Large trucks are important to our economy because of the millions of tons of goods they transport throughout the country every year. With the emergence of same-day and next-day delivery options, we have more trucks than ever on our roadways. We’ve all gotten that uneasy feeling when driving next to an 80,000-pound tractor trailer. An accident with an 18-wheeler rarely ends with you coming off scot-free. The majority of the time you are left dealing with injuries, death, doctor visits and a claim against the driver and company.
Getting into a collision with an 18-wheeler or commercial vehicle is different from getting in a collision with a passenger car. Often the injuries to people in the accident are more severe, and claims against trucking companies and corporations are much more complicated than the average car wreck. Additionally, big truck accidents involve a substantial amount of evidence that must be preserved and collected starting immediately after impact or else it will be destroyed or lost. There are also different federal and state safety rules that apply to truck drivers and commercial drivers, because they are considered professional drivers. In order to handle these claims, you must have advanced knowledge of the rules that apply. Truck companies and corporations often have investigators at the scene immediately following a wreck to start the investigation into the accident, their own driver, and you. This is why it is very important for you to contact an attorney with exceptional experience in handling trucking accidents, with in-depth knowledge of the claims process, investigation process, and the federal and state rules that apply to truck drivers and commercial drivers. It will surprise you to hear that not all attorneys who advertise as being experienced with 18-wheeler wrecks are not as experienced as they claim to be. Make sure the law firm you choose to represent you has excellent trucking litigation experience.
An accident can add a lot to your plate and become overwhelming and often leads to a lot of confusion. Something to do from the beginning is hire an experienced personal injury attorney that can guide you through the claim process and take some weight off your shoulders. Having a list of things that you need to do can also be helpful in order to keep you calm and make you feel like you are being productive. Here are a few simple tips that can help you to get better in the aftermath of an 18-wheeler accident.
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Take Care of Yourself
You and your family should be your number one priority after an accident, so be sure you are getting the medical attention you need. Do not deny medical attention at the scene. Often times there may not be any noticeable injuries at the moment, but things like a head injury, spinal injury or internal bruising or bleeding may not be felt until later. Get checked out at that moment to be sure you aren’t walking away with a serious injury that needs immediate attention. If you don’t get checked out immediately, the insurance adjuster may say your injuries aren’t caused by the crash or weren’t very serious. Getting checked at the scene will prevent any hassle that may come later, when making an injury claim.
An 18-wheeler accident can shake you up, so taking time for yourself is a good idea. Keeping a journal will not only help you process what has happened, but will also create a detailed log of all the events that occurred during the crash as well as after. Talking to a counselor about the accident will help to prevent the feeling of being on your own, afraid and provide encouragement that you are going to make it through the process. When something traumatic happens, focusing on the one thing you can control, which is yourself, is important, so take care of that and know it is okay to ask for help.
File an Insurance Claim
Filing an insurance claim as soon as possible will help when keeping the insurance company updated and it will also make all that has happened to you more believable. Many times, the insurance companies also need enough time to investigate your claim, so the faster you notify them, the faster they are able to help you. If you take too much time to inform yours or the other party’s insurance company of the accident, your claim may be denied. When dealing with anyone in insurance, tell the truth, but be cautious of what you say so your words can’t be taken the wrong way. Before giving a statement or signing any documents, consult with your lawyers to be sure that they are for your benefit.
After the crash, if you are able to safely, remove yourself from the roadway and call the police. Police may take the pictures and witness statements. You should take pictures of your car, the 18-wheeler, how everything is positioned, the whole scene and even your injuries. Having these pictures will provide key evidence for your claim.
Going back to the scene can be something to do in the few days after the accident if you are having trouble remembering what happened or if you weren’t able to stay at the scene because you went to the hospital. If you must leave the scene before you can take pictures or talk to police, then going to the police department to give your statement and get a copy of the report is your next best option. Doing this allows you to give your side of the story and understand better what occurred during the crash and who was involved. Either way, you need to get a copy of the police report to take to your attorney so they can determine the next step in your case. If the accident occurs on a state highway, then the report must be requested from the state police.
The aftermath of an 18-wheeler accident can be scary and full of unknowns. Take care of yourself to be sure you get well. Having a personal injury attorney that knows what they are doing is crucial in a time like this to be sure your claim is done in a timely manner and that you get compensation you deserve. Keep these tips in mind, and go ahead and contact an attorney as soon as you can to be sure you are on the right track.