Utter chaos reigns in the immediate aftermath of a severe collision involving a semi-truck and one or more passenger cars. People will likely be injured, perhaps seriously or worse.
It is understandable if you are shaken up and don’t know what to do at the scene of a highway crash involving a big rig. But the words you use and the actions you take at the crash scene significantly impact the outcome of any potential claims for damages you file.
Below are some basic steps to remaining safe after a highway accident with an 18-wheeler.
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It is not always immediately apparent which is at fault in a large, commercial truck collision.
During inclement weather conditions, a collision between two vehicles can turn into a deadly highway pile-up like the one that happened last fall in the Pacific Northwest when many Oregon drivers became disoriented when the fog rolled in.
To win your personal injury case against the trucker involved in your wreck, you should meet the following three conditions:
Personal injury attorneys strive to get their clients fair compensation for their injuries, losses, and other compensable damages. If you want to get the biggest piece of the truck crash settlement pie, follow the guidance of an experienced attorney who litigates trucking accident claims.
Keeping a cool head in the first moments after the impact is essential. Don’t panic. Assess your injuries and the conditions of others in your vehicle. You can then alert the dispatcher to send one or more ambulances to the crash scene.
Your first call should be to 911 rather than to your insurance company. At the accident scene, relay only bare-bones information about who, what, where, and when. It’s the job of police and accident scene investigators to determine which negligent driver caused the accident, not you.
Remember, all 911 calls are recorded, so less is more when relaying information and seeking assistance after a truck accident on a Utah highway.
Don’t assume you are fine if you don’t immediately notice an injury. Car and truck accidents shock the system, causing adrenaline to course through the veins. It effectively masks any pain or signs of serious damage like internal bleeding.
Get a thorough medical examination after being involved in a truck accident as soon as possible. Document any injuries or medical issues that arose from the crash. Ideally, it would be best to go immediately to a hospital or urgent care facility.
But sometimes, that is only possible after a truck collision. If you don’t seek treatment at the emergency room, you still follow up with your family doctor the days after the crash.
If you do end up filing an insurance claim for the injuries and damages caused by the wreck, this early documentation of your injuries from the crash becomes part of your claim for damages.
While at the accident scene, use the time before the police arrive to snap pictures of the crash site with your smartphone. Take a shot of your vehicle’s final resting spot and document where the semi-truck landed after the accident.
If anything at the scene could have caused or contributed to the track wreck, e.g., black ice, a jackknifed 18-wheeler, etc., capture the conditions or event. This type of evidence is hard to refute if your claim winds up in court.
Accident scenes attract looky-loos, but some of these folks can become your witnesses. Make sure to speak to them and get their names and contact information. Later, pass this information on to your to arrange follow-up interviews with the witnesses.
Once the initial trauma of the crash is over and you can, it’s time to get your vehicle professionally appraised. A qualified mechanic can determine whether it is fixable or needs to be totaled. If your vehicle’s damage can be repaired, get several damage estimates to submit to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Property damage is compensable damage like personal injuries are. The totals for damage repairs to vehicles can run into five figures, so pay attention to this essential component of your and property damages claim.
Truck accident victims who gets into an accident should be cautious about anything they reveal when speaking to police and insurance adjusters.
Don’t ever lie to the police. Whatever you say to them is transcribed into the police report and the accident report. Your version of events then becomes the basis of your claim for damages.
While you never want to get in trouble for lying to law enforcement officers, don’t elaborate on your answers or include extraneous details that could weaken your position or indicate you share some blame for the crash.
While it might seem rude, never apologize. An apology implies that you bear some guilt for the accident, even if that’s false.
Since social media postings are now ubiquitous in our world, it’s essential to realize the effect your Facebook updates or tweets on Twitter can have on the outcome of your personal injury case.
Everybody tries to show their best side to the world on these sites. That’s usually fine. But if you are amid a personal injury claim against the negligent truck that caused your accident, posting updates on social media could end your hopes of any financial recovery.
Personal injury is a vast category of tort law. Personal injury lawyers deal with all kinds of cases, from wrongful deaths due to negligence to slip-and-fall accidents.
You’ll have a better chance of winning your truck accident case if you retain a truck accident attorney with great familiarity litigating truck accident claims.
The legal term “negligence” refers to someone failing to act reasonably or exercise prudent care. After all, negligent behavior does not have to be intentional.
A truck driver might be liable for your accident if they were speeding, driving while impaired, running a red light, getting distracted behind the wheel, and driving tired.
Those are just a few examples of negligence that can lead to catastrophic injuries from truck accidents.
When a bad accident involves a trucker who drives for a company, the trucker, and the company may share the blame for the negligence.
For instance, companies often place unrealistic pressure on their drivers to meet impossible deadlines driving through inclement weather to their destinations. These company policies are unsafe and may be illegal.
Another shoddy business practice some companies employ is hiring unqualified drivers. These truck drivers might need help passing drug tests other companies use to screen their drivers randomly. Alternatively, the company must properly train its drivers to use the safety features on their big rigs.
Absolutely. Each state has its statute of limitations, after which a case prescribes, and no compensation will be forthcoming to late claimants. Here in Utah, claimants have four years to file their damage claims.
Maybe. Utah follows the doctrine of comparative fault. Under UT Code 78B-5-817 (2021),if you were less than 50% responsible for the truck accident, you can file a petition for damages seeking compensation for your injuries.
Did you miss work due to the injuries from the truck accident? If you can document that you did, your attorney can seek those wages as part of the truck accident lawsuit.
Litigating a truck accident claim is trickier than many people realize. For starters, the trucking company will use its cadre of lawyers to delay the and deny your legitimate claim. Someone without a law degree will need help moving their case forward through this legal obstacle course.
At Parker + McConkie, we encourage people to entrust the nuts and bolts of their trucking accident claims to our seasoned legal team.
Once on board, we jump in with both feet. We can track down old paperwork supporting your allegations that the trucker who hit you was never properly trained before being allowed to drive nationwide.
We also know how to ferret evidence supporting our client’s version of events. At your initial consultation, we assess the merits of your case and report our findings to you. We believe in honest communication and will always encourage you to prosecute a strong case with little chance of success.
Were you injured in a Utah trucking accident? If so, you could have a long road to recovery. At Parker + McConkie, we always pledge to represent the best interests of our clients and take on the corporate trucking companies and negligent drivers who caused you such pain and suffering.