After a major accident with a big rig, hiring a lawyer might not be the first thing that you think of. Bills, lost wages, doctor visits, anxiety, caring for an injured loved one, grief, and insomnia might be overwhelming you – but that’s all the more reason to get help from an attorney dedicated to helping you pay your bills and get your quality of life back on track. Only an experienced truck accident attorney like Jim Adler will be able to manage the complexities of holding multiple companies legally responsible and navigating complicated and confusing Texas and federal laws.
At Jim Adler & Associates, we have decades of experience helping truck accident victims fight big insurance companies and we only get paid if you do. Regardless of whether your crash happened in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio or anywhere else in Texas – your consultation is free. Fill out our free case review form or call 1-800-505-1414.
Below, we’ve outlined what you can expect after a truck accident and what type of compensation you might get from a settlement.
Steps To Take After A Truck Accident
1. Stay calm and make sure everyone is okay. Don’t move someone if you think they might have a spinal cord or brain injury.
2. Call the police and an ambulance. Let the police officer secure the scene, take witness statements and collect evidence.
3. Cooperate with police. Police are going to do their own initial investigation and might ask you to sign a traffic ticket. Signing a ticket isn’t an admission of guilt. You can contest it later.
Remember to be courteous and truthful with police officers. They may have information you need about the truck driver’s insurance policy and the company they are trucking for. That will make it easier for your attorney to open a claim. Make sure to request a copy of the police report number or incident number.
4. Get medical attention. Even if you think you feel okay, you should undergo a medical evaluation as soon as you can after the accident (preferably within 72 hours). You don’t know whether you have a neck or back injury that will take longer to manifest itself. You also don’t want the insurance company arguing that you’re not entitled to compensation for your injuries because you “didn’t even go to the doctor after the crash.” In other words, don’t minimize your health or your case.
5. Take as many photos as possible and document everything.
Get pictures of your car from all angles, the tractor (commercial truck) from all angles, the scene of the crash, skid marks, traffic lights, weather conditions, time of day, etc.
Take photos of any damage to the vehicles, or damage to guardrails or highway barriers.
Write down or photograph the name of the companies listed on the tractor and the trailer – they might be different companies. Also get a photo of the license plate numbers. Record the Department of Transportation (DOT) number on the tractor, too. Commercial truck cases often have multiple liable parties and being able to identify these parties is crucial for your claim.
Get the names and badge number of the police officers on the scene.
6. Get contact information from the other driver and witnesses to the accident.
Get the other driver’s name, address, phone number and driver’s license number.
For witnesses, ask politely for their names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Later, your attorney might want to call on these witnesses to verify your account of the accident.
7. Contact your insurance company. Let your insurance company know you were in an accident. However, do not provide them with a recorded statement.
8. Keep all medical bills, repair bills and receipts. If you end up filing an insurance claim or lawsuit, you’ll need proof of what you’re seeking compensation for. Keep everything organized and even make copies, so you can easily find them later.
What You Shouldn’t Do After A Truck Accident
1. Don’t move your vehicle unless you must for safety reasons. Call the police, an ambulance and wait in a safe place.
2. Don’t admit to anything. When police arrive on the scene and begin to investigate don’t admit any driving error – you’ll want legal representation before you say anything. Go ahead and sign a traffic ticket because it isn’t an admission of guilt and you can contest it later.
3. Don’t deal with insurance companies yourself. Truck accidents are complex with multiple parties and involve complicated state and federal laws. You’ll want a highly experienced truck accident lawyer like Jim Adler on your side when dealing with big insurance companies that have their own team of lawyers and adjusters.
4. Don’t accept any offers from insurance adjusters. They probably won’t be offering nearly what your case is worth – and only a top commercial truck accident lawyer will know what to do and how much your claim might be worth.
5. Don’t make any written or recorded statements to an insurance company. Tell the company or insurance adjuster that you’ll want to check with your lawyer first. And DO NOT accept any offers until you speak with your attorney.
6. Don’t share the details of the accident on social media nor on any other digital platform. That means no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram posts and no WhatsApp messages, texts or emails about what happened. The insurance companies will be looking for ways to swing the case in their favor and your publicly shared information could be used against you in your own case.
7. Don’t say “I’m fine” If you want to reassure family or friends then call them, don’t text and say something like “I’m fine.” Just like with social media sharing, that information could be used against you by the insurance company later. Some injuries, like neck and back injuries, might take longer to develop. Again, don’t minimize your case or your injuries.
What happens if the police find me partially at fault in a truck accident?
Remember that traffic ticket you signed at the scene? Well, the truck driver’s insurance company will try to use the ticket and the police officer’s report to avoid paying you what you’re owed. But a police officer’s report isn’t the final word on who caused the wreck. Texas is a “comparative fault” state – that means that even if you were up to 49 percent responsible for the accident you still might be able to get compensation for your injuries or property damage.
But determining who was at fault for a crash is complicated. The police might be wrong about who caused the crash, or you might only be partially at fault. In Texas, a jury decides how much each party was responsible. Only a lawyer like Jim Adler with decades of experience handling truck accident cases will know how to use the law and the facts to your advantage in a settlement or a court case.
So, even if the police report says the crash was your fault, follow the steps listed in the sections above. After receiving medical attention, call Jim Adler & Associates for a free consultation. It can’t hurt and it just might get you the help you need to pay for your injuries and losses.
Leave it to the experts to find out if you have a case or not. Fill out our free case review form, or call 1-800-505-1414 for a free consultation today. We have decades of experience getting clients the results they need and deserve.
Don’t wait – call The Tough, Smart Lawyer™, today!