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7 Things You Must Do if You’re Injured in a Truck Accident

Posted in Truck Accidents on January 3, 2021

When a truck crashes into your car while you’re driving in Louisiana, the outcome is often predictable. With few exceptions, trucks cause extensive damage to smaller vehicles. Occupants often sustain serious or catastrophic injuries. Truckers frequently walk away with minor injuries or no injuries at all.

Small cars, SUVs, and even big pickup trucks have a disadvantage when they’re in a crash with a large truck. Large trucks have a 10,000 Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. A heavy large truck maxes out at up to 80,000 pounds GVWR when fully loaded. At 4,000 to 6,000 pounds, smaller vehicles can’t withstand a large truck’s forceful impact. All large trucks present a significant accident hazard. When a crash occurs, injuries are often inevitable.

You Can’t Avoid Large Trucks

Large trucks are everywhere. The tractor-trailer rigs you see on the highway aren’t the only heavy trucks on the road. Garbage trucks, dump trucks, and other heavy vehicles have the weight and mass that easily cause severe injuries.

Statistics from the American Trucker Association confirm that there are 3.6 million commercial truckers in the US. They deliver 72.5% of all freight throughout the country. They service construction sites, transport household furnishings, and perform services in residential neighborhoods. Since you can’t avoid trucks, you must understand what steps to take if a trucker injures you in an accident.

1. Never Admit Fault!

During moments of post-accident confusion, some people automatically apologize, or they say, “I’m sorry.” They admit fault, even when they didn’t cause the accident. These words are spontaneous. Often they simply reflect extreme courtesy and politeness. Regardless of the reason, your post-accident words often become part of a permanent record, and they can come back to haunt you.

Even if you later realize that your apology or admission of fault was a misstatement, you can’t take it back. The trucker, witnesses, and bystanders who hear you will ultimately tell someone else. Your words may become an entry on a police report or the focus of an insurance investigation. They may trigger a question in a future deposition. As your words were spontaneous, they will have the ring of truth. Ultimately, your own words may motivate the trucker’s insurance company to deny your liability claim.

2. Dial 911

The first moments after an accident are often confusing, especially if you or your passengers sustain injuries. Even if the trucker promises to take care of your damage, you should still contact the authorities to investigate your accident. The police officer accomplishes several things.

  • Creates a formal record of the accident
  • Documents road conditions, weather, traffic signals, and other critical details about the accident scene
  • Confirms the truck driver’s personal and employment information
  • Verifies that the driver has a valid commercial license
  • Confirms the vehicle registration and insurance information
  • Documents any witnesses
  • Arranges medical transport (If you tell the 911 operator you need immediate medical assistance, you won’t have to wait for the police to make the call.)

3. Conduct Your Own Accident Scene Investigation

While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, do what you can to document evidence. Accident scenes change quickly. By the time the authorities arrive, witnesses walk away and drivers move their vehicles. Sometimes the person who caused the accident simply drives away. You must document the important details if you can.

If you don’t feel well enough to leave your car, ask a bystander to help you gather information. Instead of writing everything down, use your phone camera to capture as many details as possible.

  • Trucker’s information: CDL license number, employer, transport company, insurance information, USDOT Registration, and other relevant details
  • Photos of both vehicles: Overall photo of each vehicle, points of impact, damage, license plates, company logo (tractor and trailer)
  • Photo of the accident scene, including intersections, traffic signal devices, skid marks, and debris in the road
  • Witness Information: Witnesses won’t always wait for authorities to arrive. When an officer arrives, they still might not talk to him, but they might talk to you.

4. Get Immediate Medical Care

When a large truck hits a smaller car, the occupants rarely escape injury. Even if you feel well enough to go home without seeking medical care, you should obtain a professional opinion. If you didn’t ask for an EMT when you called 911, the officer will call one for you. When you arrive at the emergency room, describe any symptoms you’re experiencing and let them decide what to do.

A large truck’s impact is dynamic enough to cause injuries you might not feel right away. Even if you have no visible cuts, abrasions, or fractures, a forceful crash jars your body in a way that sometimes causes musculoskeletal trauma, joint damage, and traumatic brain injuries.

5. Report Your Claim to Your Auto Insurer

Even if you believe that the other person is at fault, you must report a claim to your auto insurance carrier. There are several reasons for this.

  • The trucker’s insurer may ultimately decide not to pay you.
  • You may have a medical payments benefit on your policy.
  • Insurers usually want to investigate any accidents, so they can protect your legal interests.
  • If the trucker plans to make a liability claim against you, your insurer wants to conduct their own investigation. They need to know early on if they should pay the trucker or defend you against his claims.
  • If the other driver’s insurance is invalid or canceled, you must preserve your right to make an uninsured motorist claim.
  • Auto policies require an insured to report any incidents to which their policy might apply.

6. Keep a Record of Your Treatment and Recovery

As you begin healing, document your recovery in a journal or a simple notebook.

  • Photograph your injuries
  • Accumulate a record of your medical bills and insurance payments.
  • Track your symptoms: pain, discomfort, psychological trauma, and emotional distress.
  • Document your daily activities—write about the things you’re unable to do.
  • Talk about changes in your family and marital relationships.
  • Discuss your impairments and how they’re preventing you from working.

As you work your way through recovery, it’s often easy to forget your daily experiences. The information you document creates a record to support your liability claim.

7. Contact a Louisiana Personal Injury Attorney

Truck accidents are usually too complicated to handle on your own. You should consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Attorneys perform critical client services on your behalf while you focus on your treatment and recovery.

  • Provide a complimentary consultation
  • Discuss your case and talk about your legal rights
  • Investigate your accident while the evidence is still fresh
  • Intervene with insurance carriers on your behalf
  • Obtain medical reports
  • Evaluate your injuries
  • Present your claim and settlement demand
  • Negotiate or mediate your injury settlement
  • File a lawsuit and try your case when necessary

The Law Offices of John Redmann

If a truck injured you in a Louisiana accident, contact The Law Offices of John Redmann. We have offices in Gretna and Metairie, Louisiana. Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in damages for our injured clients. We invite you to tell us your story and let us determine if we can help you.

To schedule a complimentary legal consultation, call us at 504-500-5000.