If you have been hurt in a truck accident, there are certain steps you can take to help maximize the potential value of your personal injury claim. At Burch Law Firm, our attorneys are here to guide you every step of the way. We fight for the full compensation you need to move forward with your life after a serious truck crash. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
What Should You Do Right After a Truck Accident?
The process of building a personal injury claim for compensation begins immediately after a crash. Your actions can help protect not only your health, but your legal right to compensation.
- Call 911 or law enforcement. The first priority after any accident is your safety and the safety of anyone else involved. Calling 911 or law enforcement will ensure health emergencies are addressed. You also want to get a copy of the responding officer’s report. This will be a crucial piece of evidence in any future legal claim. Answer the officer’s questions truthfully, but keep answers short and focused on straightforward facts.
- Exchange contact information and insurance details. Get the names, phone numbers, email addresses, and insurance information for any drivers involved in the crash. Get the name and contact information for the trucking company and the truck’s owner, if the driver is not the owner. Write down (or take photos of) any identifying information on the truck, including the license plate and any numbers on the trailer. Even as you gather this information, though, do not discuss any details of the crash.
- Save evidence. Take photos and video of the crash scene, including your car, the truck that hit you, skid marks, road signs, etc. Also take photos of your injuries. (Depending on the situation, you may need to ask someone to do this for you.) Get contact information for any witnesses. The more evidence you have, especially if it helps to demonstrate fault by the other driver, the stronger your claim.
- Get medical treatment immediately. The sooner you seek treatment, the better your outcome is likely to be. Your doctor will be able to document your injuries and outline a treatment plan. As you continue on the road to recovery, your medical records and bills will be used as part of your case. Never delay treatment. This allows the other driver’s insurer to argue that your injuries were not serious enough to warrant immediate treatment, which could lower the value of your claim.
- Talk to a lawyer immediately. A South Texas truck accident attorney from our firm can tell you what your options are after a wreck and if you have a viable claim for damages. The sooner you speak to an attorney, the sooner your legal team can start investigating your crash. Your attorney will need to work quickly to preserve evidence before it is cleaned up or destroyed. Your attorney will also handle any communication between you and the trucking company and insurers.
Dealing with the Insurance Company
Be very careful if an insurance company or attorney for the at-fault driver contacts you. Their goal is to minimize the value of your claim, or deny it altogether. If the truck driver’s insurance company contacts you:
- Do not let them record any sort of statement. There is no legal obligation for you to give them a statement. Do not allow yourself to be recorded. Your statement could be used against you later on.
- Don’t give any descriptions of your injuries. The adjuster may ask a seemingly innocent question like “How are you feeling?” or “Are you feeling OK?” Do not fall for these tricks. They want you to say something to minimize what you’re going through.
- Do not ever admit fault, say “I’m sorry,” etc. Do not give them any opening to push the blame on you.
- Tell them you will have an attorney contact them. The best thing you can do is to refer anyone who contacts you about the crash to your attorney. Your lawyer will manage all the details from there.
What If You Are Partially at Fault?
Even if you played some role in causing a commercial truck accident, you may still be entitled to compensation. In Texas, we follow a modified comparative fault system. This means accident victims can still receive compensation as long as they are not 51 percent or more at fault for their injuries.
If you are found to be partially at fault, however, your damages award will be decreased by your percentage of fault. Trucking companies and insurers will try to push the blame on you to reduce the value of your claim.
How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?
You have a limited window to file a personal injury claim after a crash. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Texas, including claims related to trucking accidents, is two years from the date of injury. That sounds like a long time, but these cases take time to research and prepare. If you have not filed your claim by that point, you will be unable to recover any compensation.
Contact Our Texas Trucking Accident Lawyers Today
Our team at Burch Law Firm is committed to maximizing the value of your trucking accident claim. We will pursue a maximum settlement and prepare to take your case to trial if necessary. Talk to a New Braunfels trucking accident lawyer now in a free consultation.