Being involved in any type of traffic accident can be terrifying—especially if the accident involves a commercial truck. Commercial trucks are much bigger and heavier than standard passenger vehicles, so they typically cause more serious damage when they collide with a car. If you are ever involved in this type of accident, it’s important to understand what you should do immediately following the crash. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about what to do after a truck accident:
Do I need to call the police?
Yes, the police should always be contacted immediately after a truck accident. Calling 9-1-1 will give you an opportunity to ask for emergency medical assistance if it’s needed. Even if emergency medical assistance is not needed, you will need to call 9-1-1 so the dispatcher knows to send a police officer to the scene of the crash. The police officer will interview both parties involved in the crash, talk to witnesses, and examine the damage caused by the accident. The police officer will then write a report that summarizes their observations and in some cases, identifies the party that is at fault for the crash. A police report can be used as evidence in your personal injury case, which is why it’s so important to always call an officer to the scene after a crash.
What should I do before leaving the scene of the accident?
If possible, take photos before leaving the scene of the accident. Photograph the damage on both your vehicle and the truck from both afar and up close. You will also need to take photos of any traffic signs or signals that could be relevant to your case, including speed limit signs, stop signs, and traffic lights. Even if something seems insignificant—like tire skid marks on the street—take a photo of it before leaving the scene. You never know when one of these insignificant details could be the evidence that your attorney needs to prove the other party is to blame.
If there were any witnesses, ask for their contact information before leaving the scene. Your attorney will most likely need to get in touch with them to find out what they saw in the moments leading up to the accident. Of course, don’t forget to exchange information with the truck driver as well.
What should I do if the trucking company’s insurance company contacts me after the crash?
The trucking company’s insurance company may try to make contact with you shortly after the accident. The insurance adjuster may try to pretend as if they are on your side or just calling to see how you are doing after the crash. But, don’t fall for this trick. What the insurance adjuster is really trying to do is get you to agree to give a recorded statement about the accident. If you say yes, this gives the insurance adjuster an opportunity to ask leading questions or get you to accidentally say something that will hurt your case later on. To avoid hurting your case, it’s best to politely decline and end the conversation. Do not discuss your injuries or the events leading up to the accident.
Should I accept a settlement if I think it’s fair?
In addition to trying to get a recorded statement, the trucking company’s insurance company may also attempt to get you to settle the case shortly after the accident. Don’t fall for this trick, either. There is no way for you to know the severity of your injuries immediately after the crash. Therefore, it’s impossible for you to know how much you case is worth. The insurance company’s goal is to make you accept a low offer before you find out the true value of your claim. Once you accept the low offer, there’s no way to ask for more cash if you realize that your injuries are far more severe than you thought. For this reason, it’s best to not accept an offer without talking to a personal injury attorney first. An attorney will calculate the actual value of your claim so you know how much compensation you really deserve from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Can I wait until I’m fully recovered to hire an attorney?
Some truck accident victims do not even want to think about filing a personal injury claim until they have fully recovered from their injuries. But, this is not a good idea. Truck accident injuries can be serious, so it could take months for you to see a significant improvement. If you wait this long to file a claim, it’s possible that a lot of the evidence that you need to recover compensation will no longer exist. For example, an attorney will need to contact the trucking company immediately following the crash in order to ensure the driver’s logs, driving records, and the black box inside the truck are all preserved. If you wait too long to contact an attorney, all of this evidence may be gone by the time an attorney starts to work on your case.
Plus, there is a two year statute of limitations on truck accident cases in Iowa. This means a personal injury lawsuit cannot be filed if it has been more than two years since the date of the accident. To avoid running out of time or losing valuable evidence, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
Have you been injured in a truck accident? If so, contact Trial Lawyers for Justice today to schedule a consultation regarding your case. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will fight tirelessly to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.