Though large trucks make up only 5% of registered vehicles in the US, they are involved in 9% of all fatal road accidents. While we need large trucks to support our supply chain, they can also present serious hazards to their drivers and others on the road.
If you were injured in an accident involving a truck, you’re probably wondering what to do next. How can you prioritize your recovery and recuperate your financial losses?
You may want to consider filing a truck accident claim. However, there are some common mistakes with truck accident lawsuits that you should know about.
Read on to learn about the accidents people make during their truck accident cases and how to avoid them.
Table of Contents
- Forgoing Police Involvement
- Skipping Immediate Medical Attention
- Talking Too Much to Other Drivers
- Failing to Gather Evidence of the Scene
- Neglecting Follow-Up Care
- Posting on Social Media
- Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit Without a Lawyer
- Not Knowing the Lawsuit Filing Deadline
- Talking to Insurance Companies Alone
- Taking the First Offer
- Don’t Make These Mistakes With Truck Accident Lawsuits
Forgoing Police Involvement
If you were involved in a truck accident, the first thing you should do is contact the police. The police will document the scene and create a police report that will come in handy down the line. They’ll also collect the information of every involved driver, which you may need if you fail to get everyone’s information.
In many states, it’s a legal requirement to call the police after a multi-vehicle accident. Failing to do so can make it appear like you were fleeing the scene, which can hurt your chance of filing a successful lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Skipping Immediate Medical Attention
When you call 911, let them know if you or someone else in your car requires emergency medical attention. If you don’t need EMT assistance, you still need to get immediate medical attention—even if you don’t think that you have a truck accident injury.
Vehicle accidents are traumatic events that can send your mind and body into shock. This can make it difficult (if not impossible) to notice signs of an injury that isn’t observable, like internal injuries or brain trauma.
Seeking medical attention after an accident can be life-saving. Plus, it establishes that you are working within your means to prevent your injuries from getting worse, which will become crucial once you file a lawsuit.
Talking Too Much to Other Drivers
Though the police will collect contact information, you should get your own record at the scene of the accident. Ask other involved drivers for their name, phone number, and insurance information.
Keep all conversations focused on the exchange of information. Don’t say anything about who you think caused the accident, what kinds of injuries you think you’ve sustained, or your own possible responsibility. Any speculation you share with other drivers could harm your lawsuit, particularly if you indicate that you may have caused or partially caused the accident.
Failing to Gather Evidence of the Scene
Unless you need to get emergency medical attention, it’s useful to gather evidence at the scene of the accident. This does include exchanging information, but it also includes documentation of the accident, itself.
Focus on anything that could help with accident reconstruction. This includes photos and videos of:
- damage to your car and other vehicles
- the position of your car and other vehicles
- nearby signs indicating location
- nearby traffic signs or traffic signals
Police reports function as one piece of evidence, but they don’t tell the whole story. Police were not witnesses to the incident, and instead will record what they believe happened. In addition to the photos and videos we’ve mentioned above, you should also take the phone numbers of anyone who is willing to provide a witness statement.
Neglecting Follow-Up Care
As we mentioned earlier, there will come a point when you need to prove that you’re doing what you can to recover. If the defense team has reason to believe that you’ve allowed your condition to worsen to increase damages, they can use this information against you.
Do as your doctor recommends. Seek follow-up care on a regular basis, seeing specialists as needed. Remember, you can include both past and future medical bills in your demand for compensation.
Posting on Social Media
These days, we’re used to documenting all aspects of our lives on social media. When you’re getting ready to file a lawsuit or your lawsuit is in progress, it’s time to put a pause on your social media posts.
The most important thing is to avoid posting about the accident. Don’t talk about:
- what your lawyer says
- when you’re going to officially file
- the evidence you’re submitting
- the amount of compensation you’re looking to receive
If it has any bearing on your case, don’t post about it. You should also avoid posting any specifics about your injury or anything that indicates that your injury isn’t serious. The safest bet is to avoid posting about your own life until your lawsuit is settled.
Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit Without a Lawyer
To you, the facts of your case are simple. A truck driver made a negligent error which caused the accident you were involved in. Now, you’re dealing with injuries as well as financial strain caused by medical bills, lost income, property damage, and more.
When the facts are this cut and dry, do you really need a truck accident attorney? The reality is that when you get insurance companies involved, the facts won’t seem so cut and dry anymore. Not only will you need to navigate personal injury laws but you’ll also have to go up against a defense attorney hired by the insurance company.
An insurance company defense attorney only has one goal: to reduce your settlement. The only way to even the playing field is to present an airtight case with the help of your own attorney. Talk to this truck accident attorney to find out more about how attorneys can improve your odds of getting the maximum settlement.
Not Knowing the Lawsuit Filing Deadline
When you’re dealing with serious injuries, all you want to do is focus on your recovery. Can you wait until your body has healed before filing your truck accident claim? The short answer is that it’s not your best choice.
Many people don’t realize that there is a lawsuit filing deadline (the statute of limitations). Each state has its own deadlines for accident claims and other types of personal injury claims. For example, you have three years in California but only two in Delaware.
When does the clock start ticking? Consider the day that the accident occurred the start of your timeline. You must file your claim before that deadline or your case will not get legal recognition.
Talking to Insurance Companies Alone
We’ve already discussed the mistake of not hiring a lawyer. Now let’s talk about one of the biggest reasons why you need a lawyer on your team: communication with the defense.
When you’re filing a truck accident lawsuit, the defendant is the at-fault driver’s insurance company, not the driver. When you’re exchanging information about the case, you’ll be dealing with the defense attorney and claims adjuster, two people who do not have your best interest at heart.
Never respond to the defense, either verbally or via written communication, without your attorney present. Don’t send any documents to the defense without your attorney’s guidance. You don’t want to unintentionally hand over information or statements that could hurt your case.
Taking the First Offer
Once your lawsuit is in motion, the defense is bound to make an early offer. This offer will be much lower than what you’re requesting in damages. The defense knows that you’re in need of financial support, and they’re hoping to take advantage of your situation.
Once you’ve accepted a settlement, you can’t continue to fight for more money. Never accept an offer without discussing it with your attorney. Very rarely will an attorney suggest that you should take the first offer.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there will come a time when you’re getting the best offer that you’re likely to receive. It may be lower than what you’ve asked for, which can lead you to want to fight for more. Your attorney will do your bidding, but will also make recommendations about when it’s time to say yes to an offer if they believe the insurance company won’t budge any further.
Don’t Make These Mistakes With Truck Accident Lawsuits
If you were injured in an accident involving a truck, it’s time to consider filing a lawsuit. Contact a truck accident lawyer to find out if you have a strong case and to avoid these mistakes with truck accident lawsuits. Having an experienced lawyer in your corner can make a big difference in your ability to build a compelling case and fight for the compensation you deserve.
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