What To Do After A Truck Accident
There were 107,000 truck crashes resulting in injury in 2020, and 4,842 fatalities according to the National Safety Council. With Maryland’s proximity to the busy Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and the Capital Beltway, it’s no surprise that many tractor-trailer wrecks happen often.
Being involved in a truck accident is a terrifying ordeal, but following these specific steps will ensure your health and legal rights will be protected. Remember — your health and safety take priority, and you should always consult with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as you can.
When an 80,000-pound truck slams into your car, it can be horrifying. The first step is to take a breath and stay calm. It will be difficult, but try to keep a level head in the immediate aftermath of the accident. Do not admit fault, and do not comment on how you are feeling — you could be in shock. Ultimately, the most important thing to do is not to risk your safety or the safety of your passengers.
Always call 911 after a truck crash. There is a high chance that someone is injured, even if they don’t immediately recognize it. The ambulance crew will check everyone and render the appropriate care. Having the police at the scene also ensures that all the evidence will be preserved. The police will fill out an accident report that could note who was liable, which will be important later if you choose to seek compensation for the incident.
See A Doctor
Even if you believe you are uninjured, always seek medical treatment after a truck accident. You might not feel any injuries for the first hours or days after the crash. Many injuries take time to manifest, so the sooner you go to the doctor, the better it will be for your long-term health.
Also, the doctor will document your injuries and state if they were caused by a motor vehicle accident. This information from a medical expert will be vital to filing a personal injury claim. The opinion of a medical professional carries significant weight in a personal injury lawsuit.
Document Crash Evidence
Maryland has a contributory negligence law. That means you could not receive compensation in a lawsuit if you were even 1% at fault for the truck accident. Consequently, it’s critical for your case to have convincing evidence that another party was solely responsible for the accident.
Take photos of your injuries, the damaged vehicles, the accident scene, skid marks, witness statements, and anything else you notice that might be relevant to the accident. You also can ask eyewitnesses if they have photographic or video evidence of the accident.
Talk To Witnesses
If you aren’t severely injured, check the scene for eyewitnesses to the accident. Ask for their contact information and their version of the accident events. Also, direct the police to the witnesses you spoke to. Having law enforcement write down witness contact information will bolster a legal claim later.
Find Out Where the Driver Works
Trucking companies are liable if their employees get into accidents. This is known as vicarious liability. If you show that the company directly employs the trucker, they may be responsible for your injuries and other losses. However, if the trucker is an independent contractor, you may only be able to file a claim against the driver. Your accident attorney can help determine whether the trucker is a full-time employee or a contractor.
Be Careful What You Say
A big reason to be calm after the accident is this: What you say matters. A lot. First, it never helps to get angry or combative with the driver. Second, never admit blame for the accident or apologize. If someone hears you say you were at fault, this could cause problems for your claim at a later date.
Talk To A Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyer
After a tractor-trailer accident, the driver must report the crash to their company and take tests for drugs and alcohol. Truckers who fail to report the collision or do not take substance abuse tests can have their commercial driver’s license revoked.
After the driver informs the employer, their insurance company will come to the scene and begin to build the best defense possible. Even if the trucker caused the accident, insurance companies will usually try to avoid the blame. They also may contact you directly to try to convince you to take a small settlement before you contact a lawyer.
You should never give a statement to the truck company’s insurance provider. Instead, if they call you, simply say you are hiring a Baltimore personal injury attorney. The attorney can deal with any communication with the insurance company after that.
Contact a Baltimore Truck Crash Attorney Now
After a truck crash in Maryland, you may be shaken, frightened, and unsure of what to do. An experienced truck accident attorney can calm that uncertainty and fight for your rights. Call Pinder Plotkin today for a complimentary consultation on your truck accident claim.