Truck accidents can be traumatic for everyone involved. With emotions running high, it can be difficult to know what steps to take. Review the following tips to learn what to do if you ever find yourself in a truck accident.
What to Do at the Scene
If your injuries are not serious enough to leave you incapacitated, be sure to do the following at the scene. If you are unable, have someone help:
Call the Police
The law requires you to call the police if your accident involves death, injury, or significant property damage.
The officers will complete an accident report when they arrive at the scene. This accident report can be the key to you building your case against the truck driver if you decide to file a claim.
Note: When police arrive, you may have to provide a statement about what happened. Make sure to only state facts and do not take the blame for anything that happened. Also, avoid apologizing to the other driver, as the other driver’s insurer can use your apology against you later.
Seek Medical Attention
The health and safety of everyone involved in the accident is the biggest priority. Make sure everyone receives medical care immediately. Seek medical care even if you do not think you need it. Some injuries will not appear until days or weeks after the accident, so it is important to have a record of all doctor’s visits, injuries and treatments.
If your medical records are thorough, with all injuries well documented, you will have a better chance at recovering damages later on. Failure to document your injuries will make it easier for the other side to say that your injuries resulted from something other than the accident.
Gather as Much Evidence as Possible From the Scene
Collect as much evidence as possible at the scene of the accident. Evidence you will need includes:
- Photos of any property damage
- Photos of the scene (e.g., truck skid marks, street signs)
- Photos of your injuries
- Names and contact information from the truck driver, passengers, and any witnesses at the scene
- Insurance information and license information from the truck driver and any other drivers involved
- The name of the trucker’s employer
What to Do After Leaving the Scene
Document Details About the Accident
It may be difficult for you to revisit such a devastating event, but it is important to keep track of all the details of your accident. Write down anything you remember about what happened as soon as possible after the crash. Keep your summary of the accident along with copies of medical records, photos, and other information relating to the accident in a safe place.
Do Not Rush to Repair Your Vehicle
After an accident, your first priority might be to repair your vehicle. However, you should make sure not to repair it until one our experts has appraised it and taken the proper photos. You may need the repair estimate to help determine if there were any defects and how much you should receive for property damage.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Do not wait too long to contact your insurance company to report the accident. The sooner you file your claim, the sooner the investigation can begin.
You will likely receive a call from the trucking company’s insurer. Avoid speaking to the insurer or signing any documents without your attorney present. If you must speak to them, say as little as possible and only discuss facts.
Speak to an Attorney
It is in your best interest to speak with a Virginia truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. Our attorneys can help you determine the liable party, preserve and gather evidence through sending a spoliation letter, and manage all communication and negotiations with the insurer.
If you do decide to file a claim against the driver/the trucking company, you should be aware that every state has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases which prevents people from filing suit after a certain amount of time.
Virginia only gives injured victims two years to file a lawsuit to recover compensation. Your attorney can help you make sure that you file your lawsuit before the deadline.
Your lawyer will also help you build your case. We will help you obtain the police report, analyze medical records, collect witness statements and speak to experts that may be able to help your case.
If you have included a trucking company as one of your defendants, your attorney can help you establish an employer-employee relationship between the company and the driver. This is crucial to recovering damages in court.
Call Tronfeld, West & Durrett to Schedule a Free Consultation
The attorneys at Tronfeld, West & Durrett have years of experience handling truck accident cases. While nothing will erase what happened to you, you can take comfort in knowing that you can hold those responsible for your accident accountable for their actions.
The damages awarded can help you get back on your feet after the tragedy you experienced. To schedule a free consultation with a Virginia truck accident attorney, call 804-358-6741 today.