What to do following a truck crash
Every day, thousands of commercial trucks and 18-wheelers drive on Texas roads. It is virtually impossible to get on a highway anywhere in Texas without seeing an 18-wheeler hauling cargo to its ultimate destination. While the trucking industry is essential to our everyday lives, these large vehicles can often cause catastrophic collisions.
When a large truck or an 18-wheeler is involved in a crash, the results are almost always devastating. A collision with a large 18-wheeler will generally cause the smaller vehicle to be destroyed entirely and seriously injure the vehicle’s occupants. Unfortunately, 18-wheelers are involved in nearly 500,000 accidents every single year, resulting in thousands of fatalities and injuries across the country.
Although there are unlimited potential causes of any given accident, our firm has found that most truck accidents are caused by driver error. Some examples of driver errors include:
If you are involved in an accident involving an 18-wheeler or a commercial vehicle, it is important to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer that understands the nuances of this area of the law. Trucking companies are no strangers to crashes and are adept at avoiding liability even when their drivers are clearly at fault. With the help of a trained attorney, you can be assured your rights will be protected, and you will receive the compensation you deserve.
Semi crashes resulting in serious death and injury
Undoubtedly, accidents involving 18-wheelers and large trucks are one of the leading causes of traffic-related fatalities in the US and Texas. A fully loaded commercial truck may weigh up to 30 times more than a standard passenger automobile, such as an SUV. Because of this size disparity, a collision between a passenger vehicle and a truck often results in catastrophic property damage and severe injuries.
Whenever a small passenger vehicle, such as a car, collides with a semi-truck, big rig, or commercial vehicle, the car will likely suffer a disproportionate amount of damage. Accidents involving 18-wheelers and semi-trucks are dangerous and deadly. After an accident, you will probably feel confused and unsure of how to move forward. You may feel intimidated working with a large corporation experienced in handling serious accidents.
However, knowing your rights under the law is vital to ensuring you receive the justice you deserve. When you are in shock and feel vulnerable because of the serious injuries you or your family have suffered, you may not be in the best state of mind to deal with the legal process ahead. This is one of the main reasons to involve an attorney who understands the process and knows how to move forward as soon as possible.
If you’ve been injured due to the fault or negligence of a semi-truck driver, you have the right to seek compensation from the driver’s insurance provider and the company. However, proving the truck driver involved in the accident was negligent or at fault is not always straightforward. Proving fault requires collecting and preserving crucial evidence, like police reports, accident scenarios, vehicles, and detached artifacts.
A trained lawyer will know how to gather this information and protect your rights in your case. You can be assured the trucking company will have a team of lawyers compiling a defense immediately following the crash. Hiring a lawyer will even the playing field and help you focus on the recovery process.
Steps to consider following an 18-wheeler collision
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a commercial truck or fully loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Because of this, most semi accidents result in serious injuries that require immediate medical attention. In the typical situation, you will likely be transported from the crash scene to a local hospital. If this happens, don’t worry, our team of trained 18-wheeler attorneys will gather all the information needed to hold the trucking company responsible for your injuries. However, if you are not immediately taken from the crash scene, the following steps will provide the information needed to proceed with your case.
The first and most crucial step is to remain calm. While it is challenging to keep a level head considering the stress of an accident, you must do your best to stay present and in control. The calmer you are, the safer and better your response will be to the crash.
It is vital not to jeopardize your safety or the safety of those around you, and a clear head will help you make sound decisions. If you need time to pull yourself together, that is fine. Assess your condition and the condition of people around you and call the emergency services.
Seek medical attention
It is important to receive the medical attention you need following an accident. This is true even if you don’t feel that you have been seriously injured. Many injuries do not show physical symptoms or signs immediately. However, you could be suffering from internal bleeding or severe internal damage.
Additionally, an adrenaline rush can mask pain and soft tissue injuries that take time to become apparent. Also, it is worth noting that when you decline medical attention at the crash scene, the insurance provider assumes you are not injured, and it becomes more difficult to recover for injuries that begin to manifest over the following days.
Even if you are not initially in pain, see a doctor immediately after leaving the scene. Visiting a doctor will ensure that you are thoroughly examined, and your injuries are appropriately accounted for. Furthermore, creating a medical record of your injuries will provide the official records you will need to recover compensation against the trucking company or the driver.
Call the authorities
If you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck or an 18-wheeler, you must stay at the crash scene. You will also need to call 911 so a police officer can investigate the accident and note the findings. Texas law requires all parties involved in a traffic accident to notify the local authorities following an accident involving death, bodily injury, or significant vehicle damage.
It is best to call the police immediately rather than handle the situation yourself. Critical evidence will disappear if you don’t call the police as soon as possible. Additionally, the longer it takes for the police to arrive and investigate, the longer the negligent party has to fabricate a story and cover their negligent actions. When bringing a claim, the police report is a crucial piece of evidence that will help resolve your claim quickly and for a fair amount.
While the police report will likely notate all the parties involved, making your own record of the vehicles involved, the insurance providers, and the names of the other drivers is often a good idea. When faced with an accident involving a semi-truck, the driver of the semi-truck may be an independent contractor hired to transfer goods for a larger company. This arrangement can create different layers of liability. As a result, it is critical to jot down the following details:
- The license plate number of the truck
- The name of the trucking company
- Name of the driver
Be careful talking to the other party
After an accident, refrain from giving a statement or speaking with the other party’s insurance company. This is important because anything you share may be used against you later. It’s also important that you don’t sign anything or discuss the accident with anyone without your attorney present.
If you are medically able, speak carefully when giving a statement to the police officer concerning the crash. Your statement will often be included in the official police report and be used to determine responsibility for the crash. If you’re unsure about the details, it is appropriate to say you cannot remember.
It is important to document the truck accident scene, including damage to your vehicle and injuries. Photos are very effective and valuable when supporting your case. If possible, take pictures of the vehicles involved, the crash scene, your injuries, any skid marks or other markings, and anything else that could provide clues to how the accident occurred.
Don't sign any documents
You’ll likely be approached or contacted by the trucking company’s insurance carrier after the truck accident occurs. If anyone contacts you and asks you to provide a recorded statement or sign your medical records over, refuse and refrain from speaking to them further. It is important only to sign a document or give a recorded statement after your attorney has had the opportunity to review the case.
Identify credible witnesses
A credible witness to an accident makes a big difference when seeking fair compensation for your injuries. Your recollection of the truck collision may be limited and even conflict with the truck driver’s statement. A third-party witness is an unbiased, neutral party, and their statement concerning the accident can add substantial credibility to your own.
Identifying witnesses at the accident that can corroborate your statement will help strengthen the case against the responsible party and help you recover the compensation you are entitled to under the law. While these witnesses will often be included in the police report, it doesn’t hurt to have their contact information for when the need arises.
Hiring an 18-wheeler accident attorney
Hiring an attorney following an accident can be an intimidating process. Making sure you have an attorney that cares about you and your family is essential to your overall success. Many attorneys work only for the money. It would be best if you avoided these firms because they will settle your case for less than it is worth.
At the Ammons Law Firm, we care about our clients and create a special bond with everyone we represent. We work very hard to ensure you recover the compensation you are entitled to under the law and receive the medical care you need to recover from your injuries. At the Ammons Law Firm, we have recovered over $1 billion for our clients simply because we never stop until justice is received.
When you need a law firm you can trust and a team you can count on, you call the Ammons Law Firm.