Posted on Truck Accident Law Blog / Blog / Personal Injury: What to Do After a Fatal Truck Accident?

Page Updated 12/25/2021

Personal Injury: What to Do After a Fatal Truck Accident?


Due to their load mass and tremendous size, commercial trucks can cause devastating effects in a roadway collision. On roadways, there are various sorts of trucks, including 18-wheelers and semi-trucks, and the majority of them are enormous.

I am Los Angeles personal injury attorney, Michael Ehline, I have more than 20 years of experience as a transportation safety expert, and more than 15 years of experience as a plaintiff’s lawyer.

Below, I am going to talk with you about several important steps you can take to protect families and friends.

The class of people I speak of are those who have lost loved ones in deadly commercial trucking accidents.

At the end of my talk, I have included some contact information in case you are seeking compassionate representation during the devastating, seemingly insurmountable time experienced during truck accidents.

Let’s begin.

When a gargantuan truck collides with a smaller car or another passenger vehicle, it can breathtaking, unholy damage. That is why, following a fatal truck collision, it is critical to protect oneself as much as possible. You can receive the best legal protection by retaining the best wrongful death attorneys possible.

When we say “guard yourself,” we mean it both physically and legally. Aside from medical treatment, you need to make sure the person who caused the accident, the truck driver, is held accountable for your financial damages. You should not be responsible for any costs associated with the truck accident if you were not at fault.

The motorist who caused the collision is legally responsible for the costs associated with the accident. And in the case of commercial trucks or a semi-truck accident, the truck driver, as well as the trucking company, could be liable for your personal injury claim.

Eight Steps to Take After a Fatal Truck Accident

First and foremost, if you’re able to do so properly, assess your own condition, the condition of your passengers, and the status of any accident victim in other vehicles. Try and check on any that was part of the fatal incident, or in need of medical attention. While each of the measures below can be beneficial to your legal case.

When it comes to truck accidents, you should never put your own (or anybody else’s) safety in jeopardy. It’s generally fine if you need to call an ambulance and then do nothing but wait for it to arrive. But sometimes if you are responsible, even partially responsible, you may be required to do more.

1. Reporting an Accident Right Away

Never leave the scene of the accident unless you feel your life is threatened or in danger. All motorists involved in a fatal accident are required by Californian law to remain at the site, exchange information, and assist injured persons.

The term “render aid” does not necessarily imply that someone must undertake life-saving medical treatments on someone who has been injured. Giving aid entails doing anything you can to help, such as dialing 911 and requesting an ambulance.

All fatal truck accidents must also be reported to police within five days, according to the state’s law. Of course, this usually always happens right away because someone dials 911 and police officers arrive on the spot to document the accident.

Because the accident involved a commercial truck or trucking company, additional reporting is required by law. When commercial trucks carry household items or passengers, the carrier must produce a comprehensive report with the Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement of the California Public Utilities Commission within 30 days. Because the accident resulted in a death, a report to the Motor Carrier Enforcement Section must be submitted as soon as possible.

2. Seek Medical Attention

Call emergency responders immediately. Even in fatalities, there could be survivors involved in the accident. All injured victims should take an ambulance to the hospital and talk with a physician. Get treatment for any pain and suffering. Receive a diagnosis to mitigate any future problems when accidents happen.

Get stabilized for serious injuries before the pain-numbing adrenaline starts to wear off. (If pregnant, or having a child, make the emergency room aware so they don’t harm the fetus)

Truck drivers should also get checked out and consult with an experienced lawyer. It may not be their fault someone suffered injuries. Truckers, victims, and families could have a case against their employer or negligent truck manufacturer for causing their trucking accident.

Fatal injuries to someone else injured by jackknifed tractor-trailers, or related objects are not always known instantly. Every second counts during the golden hour.

3. Make a List of Witnesses’ Contact Information

Anyone who witnessed or observed truck accidents in any manner can qualify as a “witness,” including nearby pedestrians. Witnesses might be someone hurt in one of the vehicles involved, like the negligent truck driver, or occupants in a neighboring vehicle who wasn’t involved. It could even be an employee or patron visiting a nearby Starbucks Coffee.

Note in your documentation and concerns if there was bad weather, or failing traffic lights present, for example.

Furthermore, it’s required for you to take witness statements. But don’t expect police officers to make an accident report, as police generally have zero duty to protect individuals.

However, if there are a large number of injuries and property damage, there may be several emergency circumstances that demand the police’s attention before they question witnesses.

Contact witnesses and ask for their contact information, including driver’s license number if you can. If you want to stay in touch, all you need is a phone number, name, or email address. Moreover, if you have a truck accident lawyer, you can give that information to them. You can also give it to the local city police or CHP if they’re conducting a fatal truck accident-related investigation.

