After a truck accident, medical expenses, repair costs, and lost wages can add up quickly. Amidst all that, you will likely have many questions. You may be wondering if your truck accident injuries are serious, if you should report your accident, and if you should talk to the at-fault party’s insurance company. Knowing the answers to these important questions and understanding the steps to take after a truck accident can help you when you seek compensation.
If you have been in an Oregon truck accident, don’t hesitate to contact D’Amore Law Group today.
Steps to Take at the Accident Scene
The first step to take after a truck accident is to call the police. When you call 911, the police and first responders will arrive at the accident scene. After the police arrive, tell them what you recall about the moments leading up to the collision. However, be sure to stick to the facts and do not accept blame or apologize for the accident.
Next, if you are able, take pictures of the accident scene, including damage to your vehicle and other personal property, skid marks on the road, and the truck involved in the accident. Also, document cuts, burns, and other injuries you suffered because of the crash. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses and ask the police to obtain their accounts of the incident, either via written statement or video testimonial.
Then, seek immediate medical attention to evaluate the extent of your injuries. Some injuries do not become apparent until hours, days, or even weeks after an accident. Getting a thorough evaluation can help a doctor detect these types of injuries before your symptoms worsen.
If you refuse medical attention, it could be used against you when you seek compensation. It can be much more difficult to prove an injury was related to your truck accident later on if you do not seek immediate medical attention.
If you believe the truck accident resulted in injuries, death, or property damage of more than $2,500, you must report the accident. Law enforcement may have already done this for you. If not, you should report the incident to the Oregon Department of Transportation.
The police report will document many details of your collision, including:
- The names of the parties involved;
- The time, date, and location of the crash;
- Whether anyone was issued a traffic citation or charged with a crime; and
- Diagrams of the accident scene and the vehicle damage.
You should also make sure the police report is accurate because it will be a key piece of evidence in your case.
Steps to Take Following the Accident
Calling your car insurance company is the first thing you should do after you have spoken with the police and first responders and received medical treatment. This will help you get your claim started as soon as possible so that you can get back on the road more quickly.
In the days and weeks following your accident, you will be in close contact with either the trucking company’s insurance provider or your own provider. It might be helpful to reach out to a truck accident attorney to determine which insurance company is the proper one to file a claim with. You do not want to skip this step, as it can affect the outcome of your case.
When speaking with any insurance company, be careful about what you say. Refrain from apologizing for the accident or accepting any fault, even if you think you might have been partially responsible. While the person you speak to might seem friendly, they are ultimately working in the interest of their company. Their job is to make sure the insurance company pays you as little as possible. If the other party’s insurance company calls you, remember that you are not required to speak to them, and you should not. Instead, you should direct them to speak with your insurer or your attorney.
Steps to Take During the Claims Process
During the claims process, your attorney, insurer, or both will collect truck accident evidence to support your claim. The goal is to find evidence that shows your accident was caused by the negligence of the truck driver, trucking company, or another party. Proving that the other party was negligent is key to your case. While you can obtain some of these pieces of evidence yourself—think photos and a copy of the police report—obtaining other types of evidence or documents will likely require the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney.
Truck accident documentation might include truck inspection reports, the truck driver’s qualifications and driving records, dispatch instructions, weigh station and loading dock reports, and driving logs.
In most cases involving a fatality or physical injury, federal regulations require that a commercial truck driver undergo a drug and alcohol test to check for possible impairment. Using illegal substances or excessive prescription medications may result in driver fatigue and reduce concentration and driver reaction time. Proving the driver used illegal substances is one way to prove negligence on their part.
Federal law requires commercial truck drivers to follow hours of service regulations that stipulate how long they are allowed to drive and when they must take breaks. Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) automatically record and transmit this information to the carrier, providing more precise reporting on whether a truck driver is adhering to these hours of service regulations. Suppose you are in a truck accident because a driver violated these regulations and was fatigued or exhausted. In that case, these logs could provide evidence of that fact, which helps show the driver was negligent.
An experienced truck accident attorney will review all the evidence and work with experts and investigators to help determine the best course of action for your case.
You Do Not Have to Take These Steps Alone
After you have been in a truck accident, your primary focus should be healing. You should not have to stress about what to do after an Oregon truck accident or wonder if you are making the right decisions. The attorneys at D’Amore Law Group know that you deserve the very best legal representation after being in a truck accident. Our team has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients, and we can fight for the compensation you need to get your life back on track. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.