Truck accidents are usually catastrophic due to the sheer mass and size of the trucks. The damage they leave in their wake is far more significant than accidents involving small cars and truck accident victims face a higher chance of death, and an even greater chance of permanent disability.
If you’ve been hit by a truck, it must have been a scary situation, and you undoubtedly deserve to be compensated. The question is, how do you get the best settlement. Truck lawsuits can result in a huge payout, but it can be lengthy and messy, even for the most resourceful people.
After accessing your condition and that of other passengers and calling the police, what do you need to do to ensure you win the lawsuit? In this guide, we’ll address nine key things you need to remember if you’ve been hit by a truck.
1. Stay At the Scene of the Accident
The scene of the accident is undoubtedly chaotic, and the experience quite overwhelming for you. Still, it’s imperative that you remain at the scene in the aftermath of the accident. For starters, leaving might be considered a criminal offense, especially if you have not reported to the authorities.
If you are injured and feel that you need to get to the hospital, the best thing you can do is call an ambulance and wait for paramedics to respond.
If you have zero or minor injuries, help others, and call 911 for police and medical assistance. Avoid moving your car to preserve evidence.
2. Collect the Right Evidence
Immediately after you’ve been hit by a semi-truck, the crash scene will provide you with the best opportunity to capture evidence. This is highly crucial because it’ll help you sue the truck company, and help you win the lawsuit by getting the best possible settlement.
Start with the truck driver’s information, including their name, contact information, company name, license plate number, driver’s license number, insurance information, and the contents of the truck.
If you are in a position to do so, ask witnesses to stay at the site until the police get there, then take as many pictures of the crash as you can. Start with the injuries sustained, people involved, the damaged vehicles, and anything else that helps tell the story, such as skid marks.
If you can take a video of it all, it’ll be more helpful, and if you can record an audio of what happened while everything is still fresh in your mind, it’ll help your case. These will come in handy if you go to court, so make backups when you can, to avoid losing crucial evidence.
3. Don’t Make Any Statements
Refrain from giving statements about the accident, especially without a truck accident attorney guiding you through it. Even if you think you may have been at fault, never admit that.
Before you make any statements, ensure that you are in a calm state of mind and not in a moment of vulnerability and survival. If the trucking company insurance provider calls you, avoid giving any information and insist that they call your attorney.
4. Consult a Professional Truck Accident Attorney
After getting hit by a truck, having an experienced attorney guiding you through the lawsuit will help you get the best settlement. Check out this website for more information about professional truck accident attorneys.
Big insurance companies are not easy to deal with because they do whatever they can to protect their truckers. Big rig car accidents usually involve several parties, including the truck driver, the driver’s employer, the shipper, and even the truck manufacturer.
5. Follow Medical Advice and Attend All Medical Appointments
You must get medical attention, even if you don’t have immediate symptoms following the accident. If you were injured, you will undergo treatment and have several appointments to follow it up. It’s vital that you attend all appointments, not just for your health, but for your defense attorney.
Proof of injuries and treatment will help you get a better settlement, and if you miss any of it, it may backfire on you. The trucking company will argue that you were not really injured and hence, the missed doctor appointments. Keep record of both the medical visits and the payments.
6. Get a Property Damage Valuation
The insurance companies will inspect the vehicles involved in the accident and evaluate damages. If you are not satisfied with the assessment, get an independent estimate from a repair shop. If you’re having a hard time agreeing on the car’s value with the insurance adjuster, allow your lawyer to handle it with both insurance companies.
7. Avoid Posting on Social Media
Anything you say online can and will be used against you in depositions and court. Lawyers are incredibly aggressive and will use anything against you to protect the trucking company. You must be careful not just to who you talk to, but what you post online. It’s always advisable to be discreet when you’re involved in legal proceedings.
8. Negotiating a Settlement
Settling out of court may be one of the best ways you can get a reasonable settlement. This will, of course, depend on your circumstances, but if you want to have money to cover your medical bills and losses, a trial may take too long. Losses don’t just mean your damaged car, they mean loss of income, housing, food, transportation, and the medical bills.
Allow your professional lawyer to negotiate a settlement for you. If, however, you are not satisfied with the settlement offer, your truck accident attorney will file the suit and pursue the case in court. Depending on your case, you may have to file against several parties and not just the driver.
9. Timing is Crucial When Filing a Lawsuit
The Statute of Limitations has a deadline for filing a truck accident lawsuit. The deadline may depend on your state, but missing that deadline means a missed opportunity to get the compensation you deserve. Regardless of the situation, do not put off legal action, unless you have decided to settle outside court.
Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been hit by a truck, getting compensation can be complicated because a legal process is involved. However, if you consult a professional truck accident lawyer and follow the tips above, you are likely to come out of it as a winner.
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