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What to Do After Getting Into a Truck Accident

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According to statistics, the involvement rate of large trucks in accidents has increased by 22% in the last ten years. Truck accidents can also have serious consequences, resulting in severe injuries, loss of life, and emotional trauma.

If you’ve been in a collision with a truck, the damage is likely to be far worse than if you were in an accident with a passenger vehicle. Establishing liability in a truck accident can also be complicated.

Who’s to blame? The truck driver, the truck company, the loading company, or a parts manufacturer?

If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, it’s very important to follow the right steps so you can receive fair compensation.

Continue reading to find out what to do after a truck accident.

Notify the Police

The very first thing to do after a truck accident is to notify the police. Massachusetts law requires drivers to report any road accidents where:

  • Someone suffered injuries
  • Someone suffered death
  • There was more than $1,000 worth of damage to a vehicle or other property

Even if the accident seems minor and no one suffered any injuries, it’s still in your best interest to report it. Some injuries can take hours or days to manifest.

Just because you don’t have a visible injury doesn’t mean you haven’t been hurt. For instance, maybe the impact hurt your neck, and it will take a few hours for the swelling and inflammation to set in.

Also, keep in mind that your body is likely flooded with adrenaline after an accident. The shock and high levels of adrenaline can mask pain.

If you have been hurt, you deserve to be compensated.

The police report is a key piece of evidence in any accident case. A lot of insurance companies won’t even process a claim if you don’t file a police report.

The police report can also establish key details of the case. If law enforcement comes to the scene of the accident (which is most likely in the case of a truck accident), they will document everything from skid marks to vehicle positions and contributing factors.

If you’ve been in an accident with a truck, and neither you nor the truck driver reported it, there might still be time. Here in Massachusetts, you have five days in which to submit a crash report.

Gather Evidence and Contact Information

If you aren’t badly injured, you should also try to gather your own evidence at the scene of the accident. Write down any details you can think of, such as the time, weather conditions, etc.

Take photos of the position of your vehicle and that of the truck, as well as any damage your vehicle has sustained. If you’ve suffered visible injuries, take pictures of these as well.

If there are any witnesses, speak to them and gather their contact information.

Get Comprehensive Medical Treatment

If you’ve been in a truck accident, you should get a comprehensive medical assessment right away. As we outlined above, even if you don’t feel any pain, you could have suffered an accident injury that’s going to manifest symptoms over the next few hours, days, or even weeks.

The sooner things like TBIs, soft tissue injuries, or spinal injuries are identified, the better. Leaving something like a TBI undiagnosed can be dangerous and trigger long-term complications.

The medical treatment you receive is also an important area of evidence.

Don’t make the mistake of waiting for a car insurance settlement before getting treatment. The medical attention you receive creates a paper trail for your injuries. Without it, you might have a hard time proving your right to injury compensation.

If you delay medical treatment, the insurance company might try to use this as “evidence” that your injuries aren’t as bad as you claim.

Don’t Accept the First Settlement Offer

Because Massachusetts is a no-fault state, your own car insurance should cover your injuries and medical expenses.

However, Massachusetts also follows a “modified no-fault” system for property damage. Under this system, fault is a contributing factor in determining who pays for the damage.

If the truck driver is the at-fault party, then their liability insurance might cover the damage to your vehicle.

Whether you are dealing with your own car insurance company or that of the trucking company, you need to keep your wits about you.

Firstly, we’d advise against accepting the first offer, unless it seems highly adequate. More often than not, insurance companies will start off with a low-ball offer. If the victim accepts it, this benefits their bottom line.

If the victim rejects the offer, they can negotiate higher.

We’d also advise against having detailed telephone discussions with the insurance carriers. Some carriers aren’t above asking leading questions or even recording conversations to use as evidence to reduce your claim amount.

Speak to a Truck Accident Attorney

If you’ve been in an accident with a truck, it’s very important that you seek legal help. Truck accidents often leave life-altering consequences in their wake.

You might also need to deal with multiple insurance carriers. Liability may also be spread across various parties, including:

  • The truck driver
  • The logistics company
  • Parts manufactures
  • Loading companies

In other words, you might be up against entire teams of adjusters and attorneys. If you hire a lawyer, this will level the playing field and give you the best chance at fair compensation.

An experienced attorney will be able to negotiate on your behalf, gather evidence, and build a strong case. Sometimes, the simple act of hiring a lawyer indicates to insurance companies that they can’t walk over you.

Car accident attorneys have experience dealing with car insurance companies. They know how much compensation to hold out for. They’re also familiar with the complex state and federal laws that control the trucking industry.

Besides giving you the best chance at success, a car accident attorney can also reduce stress. Fighting with insurance carriers is the last thing you need to do after an accident. If you hire an attorney, they can handle all aspects of your case for you.

Have You Been in a Truck Accident in Massachusetts?

If you have been in a truck accident, the first thing to do is contact the police. Try to gather as much evidence as possible and seek prompt, comprehensive medical treatment.

Be wary of initial offers from your car insurance. If you’ve suffered injuries or damage to your car, you might need to hire a lawyer to help you fight for a fair settlement.

Here at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan, we specialize in truck accident cases. Our lawyers have a reputation for being relentless advocates with proven results.

Contact us today to arrange a free consultation.

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