The American highways are packed with tractor-trailers and big rig semi-trucks, especially during the summer and peak holiday travel months. With such heavy vehicles sharing the roads, it’s inevitable for big accidents to happen. But being hit by a truck isn’t merely a run-of-the-mill accident; it brings with it a myriad of complications, both physically and legally. Read on to find vital information you need to know about truck accidents and the ten-step plan to follow if you were hit by a truck.
Physical Impact and Immediate Consequences
When a passenger vehicle is hit by a truck, the aftermath can be catastrophic. Given the enormous weight and size difference between commercial trucks and regular vehicles, collisions often result in severe trauma for car occupants. Such injuries range from minor cuts and bruises to debilitating injuries like traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, broken bones, or even fatalities.
The importance of seeking immediate medical attention after being hit by an 18-wheeler cannot be said enough. Besides the urgency of tending to potential injuries, a prompt medical evaluation becomes a crucial piece of evidence in subsequent legal proceedings.
All vehicles on our highways are obligated to maintain insurance, offering a safeguard for situations where a driver’s actions lead to a crash or injuries. Each state enforces its own minimum insurance prerequisites for passenger vehicles. But the story takes a dramatic turn when you’re hit by an 18-wheeler or another commercial vehicle.
For these commercial vehicles, liability coverage often scales up drastically, with many areas demanding a bare minimum of $750,000 in liability protection per incident, as outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
It’s common for many trucking corporations to go above and beyond this insurance minimum, acquiring more comprehensive coverage. Still, it’s important to realize that even these enhanced limits might not always cover the entirety of damages, especially considering the severe injuries common in truck-related accidents. This is when assessing the assets of the involved trucking company becomes key, determining if they possess the financial capacity to cover additional damages that surpass their insurance policy’s limits.
If you were hit by a truck, don’t forget to review your personal insurance policy or underinsured motorist coverage. Your coverage can be a vital asset, bridging the gap if the damages you encounter exceed the compensation available from the trucking company.
Navigating the Complex Legal Landscape
Having been “hit by a truck” places you in a precarious situation legally. Trucking companies, especially large entities, are equipped with formidable legal teams, all geared to defend their interests. Moreover, dealing with insurance companies after such an accident is no cakewalk. Insurance agents, skilled in their craft, often try to obtain statements from victims that could potentially diminish the victim’s claims later on during settlements or trials.
Hit By a Truck 10-Step Plan
If you are hit by a truck, you may have injuries that require immediate medical attention. Though some of the processes will change for you, many of these next steps will still be helpful once you and your loved ones are safe and stable.
- Police Reporting: Make sure a police report is filed. It serves as an unbiased account of the accident, emphasizing its importance in legal battles.
- Documenting the Scene: If possible, take photographs of the accident scene, damaged vehicles, injuries, and road conditions. Tangible evidence can significantly influence legal outcomes.
- Information Collection: Collect details from witnesses, license plates, and vehicle identification numbers. This data can be invaluable during investigations and legal proceedings.
- Health First: Your well-being is the priority. If you are injured or have concerns, see a doctor immediately and maintain regular medical check-ups to monitor your injuries. If you retain an attorney through our firm, we will help you get the medical evaluations and care you need to support and document your recovery and case.
- Reporting The Accident To Your Insurance: Notify them about the accident. Be factual, and leave out how you feel. Make sure to only disclose the same information you provided for the police report.
- Hire a Truck Accident Attorney: Given the medical, financial, and legal complexity of truck accidents, having a seasoned attorney by your side is non-negotiable. They not only provide legal counsel but also level the playing field against powerful trucking companies and insurance firms. Keep in mind hiring an attorney is a no-risk situation. Many attorneys, like ours, require no up-front costs and are only paid a percentage if you win your settlement or court case.
- Do Not Sign Anything or Speak to the Truck’s Insurance Company: Maintain a protective stance with other insurance companies. Any conversation with them could be used against you, even if they just call to ask how you are. Don’t admit fault, and refrain from providing statements or signing documents without legal guidance. Your best bet is to give the insurance company your attorney’s number. If you have not yet hired one, let them know you intend to, and you will have your attorney call back.
- Trucking Company’s Adjuster: Their allegiance is with the trucking company; they are contacting you to collect evidence against you or in support of their interests. Ensure all communication is mediated through your attorney.
DMV Notifications: Depending on state regulations, reporting the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles might be mandatory.
- Vehicle Assessment: Document the extent of damages to all vehicles involved before any repair work.
Post Accident: The Road Ahead
Being hit by a semi-truck or commercial vehicle is undeniably a daunting experience, often leaving affected individuals overwhelmed both physically and mentally. Beyond the immediate medical concerns, it is common to grapple with potential financial burdens from medical bills, property damages, and loss of income. Coupled with the looming legal battles with well-equipped trucking corporations and their insurers, the ordeal can be a burden.
However, with the right knowledge and an experienced truck accident attorney on your side, you can navigate these challenges. Equipped with this 10-step action plan and strong legal support, you stand a fighting chance to get the justice and compensation you rightfully deserve.
How to Get Help
You want trucking and commercial vehicle companies to know you won’t stand to be taken advantage of. Insurance companies know the name Alexander Shunnarah, and they understand the power, passion, and expertise behind our specialized trucking accident attorneys. They know we have an in-depth understanding of truck accident complexities and are committed to ensuring our clients receive the compensation, medical care, and peace of mind they deserve.
Whether it’s securing the best settlement or going to trial to fight for your rights, our team is prepared to advocate fiercely for you and make your story heard loud and clear. Remember, trucking companies have strong legal representation at the ready for accidents; you deserve an even more skilled player on your side. Reach out to us for a complimentary consultation, and let our expertise guide you through the process with ease.