A semi-truck accident is one of the worst accidents you could face. The enormous size and weight of big rigs make the forces of a truck crash far stronger than car crashes. That’s why you need to know what to do at the scene of a tractor-trailer accident if you’re struck.
When you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you may be in too much shock to know exactly what you need to do right away. Knowing the proper steps beforehand will help you get compensated for your injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damage by the trucking company when you are in this situation. Here’s what the lawyers from Zanes Law recommend victims do after truck accidents.
If You’re Taken to the Hospital
There’s a good chance you may get sent straight to the hospital before you can do anything at the scene. If you wake up in a hospital bed, the first thing to do is recover until you can hold a conversation.
The police may come by to get a statement from you once the hospital notifies them you’re awake. Tell them what you remember and stay factual. Do not admit fault in the case, or you could jeopardize your claim. You should then ask them how to get a copy of the police report.
If an outside insurance company tries to contact you, refuse to speak with them until you’ve spoken with a car accident lawyer. Be polite but firm. The opposing insurance company is not on your side, and you need someone who isn’t stuck in the hospital to help you with your claim.
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Your Legal Obligations at the Scene
The first obligation of anyone in an accident is to take care of the injured. The simplest way to do this is to call 911 to summon emergency help. Unless there is an immediate emergency, like a fire at the scene, do not move the injured.
If both drivers are coherent, the next step is to exchange information. Everyone will need to trade names, contact information, and insurance information. This lets all parties submit claims to the insurance companies for compensation.
Finally, wait for the police to arrive and give a statement of what happened. Again, do not admit fault to anyone, including the other driver. Merely give a statement of facts. Once the officer is done, ask how to get a copy of the police report.
While You’re Waiting at the Scene
While you’re waiting for police or paramedics to arrive, there are things you can do to strengthen your case when you talk with the insurers or a lawyer. Your biggest advantage is your smartphone’s ability to take photos and videos.
Take as many photos as possible of your injuries, the vehicles in the crash, damage to the vehicles, the entire scene, and anything unusual that was part of your accident, like road debris. These will become evidence for your claim.
If there are any witnesses at the scene, ask them if they saw the accident and are willing to be a witness. If so, get their contact information for later and record it in your phone. Do not ask them for their opinion at the scene because it could be turned against you later.
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After You’re Let Go
Once the police have left and the scene has been cleared, the next thing you need to do is get a medical examination. You should do this within 24 hours of the accident. It can preserve your health, and it can preserve your settlement.
Even if you feel okay, the shock and adrenaline of the accident could hide injuries. If you keep doing normal activities, you could injure yourself further and worsen the outcome of the crash.
Seeing a doctor also preserves your settlement because the longer you wait, the easier it will be for an insurer to argue that the accident did not cause your injuries. They could also claim that your injuries aren’t as bad as you say because you didn’t see a doctor right after the crash.
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Contact Your Own Insurer
You are also required to call your own insurance company and tell them you were in a crash. This is part of most auto insurance policies. Calling your insurance company helps them prepare for a call from the other driver if they make a claim.
It also lets them know you may need to tap into your underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. This covers you if the other driver has no insurance or inadequate coverage for your accident.
You must contact them within a certain amount of time after your accident, or your insurer may deny you coverage. It’s better to do it as soon as you can after you know you’ve suffered an injury.
Finally, Contact a Lawyer
At this point, it’s time to contact a Phoenix truck accident lawyer to handle your truck accident case while you recover from your injuries. A truck accident lawyer will create and submit your claim to the truck driver’s insurance company and fight to get you a fair settlement.
This may be much more than you think. Insurance companies love to give people low-ball settlements that look large but leave a lot of money on the table. If you get an offer from an insurance company, do not take it until you’ve spoken with a lawyer.
If you live in Arizona and you’ve been hit by a commercial truck, call Zanes Law for a free consultation about your claim. Your case may be worth much more than what the insurance company says. You can contact us by phone or through our contact page.
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