7 steps to take after a truck wreck
Truck accidents happen far too often in the Macon area and throughout the state of Georgia. They can be caused by many different reasons, ranging from tire blowouts to driver error. One thing that all truck wrecks have in common though is that they leave a trail of destruction in their path. Even an accident involving a truck traveling at a low rate of speed can be deadly in the wrong situation.
After a collision, injured parties can be shocked and confused about what to do next, especially at the accident scene. Deciding on the correct course of action can be challenging, which is why we recommend that truck accident victims contact an experienced Georgia truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to get advice and instruction.
But first, here are a few other actions you should take now to help solidify your accident claim following a truck accident.
Step #1: Call 911
Though it’s legal in Georgia to not call police and merely exchange insurance information in any accident that doesn’t result in an injury, this is rarely the situation in a truck accident. Of course, when truck accidents produce damage and injuries (as they usually do), this is the first obvious step. Witnesses should call authorities as well, as serious truck accidents can create hazards beyond the damage of impact.
It is very important to call 911 immediately, even when there are no apparent injuries, because the accident report will contain vital information in your truck accident claim.
Truck drivers and shipping companies might be based in another state, but any compensation claims will be handled in Georgia if that’s where the crash happened. Having no official accident report can make a case difficult in the long run and impact the value of your claim if injuries manifest later and worsen.
Step #2: Inspect other vehicles for injured passengers
Individuals who are able to move after a truck accident should try to help other involved parties if they are trapped in their vehicles, when it is safe to do so. The immediate aftermath of a truck accident can be chaotic and you shouldn’t put yourself and others in additional danger, but those who aren’t seriously injured can be of lifesaving assistance.
In truck accidents, it’s common for the truck driver to be shaken up but unharmed for the most part. If this is the case, they should immediately assist people in the other vehicle or vehicles involved.
Step #3: Document the accident
Cell phones are an excellent tool when accidents happen — not just to call for help, but also to document the evidence at the accident scene. Most phones are equipped with a camera that can be used to take photos of the accident scene. Always remember that these are personal property and should only be shared with authorities when it can help your case. The responding police officer should also take photos of the wreck to include with their accident report, but having your own pictures of skid marks and other distinguishing items can be invaluable evidence.
Step #4: File a police report
When speaking to officers during the investigation, answer their questions honestly and succinctly; do not embellish. All Georgia truck accident cases will be focused on comparative fault, and you better believe that the trucking companies or their insurer will try to deflect as much fault away from their driver as possible to reduce or avoid claim values.
Step #5: Seek medical attention
Truck accidents almost always result in a serious injury to one or more people, and some accident victims will be immobile and need immediate emergency medical attention. Never refuse treatment from emergency technicians (EMTs), and comply with requests to transport you to a hospital whenever suggested.
Some injuries can worsen much later once your adrenaline has run out, and often there are unnoticed internal injuries that could develop into life-threatening situations. It’s vital that you seek medical attention after a truck accident, even when you don’t need emergency care.
Step #6: Notify your insurance company
You’ll also want to notify your auto insurance company about the accident as soon as possible so that they are put “on hold” and can begin processing your claim to pay for medical treatment and property damage. If you wait too long to tell your insurance company, they might try to use this delay as grounds to deny your claim.
Simply tell the insurance adjuster what happened and stick to the facts of the accident. Avoid giving a recorded statement or sharing details until you have access to the police report and you’ve spoken with a truck accident lawyer who can advise you on what to say.
Step #7: Contact a Georgia truck accident attorney
Timing is a critical factor in any truck accident case because evidence fades fast. In addition, truck insurance companies are quick to dispatch an investigative team to the scene of the accident in hopes of influencing the investigating officer and accident reconstruction specialist.
The truck driver and the trucking company will have their own legal team protecting their legal rights, which is why you need solid representation as well when the finger pointing begins. Your attorney’s job will be to prove that the truck driver was at fault and calculate the amount of financial compensation you need to get fully reimbursed for your injuries and damages.
Georgia truck accident cases are defended vigorously.
Trucking companies and all insurance carriers understand that Georgia comparative negligence law could work in their favor when cases are adjudicated. When a two-vehicle truck accident case results in each driver being 50% at fault, both drivers can be denied a legal claim for their injuries and property damage. This possibility is why it is imperative that you have an aggressive attorney on your side when filing a claim after a truck accident. Trucking companies frequently use Georgia’s comparative negligence law to avoid or reduce injury claims.
Victims of a Macon, Georgia truck accident should always call the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson for comprehensive aggressive representation.