Accidents involving commercial trucks can be quite serious because of the size of the truck and the speeds at which these accidents tend to occur (as they most commonly occur on the highways). Victims of auto accidents face significant medical bills, loss of income and vehicle damage, as well as emotional trauma and painful and challenging recoveries.
Therefore, if you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver, it is important you understand the process of filing a truck accident claim so you can seek compensation for your damages. Here’s an overview of what you should know, after you get your medical care and report the accident to the authorities.
Begin gathering evidence
At the scene of the accident, you should have taken photos of the damage to both vehicles and of the general accident site, as well as any visible injuries (assuming you were physically capable of doing so). The accident site is also a good time to collect contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
When you’re home, write down every detail you can remember of the accident while it’s still fresh in your mind, and consider drawing up diagrams to help visualize.
Contact an attorney
If you’re dealing with significant injuries or medical bills, you’ll want an attorney by your side through the claims process. They’ll understand the methods they can use to help you get a higher compensation figure, as well as the various forms of liability that may be present in truck accident cases that may not occur in standard car accident cases.
Contact your insurance provider
You will need to notify your insurance company about the accident, and do so as soon as you can, as you must meet certain notification deadlines for insurance to cover the damage. When talking to your insurance adjuster, make sure you answer all questions truthfully, but without editorializing or accepting blame. Do not agree to a recorded statement, as if your case goes to court one minor slip-up could be used against you.
Negotiate a settlement
This is where having an attorney to work with really comes in handy—they will understand the negotiation process and have a good idea of whether a settlement figure offered by your adjuster is fair. Remember that the adjuster works for the insurance company, so their job is to save the insurance company as much money as possible. You have the right to decline any offers you or your attorney believe to be unfair and to negotiate a higher pay-out, just make sure you are doing so backed by evidence and are negotiating in good faith.
If your claim is denied, don’t worry—that does not have to be the end of your claim. Again, your attorney can work with you to bolster your claim and increase your chances of compensation.
For more information about the steps to take after you’ve been involved in a truck accident, contact Mark G. Artall, APLC with your questions.