The aftermath of a Texas truck accident can be confusing and overwhelming. Even worse, these accidents are extremely common throughout the state, so knowing how to handle this situation is imperative.
Making a mistake or misstep in the minutes, hours, or even weeks after a truck accident can impact your ability to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. While each accident is unique, there are some steps you can take to protect your rights and ability to recover compensation.
Remember, truck accident cases are likely to have serious and life-changing injuries. Because of this, you need to seek help from our legal team as early in the process as possible.
If you have questions or need assistance, contact The Burkett Law Firm. Our experienced Texas truck accident attorneys can provide the advice and guidance you need in the aftermath of an accident.
Steps to Take Immediately After a Texas Truck Accident
Ensure Everyone Is Safe
Immediately after a truck accident, take a self-inventory. Do you feel injured? Your health and well-being are a priority.
If you are good (for the most part, at least), check on your passengers. You should also check on anyone involved in the accident, including the truck driver.
Only move an injured person if their safety is at risk. Otherwise, leave them where they are to avoid more serious injuries.
Contact the Police
After an accident with a commercial truck, witnesses may contact the police and emergency services on your behalf. However, you can do this yourself, too.
When you speak to the police, do not make statements that may be misconstrued. The attorneys for the trucking company could take your statement or words out of context and try to blame you partially or fully for the accident. This aims to reduce or eliminate their liability, so they do not have to pay compensation.
With this in mind, there are a few key statements to avoid at all costs, including the following:
- It all happened so fast.
- I am sorry for…
- I do not think…(stay away from opinions completely)
- I did not see the truck.
Stick to the facts. If you are not sure about something, do not mention it. Never speculate, and be very clear and concise with your statements. Refrain from elaborating on your answers. It is best to keep things quick and to the point.
Gather Evidence from the Scene
While at the accident scene, take photos with your phone. If you cannot do this, ask someone at the scene to do it for you. There is no such thing as too many pictures in these situations.
You can also record a video and include the details you remember about what happened. If witnesses are at the statement, ask them if you can record their account of what happened.
Some other evidence to collect at the scene of your truck accident includes the following:
- License plate numbers
- Picture of the other party’s driver’s license (if possible)
- Company or business markings on the truck
This information is essential if you plan to file a personal injury claim for your injuries and losses in the accident.
Collect Contact Information from Witnesses
You can use your smartphone to do this. You can ask witnesses to the accidents to text you their contact information.
You can also use your voice recording feature to get witnesses’ statements while the event is still fresh in their minds.
Regardless of what you do, collect contact information from as many witnesses as possible.
Seek Medical Treatment
After an accident occurs, you may feel fine. While this is not as likely in truck accidents, it is not impossible.
Unfortunately, you may have hidden or delayed injuries that need treating.
One reason you feel okay in the aftermath of a truck accident is that your body’s “fight or flight” response activates in high-stress situations (like an accident). When this happens, adrenaline is pumped through your body, masking pain.
If you seek medical treatment immediately, a doctor can find hidden injuries and ensure they are treated.
You may also have delayed injuries. Some TBIs (traumatic brain injuries), internal injuries, and even whiplash can show symptoms for hours, days, or even weeks. If you wait for medical treatment, the injury may worsen and become life-threatening. A doctor can run the necessary tests to find any injuries and ensure they are treated immediately.
Besides your health and well-being, there is another reason to seek medical treatment immediately after an accident. When you do this, you have documentation showing the extent of your injuries and connecting them to the accident.
It is important to remember that if you do not seek medical treatment after a truck accident, the insurance company for the at-fault party may claim you were not injured in the accident or that the injuries are not as serious as you claim. This may result in your compensation being reduced or eliminated.
Steps to Take in the Days After a Texas Truck Accident
Request a Copy of the Accident Report
When the police come to the accident scene, they will create an official report. The report will be crucial evidence in your personal injury lawsuit.
The report will include what the police observed at the scene, information from witnesses and if any citations were issued to drivers.
Avoid Posting About the Accident on Social Media
Social media is a great tool for connecting with friends and family. If people who care about you hear about your accident, they will likely want to know what happened and if you are okay.
