Dealing with the aftermath of an auto accident can be stressful and confusing. It can be even more difficult if you’ve been in a trucking accident that involved a commercial tractor trailer.
When injured in a car accident, you will primarily deal with the driver and their insurance company. But in a trucking accident, you may need to deal with additional parties and multiple jurisdictions, resulting in a more complex process.
Trucking Accidents Aren’t Exactly Like Other Auto Accidents
Accidents that involve commercial trucks require a different legal approach than auto accidents that involve personal vehicles for a few reasons.
The trucking industry is governed by federal laws and regulations, and agencies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulate the industry along with departments of transportation in each state.
In addition to multiple layers of regulation and oversight, trucking accidents differ from personal auto accidents in that there are often multiple parties involved. Parties that may have responsibility for the accident or be otherwise involved in the legal process may include:
- The truck driver
- The owner of the truck or trailer
- The company that leased the truck or trailer
- The manufacturer of any of the parts on the truck or trailer
- The loader of the truck or trailer
While a trucking accident is a type of personal injury case similar to personal auto accidents, it may require a different and multi-layered legal approach to reach a full and fair settlement.
4 Steps to Take if You’re in a Trucking Accident
If you have been in a trucking accident, take these steps right away.
#1) If you have serious injuries, seek medical help immediately.
The first step after being in an accident is always to seek medical care. If you or anyone else in the accident sustained serious injuries, get medical help right away.
#2) Collect evidence from the scene.
If you haven’t sustained major injuries from the accident, assess the scene and begin to collect evidence. As part of the process:
- Take photos of your vehicle and the truck.
- Write down the name of the trucking company or any organizations listed on the truck. Also, write down any license or truck numbers displayed on the truck.
- Get the name and contact information of the driver.
- Get the names and contact information from any witnesses.
- Get the names and contact information from on-scene police officers.
- Ask officers when and where you can get a copy of the accident report.
- Write down your account of the accident while your memory is fresh.
#3) Even if you feel fine, seek medical help.
Even if you feel okay after the accident, seek medical care. Injuries from accidents don’t always show up right away. Plus, rushes of adrenaline released in your body during the accident can mask injuries.
Seeking medical care will help you get a complete assessment of both your surface and potentially underlying injuries. It will also create a record of your care, which will be essential if you decide to sue for personal injury after the trucking accident. To seek compensation for your injuries, you will need to prove that your physical issues were caused by the accident. The best way to prove it is by having medical records from after the accident.
#4) Don’t contact your insurance company. Contact an attorney.
While your first instinct might be to contact your auto insurance company, you should make another call first. Contact a personal injury attorney.
The goal of insurance companies is to pay out as little as possible for accidents. Your auto insurance company isn’t going to fight for you; they are going to fight to minimize their payout.
An attorney, on the other hand, works for you. They will have your best interest in mind and take all the necessary steps to ensure you get the compensation you deserve to cover the expenses and damages caused by the accident.
What To Do If a Loved One Was in a Trucking Accident
If it wasn’t you, but a loved one who was injured in a trucking accident, you have options for pursuing a legal case.
If the person injured in the accident is unable to fight for themselves because they have serious injuries, you can take on their case for them. If they have passed away, you can also take on a wrongful death case to seek justice. You have options, and an experienced attorney can walk you through them.
Discuss Your Options During a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, don’t try to wade through the complicated legal process on your own. Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney who can ensure that you take the right approach to get a fair and full settlement.
Schedule a consultation with TJ Grimaldi to discuss your case and your options today. All consultations are free so schedule today. Schedule or call 813-226-1023.