Missed work could mean no paycheck, which could mean getting behind on bills and not being able to afford life’s necessities. To ensure your car gets fixed, you can go through your own insurance company. However, if you do not have collision coverage your only choice may be to go through the trucking company’s insurance. A full service personal injury law firm can assist on your property damage claim by helping you get a rental car and doing what’s possible to speed up the investigation, such as contacting witnesses.
The adjuster asked for a recorded statement. Should I give it?
Before giving any statement to any insurance company or adjuster, it is recommended that you consult legal counsel of your own first to explain your rights and be there with you every step of the way. What seems like a harmless series of questions matters – a lot. Recorded statements or interviews can be used against you later, and an innocent question can be asked in a way that elicits a response damaging to your claim. An insurance company could use your own responses to assign a percentage of fault for the crash to you.
What do I need to prove to win my case?
In a civil claim against a truck driver, you likely need to prove negligence. This legal burden of proof requires you to show that the other driver acted unreasonably under the circumstances. Common examples of negligence are speeding, running a red light, disregarding a stop sign, failing to maintain a safe lookout, and texting while driving, to name a few. If a trucker was on the clock and acting in the course and scope of employment, his or her employer can be held vicariously responsible for your injuries.
What am I entitled to recover after an accident with a truck?
Assuming you can prove the other driver caused the accident, the focus shifts to damages. While most people injured in truck accidents simply wish they could turn back time to where the wreck never happened in the first place, we know that’s not possible. Instead, the form of recovery is monetary damages. If you are hurt in a truck accident, you can recover compensatory damages designed to make you whole. Included in these damages are reimbursement for medical bills, prescriptions, medical devices like crutches, lost wages, property damage (car repairs, total loss, etc.), and out of pocket expenses. If you suffered a traumatic injury, your attorney may need to consult with expert witnesses to document future losses, such as medical bills and lost earnings.
These questions are only the tip of the iceberg. If you’ve been hurt in an automobile accident, call Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz at 800-529-4004 or visit our website. Our personal injury lawyers help families throughout Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Kentucky, and Illinois. We are available 24/7 to speak with you over the phone or chat online. We have served injured victims for more than 25 years, and we look forward to helping you too.