Truck accidents are often very traumatic. Because of the sheer size and weight of semi-trucks, delivery trucks, 18-wheelers, and other commercial vehicles, most victims are left with serious injuries.
If the accident resulted from another party’s negligence, you might be eligible for compensation. To ensure that you make a full recovery and are successful with your truck accident claim, there are certain steps you can take.
Our best truck accident attorney, with over a decade of experience, has devised this ultimate guide to truck accident recovery and litigation in California to help you know what to do. If you need more information or want to discuss the specific facts of your truck accident case, please get in touch with Ehline Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation!
What to Do After a Truck Accident
The truth is that truck accidents can leave victims confused and dazed. However, to ensure that your legal rights are protected and improve your chances of recovery, you must take a few important steps.
1. Stop and Do Not Flee the Scene of the Accident
Stopping is the first thing you should do after being involved in a truck accident. It’s important not to leave the scene after the crash, even after sharing information with the other people involved in the accident.
If you do, you’re breaking the law, which will lead to being prosecuted with either a misdemeanor or felony hit-and-run.
When you cause damage to property in an accident and then flee the scene before providing the other people involved with your personal information, you have committed a misdemeanor hit and run. Misdemeanor hit-and-run offenses carry fines of up to $1,000 and prison terms of up to six months.
If you cause a truck accident that injures another person and then flee the scene without revealing your identity, this is considered a felony hit-and-run. Those charged with a felony hit-and-run may receive a jail term of up to four years and have to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
2. Get to Safety
Once you stop after a truck accident if it is safe enough to do so, move your truck or car to a secure area. Additional collisions and injuries might occur if you leave your car in the center of the road. However, if moving the vehicles would be dangerous, leave them where they are.
Unless the vehicles are positioned dangerously or if someone is gravely wounded or killed, leave them in their current location and wait for the authorities to arrive.
3. Contact Law Enforcement
When a truck accident occurs, contact law enforcement, especially if someone has been injured. If you can, check on the condition of everyone involved in the collision. Provide the other driver(s) with your personal details while you wait.
After dialing 911, first aid personnel and law enforcement will arrive at the crash scene. Inform the authorities of your recollection of the events before the crash and ensure you obtain a copy of the police report.
Police Reports Are Not Admissible in Court
While police reports are not admissible in court as evidence, they usually play a key role in achieving out-of-court settlements. These documents also contain essential information that can be utilized to reevaluate the incident.
A drawing of the accident scene, witness testimony, contact information for each driver, statements from all parties involved, and the police officer’s determination of fault is usually included in police reports.
Your Truck Accident Attorney Will Use the Police Report to Support Your Claim
To determine who is to blame for an accident, an experienced truck accident attorney can examine a police report and consult with specialists and investigators. The insurance provider for the trucking firm would probably vigorously defend its driver and seek to prove that you were to blame for the collision rather than the truck driver.
When this happens, we can use the police report to gather proof and establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver of the truck, the trucking company, or another party was to blame for the collision.
4. Get Medical Treatment
After a truck accident, emergency medical personnel will assess you on the scene and, if required, transport you to a hospital for further treatment. Even if you feel fine after the crash and don’t need emergency medical assistance, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as you can.
This is because many injuries take time to manifest after a collision. Certain injuries take several hours, days, or weeks to manifest.
It is also important to follow through with your treatment. Attend follow-up assessments to improve your chances of making a full recovery and obtaining compensation.
What If You Cannot Afford Medical Treatment?
In the majority of truck accident claims, you will be able to obtain compensation for your damages from an insurance carrier. The issue with delaying medical care for too long is that insurers are reluctant to compensate you for your injuries.
If you take too long to visit a doctor, the insurance company may argue that your injuries may not have resulted from the accident and deny you compensation.
Suppose you can’t afford the treatment. In that case, you can turn to Ehline law for help. We have a network of physicians who agree to treat patients on liens, which means you will not be billed for your treatment until your truck accident case has been resolved.
