How to Take the Right Steps Following a Commercial Trucking Accident
Commercial truck accidents are among the most serious and dramatic auto accidents on the highway. Owing to their size and the sometimes-dangerous conditions under which they operate, tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks are notorious for causing catastrophic damages in auto accidents.
No one expects to be in any kind of auto accident, so finding yourself in a commercial trucking accident can be a particularly rattling surprise. Worse still, leaning that you have lost a person you love in one of these terrible tragedies is an especially difficult and stunning shock.
Figuring out what to do next is hard. Looking for reliable information online is a challenge, given that a simple search yields thousands of questionable results. Be careful whose guidance you trust. Many of these websites contain incomplete or misguided advice. Likewise, insurance companies are typically more interested in their own profits than they are in protecting your rights.
As Fort Myers truck accident lawyers with more than 40 years of cumulative experience, we know how important your initial response to a car crash truly is. The things you say and the actions you take may have a profound impact on the outcome of your case. We’ve designed this page to help you make that impact a positive one.
We hope this page will serve as a go-to resource for Floridians who have suddenly found themselves injured or grieving a loss in the moments or days after a commercial trucking accident.
Remember, though, that every single situation is unique. While the information below is helpful as a general guide, you should always talk about the details of any potential claim with our Fort Myers truck accident lawyers before making any decisions about your next steps or your rights under the law.
At Viles & Beckman, LLC we provide experienced and aggressive legal representation for victims of large truck accidents and their family members. Our job is to challenge at-fault truckers, their employers, and their insurance companies in order to maximize compensation and fight for justice at every turn.
We do not charge our clients for our services unless we settle their case or win in court. You can schedule a no-cost, no-obligation case review with our office today.
Your Health Comes First
Large truck accidents almost always cause injuries, many of them very serious in nature. You should always put your health first, along with the health of everyone else involved in the accident as well.
- Even if you are not qualified to render medical aid, you can save a life by calling 911.
- Injuries do not always manifest themselves right away. It is impossible to know for sure whether you have been injured in the immediate aftermath of a commercial trucking accident.
- If you have obvious, urgent injuries, call 911.
- If you are not sure that you are injured, you should either call 911 or contact your doctor and ask to be seen as soon as possible.
- A documented medical visit can help you protect your legal rights.
- Stay away from oncoming traffic while you wait for emergency responders.
- If possible, put a safe distance between yourself and any vehicles that pose a risk for fire or explosion.
Steps to Take While Still at the Scene
You should take the following steps while still at the scene of the crash:
- Call 911. Even if no one appears to be injured — and even if the vehicle damage seems minimal — you must report the accident to the police.
- Don’t leave. Leaving the scene of an accident before law enforcement officers arrive can be prosecuted as a criminal offense.
- Be careful what you say. Even innocent statements can be used against you later. While we understand the impulse to be polite during a difficult situation, you should resist the urge to say things like “that was my fault” or “I’m sorry.” It is acceptable to ask others if they are okay (in fact, you should ask that question as long as it is safe for you to do so).
- Do not sign any waivers. If an insurance company or employer makes you an offer, it is probably an unfair one. Remember: the insurer’s primary goal is to pay you as little as possible. That is true even if it is your own insurance company! Don’t trust them until you’ve talked to us first.
Document the Situation
Gather the following as soon as possible:
- Pictures of the accident scene and each vehicle involved
- Up-close pictures of any specific vehicle damage
- The name of each driver and passenger involved
- The other drivers’ insurance information
- The year, make, model, and VIN for each vehicle involved
- Names and contact information for each eyewitness and everyone involved
- The name of the responding police officer and a reference number for the police report, if available
It is also a good idea to make typed or handwritten notes about exactly what happened. Note things like the road names, intersection markers, time of day, weather conditions, your initial reactions, etc. Be as detailed as possible. Remember, though, that you should not use your cell phone while you are operating any vehicle.
Soon After the Truck Accident
Take these additional steps as soon as possible:
- Call your insurer. Most insurance companies require their policyholders to call and report an auto accident soon after the event.
- Visit a mechanic. Get written estimates for any vehicle damage.
- Schedule follow-up doctors visits. Many injuries require ongoing care. This may include rehabilitation and/or therapy. Do not neglect your follow-up medical treatment. Show up for each appointment if at all possible.
- Contact an attorney as soon as possible. Auto accidents are complex legal events. Studies show that victims who are represented by experienced lawyers recover substantially more money on average than those who are not. While outcomes are never guaranteed, the Fort Myers truck accident lawyers at Viles & Beckman, LLC can make a meaningful difference in your case. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can start defending your rights and shouldering the stress of negotiation on your behalf. We want to help.
Free Case Evaluation with Our Fort Myers Truck Accident Lawyers
If you have been hurt in a commercial trucking accident in Southwest Florida — or if you’ve lost someone you love — you may be entitled to substantial financial compensation. We want to help. Please contact us online or call 800.648.4537 to schedule a free case evaluation with our Fort Myers truck accident lawyers today.