When fully loaded with cargo, an 18-wheeler can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds, while a regular sized automobile weighs approximately 4,000 pounds. A collision between the two can cause severe personal injury and property damage, particularly to the occupants of the passenger vehicle.
Due to the severity of loss, the driver and trucking company are required to carry their own high insurance liability limits, with liability shared between the two. Navigating the waters after such an accident can prove daunting for the victim – especially considering they may be compelled to interact with multiple entities representing the truck driver and trucking company.
Here, then, are four steps you should take immediately following a car accident involving a semi-truck:
- See a physician – In many cases, emergency medical care is required. Even if you walked away from the accident – and you think you feel okay – it’s critical that you visit a doctor for a complete evaluation. Some injuries can take hours or days to become apparent, making your physician’s input essential to your case for indemnification.
- Notify your insurance company – With the police report in hand, contact your insurance company as soon as possible. If a representative from the trucking company or truck driver’s insurance contacts you, do not make any statements. Direct them to your attorney or insurance adjustor and let them handle it from there.
- Refuse to sign anything – You will likely be bombarded with phone calls from various adjusters. With their client’s best interests in mind, they will try to get you to sign a medical authorization form, offer a statement or accept a low-ball offer. Respectfully decline to sign any paperwork or accept any offers without consulting with your legal representative.
- Gather paperwork and hire an attorney – The trucking industry requires organizations to maintain detailed paperwork that could prove beneficial to your case. The longer you wait, the higher the risk of this evidence being lost or misplaced. In your initial meeting, the attorney will require the details of the accident, as well as some additional information. Be sure you come with all relevant information pertaining to the accident, the trucking company and driver, your medical condition and vehicular damage.
To ensure you receive fair representation, consider hiring an attorney who understands the intricacies of a semi-truck lawsuit and has your best interests at heart. The stability of your future could depend upon it.