5. Report the Collision to the DMV
If someone is wounded or there is more than $750 in damage to your vehicle, you must report the crash to the DMV within 10 days of the accident. Failure to report the accident within this time frame will result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
6. Obtain as Much Proof from the Truck Accident Scene as You Can
When it comes to truck accident lawsuits, it’s important to obtain as much evidence from the scene as possible. However, it’s important to mention that you should only do this if you are physically able and if it is safe to do so.
Here are some examples of evidence that you can obtain from the accident scene:
- The truck driver’s personal details
- Information about the trucking company’s insurance company
- Photographs of videos from the scene of the accident
- Contact details of eyewitnesses.
7. Watch What You Say
What you say at the scene of the crash could harm your chances of receiving financial recompense for your injuries. Even if you believe you may have contributed to some degree to the mishap, do not blame yourself for it or make excuses for it.
Only a personal injury attorney should explore culpability or liability. If the driver tries to get you to admit fault for the collision, kindly inform them to contact your insurance company.
8. Gather Evidence That Can Be Used to Prove Your Truck Accident Injuries
According to truck accident law, the victim must prove that he or she sustained personal injuries as a result of the accident to be eligible for compensation.
Any apparent injuries should be photographed or documented by someone else. If you go to a doctor or other healthcare professional, ask them to take pictures of your wounds as well. Take notes of your ailments and pain.
If you carefully document all your truck accident injuries, your personal injury lawyer will have a higher chance of obtaining the maximum compensation you are rightfully due.
Keep a record of the names, professions, and appointment times of any medical professionals you receive treatment from. Maintain meticulous records of all drugs and treatments you receive. To substantiate your claim for medical expenses to an insurance company, ensure that you retain copies of all medical bills.
In addition to economic damages, truck accident victims are also entitled to non-economic damages. To ensure that you receive compensation for the pain and suffering you are entitled to, keep a diary to document your experience.
9. Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer
It’s important to contact truck accident lawyers as soon as possible to ensure you do not miss the deadline for filing your claim. Attorneys know truck accident law and can help you tell whether the negligence of the truck driver, the trucking company, or another party caused the accident.
The Statute of Limitations for Bringing a Truck Accident Lawsuit in California
According to California truck accident law, there is a two-year statute of limitations for truck accident claims. This means that victims have two years from the day of the collision to bring a truck accident claim against truck drivers or other at-fault parties.
Moreover, the deadline for filing your lawsuit could be considerably shorter depending on who the at-fault parties are in your truck accident case. Cases involving claims against a government body are normally required to be filed within six months from the date of the accident.
To ensure that your truck accident case is filed within the allotted timeframe and that you comply with truck accident law, it is a good idea to speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that statutes of limitations are rigorously followed. If you fail to file personal injury claims within this timeframe, it’s very likely that you won’t be eligible for monetary compensation. The best course of action is to file your lawsuit as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
We answer some of the most asked questions about truck accidents in the section below.
1. Who can be held liable for truck accidents?
Individuals, such as truck drivers, motorists, or passengers, as well as trucking companies and/or government entities, can be responsible for damages in truck accident cases.
2. Should I talk to the insurance company, truck driver, or another at-fault party?
No. You should never talk to an insurance adjuster yourself. If you intend to pursue a legal claim, you should never speak with the insurer or the at-fault party. Sometimes, insurance claim adjusters will get in touch with you in an effort to promptly and inexpensively resolve your claim.
3. What is my truck accident case worth?
Each case is different, so the compensation you may be eligible for will depend on your case’s specific facts. To find out what your claim is worth, it’s best to talk to one of our attorneys.
Contact Our Team of Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers Today!
When recovering compensation for your injuries, it’s important to find an attorney that is well-versed in truck accident law and has years of experience with similar cases. You can rely on our team to fight your case.
At Ehline Law, we approach every case with compassion and fight rigorously to ensure you get the compensation you are rightly due.
Contact us today by calling (833) LETS-SUE or filling out the online contact form to book your free consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer who has won clients millions in verdicts and settlements!