Police cannot always determine the cause of the crash or the presence of any of these contributing factors. However, sometimes it takes a careful investigation and forensic analysis when your dealing with trying to uncover a truck driver’s negligence or an unsafe level of wear-and-tear on a truck part.

Thus, although the police report represents an important element of the investigation for the cause of a truck accident, it rarely constitutes the last word on the subject. Both private investigators and public agencies may uncover additional facts to help explain the factors that led to such a fatal truck crash.

4. Have Your Vehicle Assessed

Your car may appear to have minimal vehicle damage, but internal damage, like internal injuries in the human body, is sometimes not evident to the untrained eye. However, you should not take your car to your local mechanic and have it fixed instantly.

Why?

Because the estimate for repairs is required as part of the trucking accident insurance claim held by the accident victims. Each insurance company has its own set of rules for what must be filed in order for them to compensate you for your losses.

Some programs need you to photograph each exterior side of the car, while other insurance companies demand that you take it to a body shop on a pre-approved list.

Have your car taken to a nearby body shop if roadside assistance is included with your insurance or you belong to a travel organization that covers towing.

But make sure the shop understands not to conduct any work until you’ve cleared it with the truck driver’s insurance company. Even if you’re confident that the automobile is safe to drive, have it inspected by a body shop or mechanic.

If the mechanic or repair shop offers a loaner car you may consider borrowing it unless your insurance will pick up the costs of a rental vehicle on your behalf.

5. What Not to Say After a Car Accident

Never admit fault, even if you feel guilty. On the other side of the coin, you may be outraged that the truck driver caused the accident. But being rude to other drivers at the scene of an accident does not help you. When we are agitated, we are more likely to say things we don’t intend about how the accident happened.

Additionally, the insurance adjuster likes it if you are combative. That means the jury will probably hate you. Now they can pay as little money as possible for your personal injury claims! Keep a cool head so you can settle for more later!

It’s more useful to maintain your composure after a tractor-trailer accident. That way you can weigh your comments and avoid saying something that could jeopardize your case or cost you more litigation fees later.

Don’t take responsibility or confess fault. Request time to compose yourself after your loss. Keep it to yourself, even if you know you were partially at fault. Don’t lie, but keep the information to yourself. That’s a conversation you should have with your personal injury lawyer.

You may be somewhat to blame, but there may be other variables that mitigate or minimize your guilt, and it is your lawyer’s role to identify and highlight these elements.

The authorities can do their best to reconstruct the accident as thoroughly as possible but have no obligation to do so always. They may ask for a statement from you (and witnesses), but you don’t have to confess fault or feel pressure to accept responsibility.

Again, don’t lie, because it can jeopardize your reputation. It’s preferable to say nothing at all than to make statements that turn out to be false later.

Wait to contact the trucking company’s insurance provider or truck driver’s employer until you have lawyer resources for your individual case. That’s the most important thing you can do to pin down liability and damages!

6. Stay Away from Social Media

Stay off of social media networks in the immediate aftermath following a wreck! Never post photographs of anything. A fatal truck accident is usually more serious than a minor impact vehicle accident. And it could be noteworthy if there was a large crash debris cleanup or road closures.

You may come across photos or news story articles from your local news outlets. True, you are a first-hand witness, but you must resist the temptation to comment. Your personal injury attorney would have told you that had you not tried to play Perry Mason.

Similarly, don’t publish anything on your personal social media accounts about your physical or emotional condition. Never talk about how you believe the event occurred.

You may want to tell your family and friends what happened and how you’re feeling.

But they may be called as witnesses too. Anything you tell them on social media can lead to legal problems later when your lawyer tries to successfully negotiate your case with the insurance adjuster.

Recoverable Damages

In a wrongful death case, the victim’s family members may seek money to compensate them for:

  • The estate or particular beneficiaries pay for the funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical expenses for the treatment of the deceased’s final injuries, emergency services rendered at the scene or in the emergency department, transportation by ground or air from the accident scene to the hospital, hospitalization, emergency services rendered at the scene or in the emergency department, surgical services, and medication
  • Wages lost from the moment of injury to the time of death
  • Future earnings that the dead would have accumulated over the course of his or her working years if he or she had survived to the end of a career
  • The worth of the deceased’s already completed domestic services

7. Speak with a Truck Accident Lawyer

Getting a successful, passionate lawyer to help you with your truck accident is crucial. Lawyers on your side should be a priority. This applies whether you were in a truck accident or were a family member of someone who died. Legal representation will be important to your fatal truck accident claim.

