We asked several attorneys to answer an important question: “What do I do after an 18-wheeler wreck?”
Many trucking companies have very large insurance plans which means they have a team of lawyers and insurance adjusters ready to prove you’re at fault for an 18-wheeler accident. Because of this, it’s absolutely critical that you hire a reputable personal injury lawyer if you’ve been injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler.
Trying to take on a powerful team of lawyers that work full-time for commercial trucking and insurance companies by yourself is a dangerous move. Yes, it’s your right to sue and go after the insurance companies or trucking companies alone, but changes are, that won’t fare well. At best, you may get a couple thousand dollars or worse, nothing at all. These companies will assume you don’t know all of your legal rights and will take advantage of you at every turn. Large trucking businesses and big insurance companies fight claims like yours daily…and usually win.
This is why it is strongly recommended that you hire a qualified trucking accident attorney with lots of experience to represent you in an 18-wheeler accident case.
What should you do after a trucking accident?
Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer
Trucking companies will often send what are called Rapid Response Teams to a catastrophic accident involving a commercial vehicle, hoping to get a head start on strategizing for the case. As quick as the trucking companies move, you need to move quicker, and that starts with sending a preservation of evidence letter to both the trucking company and defense attorney.
Once you’ve taken photos of the scene and begun medical treatment, preserving key records like work hour logs, vehicle maintenance records, and pre-trip inspections will strengthen your case more than any other step.
Most big rigs are colossal in size and can crush smaller passenger vehicles in seconds. That’s the reason it’s important to quickly identify witnesses, interview police officers and have accident reconstructions inspect the crash scene.
Once liability is established, then next step is to prove, explain, and quantify the seriousness of personal injuries. This can be done through the use of medical experts, life care planners and other experts to show past, present, and future medical bills, pain and suffering and other losses.
There are many things a person should do immediately following an accident with an 18-wheeler, like calling rescue and reporting all your pain so it is documented, or calling police to document your side of the story. One of the most important things a person can do is to take photos of the accident area, provided it is safe to do so. If there are tire marks on the road, take photos of them—again, provided it is safe to do so.
Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and the truck. Be sure to take photos of any logos or identification numbers (DOT numbers are those assigned to trucks by the federal agency that oversees truck safety) on the truck or the trailer, this could help your lawyer locate insurance from different potential defendants. It can be a very intense moment for most people following any accident, but remembering just a few steps could help make your claim and recovery process much easier.
If you’ve had the misfortune of being involved in a motor vehicle accident that was not your fault, there are some steps you should take in order to protect yourself and your ability to file damages. The first step you should take is to call 911 and, if needed, seek medical attention. Having records of any and all injuries will help to prove your claim. Next, you’ll want to get a police report, which sometimes determines who is at fault and can help support your claim.
While at the scene, make sure to get the other driver’s information, such as their name and phone number, as well as their car insurance information. You’ll want to take photos of the accident scene and any additional evidence using your phone’s camera. Finally, contact a qualified motor vehicle accident attorney as soon as you can. They know how to work with the insurance companies, and can help get you the compensation you deserve.