Every year, a shocking number of people are injured and killed in accidents involving a large truck. Indeed, statistics demonstrate that some of the most catastrophic accidents on U.S. roadways, including in New York, involve commercial or semi-trucks, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
If you have been involved in an accident with a large truck, you need to understand your legal rights. You need to know what you must do in order to best protect your legal interests following a semi-truck accident.
Document the Accident Scene
A crucial step that must be taken following an accident with a large truck is appropriately documenting the accident scene. The reality is that because of your injuries you may not be able to undertake this vital task. However, if at all possible it must be done. Oftentimes, someone else will be able to ensure that the essential elements of appropriately documenting a large truck accident scene are completed.
A major element of documenting a large truck accident scene is taking photos or making a video of the area. Photos and videos should include the accident scene from all possible angles.
Documenting an accident scene needs to include identifying witnesses. The names and contact information from witnesses needs to be gathered. In addition, if possible. concise statements should be taken from the witnesses. Videoing witnesses to collect this information is an effective methodology to utilize in the aftermath of an accident.
You also need to be certain to obtain vital information about the driver of truck that caused the accident, and about the trucking company. This includes comprehensive contact and insurance information about the driver and the trucking company. In addition, if other motorists were involved in the collision is some manner, you must also ensure that contact and insurance information about these parties is collected as well.
Finally, you need to make sure you ultimately obtain an official copy of any police report prepared in regard to the accident. You also need to make sure you have the names and contact information for law enforcement officers who responded to the accident.
What Your Should Not Do Following a Large Truck Accident
While there are specific things you need to do following a large truck accident, there are equally important actions you must not do in the aftermath of a semi accident. You need to avoid these things in order to protect your legal rights in your case.
Directly after a large truck accident, the need to file a claim with an insurance company, or insurance companies, arises. In many cases, after filing a claim with an insurance company, a representative of the insurer will pressure you to answer questions and make a statement.
Insurance companies pressure injured people to make statements and answer questions shortly after filing a claim for a number of reasons. These include trying to lock you into making statements about the accident before you really have full and complete information about the nature and extent of your injuries or losses. Making these early statements, answering these questions in a premature manner, nearly always will work against your vital interests.
When an insurance company approaches you shortly after an accident for an interview, you need to politely advise you are not yet prepared to do so. You need to tell an insurance company that you want to consult with your lawyer first. An insurance company must allow you this leeway to seek and consult with legal counsel, not matter how hard it may push you to make a statement or answer questions.
Retain the Professional Services of an Personal Injury Law Firm
Another key step you need to take following an accident with a large truck is retaining legal counsel. This is accomplished by scheduling an initial consultation with a skilled, experienced personal injury lawyer, according to the American Bar Association.
A personal injury attorney will discuss your case in detail and provide you an evaluation of it. Legal counsel will also answer any questions you may have about your case. As a general rule, a personal injury lawyer will not charge a fee for an initial consultation with a prospective client in a large truck accident case. In addition, a skilled personal injury lawyer charges no fee unless a favorable settlement of judgment is obtained in your case.