I Was Just Hit by an 18-Wheeler in Dallas, TX. What Do I Need to Do?
The days following a truck accident can be extremely difficult. Many accident victims are overcome with pain, grief, and fear as they try to piece together what happened and figure out what to do next. If you were hit by an 18-wheeler in Dallas, here are eight steps you should take after the accident.
1) Stop Your Vehicle and Call for Help
The most important thing you need to do is report your accident, if you are able. If you fail to report your accident or do not receive immediate medical attention, proving the severity of your injuries can be more difficult.
2) Document the Scene of the Crash
The surest way to properly document an accident scene is to immediately hire a Dallas trucking attorney. We can make sure the company involved in the trucking accident preserves important evidence, like the condition of the truck following the collision, log books, and data recorder information. Also, we work with accident reconstructionists who can get to the scene of the truck wreck and properly document all the evidence needed to recreate how the collision happened, such as skid marks, gouges, and distances traveled pre- and post-impact. This information is vital in establishing who was at fault and can be lost forever if there is unnecessary delay. Understand that the trucking company’s investigators will be on the scene immediately, so you should have investigators there working for you.
But there are some things you can also do at the scene of the wreck. Unless you are incapacitated or required emergency medical treatment, you will want to collect information and evidence from the scene. The police officer at the scene will put together a police report detailing the accident. This report will be a critical part of your case later. You will need to identify witnesses and take down their contact information. Be sure to take photos of the scene (skid marks, marking on roadway, damage to the cars, resting points of the vehicles post collision, etc), as well as any injuries and damage.
Also, make a note of the truck itself and try to identify as much information as you can about the trucking company.
If you were unable to document the scene, you can obtain the police report from the officers who were on the scene. In most cases, the accident report will have the eyewitnesses’ contact information and any tickets the officers issued.
3) Seek Medical Attention As Soon As Possible
Receiving medical attention is imperative for protecting your physical and financial recovery.
Accidents involving large commercial trucks can result in catastrophic injuries. Some of these injuries become more severe when victims fail to see a doctor immediately after the accident.
Failing to see a doctor immediately can make it more difficult to prove your injuries resulted from the accident.
Note: Some victims refuse treatment because they are worried about how they will be able to afford medical treatment. There are multiple options to pay for this care, however. You may be able to use your health insurance coverage or medical payments coverage under your car insurance (if you have it). If these two or not an option, we might be able to set up an agreement with your doctor to pay off your bills after you have won your settlement or verdict.
4) File a Claim with the At-Fault Party’s Insurer
We always recommend hiring an attorney before talking with the trucking company or its insurance company. The trucking company and the insurance company have no desire to properly compensate you. So, if you say the wrong thing to them, rest assured they will use it to minimize your claim. The stress following a trucking accident and lack of experience in dealing with insurance companies increases the likelihood of making a mistake that can harm your case.
If you do decide to file your own claim, however, keep a few things in mind. First, the trucking company, rather than the driver, usually is the ultimate party responsible for any damages causued in the wreck. So make sure you contact the trucking company’s insurance company to open a claim.
Filing against a trucking company means that you likely have the chance of a much higher payout; unfortunately, this also means that it will be much more difficult as these companies often have large insurers and large, experienced legal teams.
Second, when filing your claim, say as little as possible. Stick to the basic facts. Only give the insurance adjuster:
- Your name and insurance policy number
- The date, time, and location of the accident
- Who was involved
A general statement that the truck driver caused the accident. (Yes – do not try to explain the facts in detail because that is where you are most likely to make a mistake. Let them know you will forward the police report to them as soon as you get it.
Lastly, do not apologize for the accident or say that you are okay. If the adjuster asks if you are injured, simply say yes and let them know you will forward the medical records at a later date. Again, the more you say, the more harm you might cause.
5) Keep Track of and Follow Through with Your Treatment
Once a physician has evaluated your injuries, you will need to follow the prescribed treatment plan to the letter. Keep detailed notes on all your doctor’s visits, prescribed medications, treatment plans, and medical procedures.
You should also keep a record of any symptoms you notice and whether they have gotten worse over time. If you skip doctor’s appointments or disobey your doctor’s orders, the trucking company’s insurer can claim that you are contributing to your injuries or that they are exaggerated or falsified.
6) Stay Organized
Your accident will come with dozens of receipts and stacks of paperwork. Make sure that you keep everything in a safe place. If you do not keep your receipts or paperwork, you might not be able to recover the compensation you need.
Keep everything in a folder; make copies and give one folder to your lawyer.
7) Be Mindful of the Statute of Limitations
You do not have unlimited time to file your claim in court. Under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003(a), victims must file a personal injury claim within two years of the date of the accident. In other states, the statute of limitations is as short as one year.
This might seem like plenty of time, but it could be over a year before you have determined exactly how your injury will affect you going forward. Failure to file your claim within two years may bar you from recovering damages.
8) Start Interviewing Lawyers
To move forward with your truck accident case, you need to have a general understanding of trucking regulations and negligence laws, the expertise to recreate the accident scene, and a clear understanding of the damages you may be able to recover. All this can be very complex. Instead of spending your time studying up on trucking laws, focus on your recovery. A Dallas trucking accident lawyer at Lovins Trosclair, PLLC will help you. Remember, time is of the essence because valuable evidence can be lost due to unnecessary delays.
We have decades of experience fighting for injured victims and have an in-depth knowledge of trucking laws and negligence laws as well as how to estimate your damages.
We know what violations to search for, the evidence we need to prove it, and what we need to do to get it.
Call Lovins Trosclair, PLLC to Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Understanding complex trucking regulations and court procedure is not easy. Fortunately, there are qualified attorneys available to help you.
The attorneys at Lovins Trosclair, PLLC are knowledgeable in all aspects of truck accident law and have handled cases like yours. We will use our experience with Texas trucking laws and insurance companies to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Call Lovins Trosclair, PLLC at 214-484-1930 for assistance filing your claim.