Car crashes are scary enough, but getting into an accident with a semi-truck, 18-wheeler or tractor-trailer can be life-changing. Right after an accident happens, it can be hard to think straight enough to know what to do next.
For this reason—and the fact that truck accidents can be incredibly complicated to navigate—you should consider hiring an experienced Knoxville,Tennessee truck accident lawyer to help you through your case.
In the meantime, here’s a step-by-step guide for what you should do after a truck accident to ensure you protect yourself and your right to compensation.
1. Contact the police and seek medical care
If you or anyone else involved in the accident sustained serious or fatal injuries, you’ll want to get an ambulance to the scene before you do anything else. Even if no one has any apparent major injuries, it’s still a good idea to visit the ER and then follow up with your doctor—that way you’ll have all the necessary documentation should you need to pursue compensation for medical bills later.
The police will also need to arrive to fill out a formal accident report before anyone leaves. Make sure to get a copy of the accident report for your own records.
2. Collect information and evidence
If you (or someone you were in the car with) are physically able to, take pictures and/or video of the truck accident scene, along with any details of damages, with your phone. This evidence will help you support your injury claim and can help get you more compensation.
You’ll also want to write down any information you can gather about the trucking company and the driver —things like the name of the company that owns the truck and any possible causes of the accident (i.e. the driver seems overly tired or intoxicated).
3. Write down witness names and statements
If anyone witnessed the accident and stayed on the scene, ask them to give you a verbal or written statement of what they saw. Also, ask for their name and contact information. Witness statements can be a vital part of proving fault in a truck accident.
4. Notify your insurance company about the truck accident
Call your car insurance company to let them know what happened as soon as possible. They can get your claim started so the process of assessing damages and covering medical treatment goes quicker.
5. Don’t speak to the trucking company or truck driver’s insurance company
You should never speak to or settle with the other driver’s insurance company until you’ve first spoken with an experienced truck accident attorney. They are looking for a way out of paying for your damages, so you don’t want to accidentally give them any information that may help them do that.
6. Talk to an experienced truck accident lawyer
Trucking companies deal with accidents a lot, which means they often are well-practiced in avoiding liability. For example, they have been known to destroy evidence that points to their truck or driver being at fault in order to save money.
The other important reason to talk with or hire an experienced truck accident lawyer is that trucking accidents don’t often involve just 2 parties like a car accident. There’s usually at least you, the truck driver and the trucking company, but often there are other parties like the freight owner and vehicle manufacturer who may be partially at fault.
Truck accidents get complicated quickly and they’re difficult to navigate without professional help. You need to make sure you don’t walk away empty-handed, so talk with a trusted lawyer near you right away about your case.
About Chris Gilreath
Chris is a member of Gilreath & Associates, one of the leading plaintiff-exclusive firms in Tennessee. Chris handles serious personal injury cases in the Mid-South and beyond. From the start of his career, Chris has been committed to supporting the civil justice system and has taken a leadership role in that effort. He serves on the Board of Governors for the Tennessee Association for Justice, as well as the American Association for Justice. Visit our website today.