If you’ve been in a collision with a commercial truck, there are some important steps you’ll need to take to ensure that your rights are protected. Here’s what you should know about those vital steps, as well as your legal options, following a truck collision.
What Types of Truck Accidents Are Most Common?
Collisions with large trucks have a greater likelihood of being severe or even fatal than collisions with passenger vehicles. Because a commercial vehicle is so much larger and heavier than a passenger vehicle, it typically creates much more damage during a crash, which dramatically increases the risk of death or serious injury for occupants in the vehicle it collides with.
The most common types of large commercial truck accidents include:
- Head-on and rear-end collisions. A head-on collision occurs when the front of a large truck collides with the front of another vehicle, while a rear-end crash happens when a large truck drives into or over the back of another vehicle. Both types of collisions are incredibly dangerous, especially to those in the smaller vehicle.
- Jackknife accidents. These are accidents in which a truck brakes suddenly, which causes the trailer to swing outward at a 90-degree angle. A jackknifing truck may overturn or roll over, causing danger to all nearby vehicles on the road.
- Blind spot accidents. Large trucks have significant blind spots that cause the driver to lose sight of surrounding vehicles — hence the “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you” signs you see on so many of them.
- Roll-over accidents. When the driver of a truck loses control, the tractor-trailer attachment can roll over, making it (and any spilled cargo) a hazard for other drivers.
- Underride accidents. This occurs when a large truck stops quickly, and the vehicle behind the truck gets stuck underneath it. Underride accidents are among the most fatal of all truck accidents.
What Should You Do Immediately After a Truck Accident?
No matter what type of vehicles are involved, auto accidents are always a scary experience. The shock of the collision can leave you at a loss for what to do next. Following these steps can ensure your health and help protect your rights following a crash with a commercial vehicle.
- Report the accident. As soon as it’s safe, your first step should be to report the accident to the police or state highway patrol. Once an officer arrives, they will investigate the situation and create an accident report. Make sure to request a copy of the accident report to keep for your records — this will be necessary if litigation is pursued on either side.
- Seek medical treatment. Not all injuries are immediately visible after an accident, especially head injuries such as concussions or trauma to the brain. This is particularly true when you’re experiencing adrenaline after the shock of an accident. Visit a doctor as soon as possible; otherwise, it could interfere with your ability to seek compensation for injuries later.
- Exchange information with the other drivers. The other driver may be at fault, but the company they are driving for may also be liable for your injuries and vehicle damage. Getting their contact information is critical for ensuring that all potentially liable parties are held responsible. This includes the driver’s contact information, insurance policy details, and driver’s license number, as well as the contact information for the driver’s employer.
- Contact your insurance company. This step is critical, even if you believe you weren’t at fault and you plan on filing a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance. Your provider will send out an insurance adjuster to investigate the collision further.
- Contact a personal injury attorney. If you believe you are entitled to compensation for injuries or damages that were the result of a truck accident, you should get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible. An injury attorney will be able to counsel you on whether or not pursuing legal action is the best decision for you.
How Can an Injury Attorney Help?
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you’ve already been through an emotionally traumatic experience. All the paperwork and communication from healthcare providers, insurance companies, and law enforcement after an accident can escalate that stress. That’s where an injury attorney can help.
They’ll save you the headache of dealing with complex legal procedures so that you can focus on what matters most — your healing. A lawyer will also have experience dealing with insurance adjusters, who will typically try to pay as little as possible for your claim. That’s because adjusters who work for insurance companies know that most victims aren’t legally savvy enough to recognize or refute an unfair claim payout. However, when you partner with an experienced injury lawyer, you’ve got a professional on your side who will fight for a more fair outcome, including a higher claim payout.
Looking for a Truck Accident Attorney Near You?
Here at The Lopez Law Group, we care about each one of our clients and their cases. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, we’re here to help you clearly understand your rights and receive the fair compensation you are owed. Even if you decide not to pursue legal representation, we can help you evaluate your case at no charge.
Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your accident, and we’ll help you determine the next best steps in your case.