You might not be able to follow each of the steps outlined above if you weren’t at the scene of the large truck crash as a loved one of an injured individual.

When you partner with our office, our superior trained truck accident attorney can help you in a number of ways following a truck collision. We guarantee you will get a highly motivated, hard-charging, do-or-die U.S. Marine vet to fight for you!

You will be in a stronger position to negotiate by hiring a representative, because:

  • Lawyers can assist your loved one with getting a medical evaluation and medical help from a doctor.
  • Experienced attorneys will also get to work gathering evidence, medical records, medical bills, and handling the entire legal process.
  • They can fight hard to get the settlement money you need from multiple parties in the trucking industry or elsewhere. You will need to receive financial compensation to pay off all of your current and future medical expenses, including lost wages.
  • Attorneys can give you legal advice on what to claim for full compensation from the insurance companies.

Because there are many other parties and employees involved in a truck accident, such as the driver’s employer, the shipper, the trucking company, or the manufacturer, things can get complicated for you or your friend who needs a lawyer.

Trucking companies are subject to a number of special federal regulations. Truckers must do far more than just observe the rules of the road.

Use the Ehline Personal Injury Law Firm to review your options. We can help you find an experienced truck accident lawyer in your area. Our legal experts can shift the dynamics back in your favor.

We can help you get back on your feet financially.

Our lawyers help with all types of truck accident cases near you. Let us deal with the insurer!

8. Lawsuit for Wrongful Death

A wrongful death lawsuit is frequently filed after a deadly heavy truck collision. When a person is killed in a truck accident, the family members of that person often have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit for money damages if the death was caused by the:

“wrongful conduct or neglect, unlawful violence, or negligence of another person.”

Money, of course, cannot bring back a loved one who has passed away. In our civil court system, however, money damages are the only way to compensate for the harm caused by a tragic vehicle accident.

The total compensation recovered in wrongful death litigation is distributed pursuant to any attorney-client retainer and then to the deceased person’s surviving family members in accordance with probate law.

This money can help to restore the victim’s income and offer much-needed financial support in the aftermath of the devastating death of the person involved.

Investigating a Fatal Truck Accident

People may contact the National Highway and Transportation Safety Board to investigate if the truck collision was fatal.

These individuals assist local authorities and, on occasion, undertake their own separate investigations into the crash, which might take months. (Locating evidence like the black box, identifying information of drivers, and maintenance personnel, repair logs, break schedules, and so on.)

Get Help with Your Truck Accident Claim

It’s best to hire a lawyer to advise you if you have little to no experience processing truck accident claims. If a loved one was killed in a truck accident, we can file a wrongful death claim. We will negotiate settlements with liable parties on behalf of the decedent’s estate and any surviving wrongful death victims.

Our prior case results show a successful, proven track record of obtaining substantial, six-figure, and higher settlements and verdicts, with millions of dollars, recovered. This is a reason our premier trial attorneys offer a free case evaluation for all seriously injured victims 24 hours a day, seven days a week!

For example, our truck accident lawyers can:

  • Assist you in gathering important proof for your claim and legal rights (violation of traffic law, proof the other driver was intoxicated, etc.)
  • Obtain expert testimony by consulting with them
  • Manage all of your interactions with other people
  • Verify that the insurance company is aware of the seriousness of your injuries and losses
  • Examine all of the insurance company’s offers to be sure they’re reasonable
  • Assist you in understanding all of the legal options available to you in your case to receive compensation in a fair and just amount

We take the attorney-client relationship seriously. We want to finally put your health and recovery after the accident first on the list of priorities. Allow us to handle all of the legal details to get you justice, while you grieve, relax and recover your physical and mental health.

Call Us for Help

Further questions about the several steps above? Semi-truck, tractor-trailer, and other commercial vehicle accident claims can be difficult to prosecute and can be confusing and painful for victims.

We can answer any questions regarding a personal injury lawsuit. We can also offer legal advice over any limitations or deadlines in your case. We take pride in keeping a confidential attorney-client relationship with you.

It’s cost-free and risk-free to receive a free consultation. Now you can discuss your matter and let us inspect relevant documents and things. All it takes is a single phone call.

Get control over your legal problems with help from a debonair, flamboyant legal advocate. Call us today. Make an appointment with one of Michael Ehline’s professional personal injury attorneys.

If this sounds like you, please call Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer, Michael Ehline at (213) 596-9642 if you wish to consult with a lawyer. Use our website contact form here.

Ehline Law Firm - Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC
Attorney at Law
Michael P. Ehline Esq,
Downtown Los Angeles Corporate Offices

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