While social media may seem like a great way to let everyone know what is going on, anything you post becomes public. Even seemingly innocent information can be used against you if you file a compensation claim. Because of this, it is best to avoid posting on social media while your case is active.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
At The Burkett Law Firm, we recommend contacting us as soon as you can after an accident. The longer we have to collect evidence and work on your case, the more likely we will be to help you achieve a favorable outcome.
Also, as time passes, evidence can be damaged or lost. By contacting us immediately, we can work to preserve important evidence to help prove your case.
Save All Accident-Related Documents
You must save all official documents, receipts, statements, and other paperwork associated with the accident. This information is valuable evidence when seeking compensation for your accident.
Contact Your Auto Insurance Company
Call your auto insurance company to let them know you were involved in an accident with a commercial truck driver.
It is best to keep the conversation brief and stick to the facts. Being cautious is necessary after an auto accident, as insurance companies will always look for ways to reduce the compensation you are entitled to – even your own.
Follow Your Doctor’s Advice and Treatment Plan
When you go to the doctor, they will provide a treatment plan for your injuries. You must complete this treatment plan. It could harm your health and your ability to recover compensation if you do not.
The insurance may claim you did not complete the treatment plan, so you were not dedicated to recovering, or your injuries were not severe enough to merit compensation.
Do Not Speak to the Insurance Adjuster from the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company
The at-fault party’s insurance company may try to contact you. Sometimes they will try to gather information; in other cases, they want to make a settlement offer.
It is best to request that they send the offer to your attorney or speak to your attorney about all legal matters. Anything you say to the insurance company can be used to reduce or deny your claim.
If the company does make a settlement offer, be sure to discuss it with your attorney. They can tell you if it is a fair offer for the injuries and losses you sustained in the accident.
How Long Will It Take to Settle Your Texas Truck Accident Claim?
When you contact our legal team at The Burkett Law Firm, we will examine the facts of your case. While we will work to resolve your case quickly, we will never do so by compromising and settling for less than what you deserve.
It is important to realize several factors can impact how quickly your personal injury claim is settled. These include the following:
Your attorney and the insurance company for the at-fault party will want time to investigate what happened and all the related evidence.
This can increase how long it takes to settle your claim.
While true, a thorough investigation can be beneficial when searching for evidence. It may lead to information being found that was not immediately apparent. Your attorney’s investigation may also help to improve the likelihood of your claim’s success.
Multiple Insurance Companies Involved
Truck companies often have several insurance policies and companies, unlike other drivers on the road. This can affect what is awarded in your accident claim and how long it takes to settle.
For example, one insurance policy would cover the truck, while another covers the trailer. Your attorney needs to look at all the policies to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Trucking and insurance companies have almost endless resources for legal claims. They can use these to help stall the process and avoid settling or going to trial.
The insurance company attorneys will try to reduce the damages they owe you. Your attorney should counter these arguments, an important part of negotiations. While this is true, it can also increase the time it takes your case to settle.
The type and nature of the injuries you sustained can impact how long it takes to settle your truck accident claim.
Some cases are more complicated than others. Truck accidents are more likely to cause severe injuries, extensive pain and suffering, and the need for ongoing treatment and rehabilitation. All this can extend the timeline of your personal injury claim because your attorney may not want to settle until they know the full extent of your injuries and how they will impact you for the rest of your life.
Let Our Legal Team Help with Your Texas Truck Accident Case
If you are involved in a Texas truck accident, it is common to feel confused and overwhelmed. At The Burkett Law Firm, our attorneys can get to work to help gather evidence and prove that another party’s negligence led to your injuries and losses. However, we can only help with your case if you call our office to schedule an initial consultation.
Truck accidents can lead to devastating and life-changing injuries. They can also cause fatalities. We can help you file a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. We can also determine liability in your truck accident case, which is often more confusing and complex than in traditional car accidents.
Let us help you recover the compensation you deserve. When negotiating with the insurance company, we will consider all your injuries and losses. Our legal team will aggressively fight for your rights.