Semi trucks and commercial vehicles carry most all of the goods that are bought and sold in the United States. If not for truck drivers, we wouldn’t have the food we eat, the clothes on our back, or the gasoline in our vehicles. It’s no small feat to navigate a commercial vehicle, but it’s still imperative that the truck drivers are operating in a safe manner. If you’re ever involved in a semi truck crash, you should take these steps to ensure your claim is handled effectively.
8 Steps to Take When Involved in a Semi Truck Crash
1. Report the Semi Truck Crash to Your Insurance Company
It is important to report your semi truck crash to your insurance company as soon as possible. The trucking company and its insurance company will be looking for ways to deny liability for the semi truck crash and to place the blame for the accident on you. If you report your semi truck crash to your insurance company right away, they will take steps to protect you from being taken advantage of by the truck’s insurance company. Only give details about the semi truck crash that are listed in the police report, AND NOTHING FURTHER. You are not under any obligation to give details that you aren’t comfortable discussing. If your insurance company asks you to sign anything or to give details about your injury or anything that is NOT included in the police report, advise them you are retaining a lawyer and you will have the attorney contact them to discuss.
2. Don’t Talk to the Other Insurance Company
After the semi truck crash, the driver’s insurance company will likely contact you very quickly. DO NOT TALK TO THESE PEOPLE. The people who represent the insurance company will be looking to use your words against you to deny coverage for the semi truck crash. If you are contacted by one of these adjusters, politely refuse to answer any questions and let them know you are retaining an attorney. If you have not already contacted a semi truck crash attorney, you should do so. Once you are represented, you can give the truck’s insurance company your attorney’s contact information.
3. Don’t Talk to Truck Company’s Claims Adjuster or Sign Any Forms
The trucking company may have an in-house adjuster or use a TPA (Third Party Administrator) to investigate your claim independently on behalf of the trucking company. These adjusters are trained professionals who specialize in denying insurance coverage to those involved in a semi truck crash. One question a large number of adjusters will ask when investigating the claim is: “How are you/your child feeling now after the accident?” This is a loaded question, as at the time of the call, you likely do not know the extent of your/your child’s injuries. Therefore, almost any answer you give will give the adjuster grounds to minimize your claim because your answer to the former question did not detail the issues you develop some months down the road.
4. Take Photos
Photos are evidence. There is no better way to demonstrate the severity of a semi truck crash than by photos of the scene. This should be done at the time of the accident, or as soon as possible after the accident. It’s important to remember that if you did not take photos at the semi truck crash scene, you should take photos of the vehicle before it is repaired or destroyed (if totaled). Make sure to get photos of the two vehicles where they sit, the cab with company and driver information, the trailer and license plate, and any and all areas where damage is visible on both vehicles. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of the debris from the semi truck crash, as well as documenting in photos any injuries you may have.
5. Get Names and Information of any Witnesses
If anyone stops after the semi truck crash, try to get their name and number so that they may be used as a witness to the accident. If there are other people involved in the semi truck crash, get their names and contact information also.
6. Make Sure Police Report is Filed and Obtain a Copy
The police officer will most likely give you a card with the report number from your semi truck crash accident report. It’s a good idea to follow up with the responding law enforcement agency to ensure your report is on file. If you hire one of our semi truck crash attorneys, we will do this step for you!
7. See a Doctor ASAP
After a serious semi truck crash, your blood will be pumping with adrenaline. Injuries are often not felt immediately after a semi truck crash, but hours, days, or weeks later. You should ALWAYS go get checked out by a medical professional after a semi truck crash. You should immediately go to a hospital or urgent care center to get examined, but at the very least, make an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible to ensure you do not have any underlying injury.
8. Retain a Semi Truck Crash Attorney
Semi truck crashes are serious matters. They involve multiple parties such as: the driver, the trucking company, the trucking company’s insurance company, the driver’s insurance company, and sometimes, a lessor’s insurance company or agent. With so many parties involved, it can make it nearly impossible to handle a semi truck crash claim on your own. You should consult an experienced semi truck crash attorney to make sure you are not being bullied by the trucking company and it’s insurance adjuster. A semi truck crash attorney will gather all the materials necessary to successfully navigate your claim with ease.
If you’ve been involved in a semi truck crash and need legal representation, click here to fill out our online contact form or call us now at 314-862-7222
Photo courtesy of Flickr user meredithwz used in conjunction with this license and was not altered or changed in any way.