If you have just been involved in a truck accident, you are trying to recover from a very traumatic experience. No matter the extent of your losses, you are grieving. This is an incredibly emotional time. You need to be able to heal and restore your life while also resolving the legal and financial repercussions of the accident. At The Pickett Law Firm, it is our mission to help you do both. It starts with knowing what to do after a truck accident.
What should you do after an accident with a truck?
It is important that you and your loved ones know what to do in the event of an accident. Here are the steps you should take in order to protect your well being now and in the future:
- Get Immediate Medical Help: Safety is your number one priority. Call 911 if you or someone else is injured.
- Contact the Police: Calling 911 will alert the police as well. You need law enforcement to come to the scene to document the accident. Cooperate with them and answer their questions, but only give them as much as they ask for and no more. Get a copy of the police report, review it afterwards, and report any mistakes you see.
- Take Pictures of the Scene and Your Injuries: The more pictures the better. Get pictures of the weather, vehicle placement, damage to vehicles, road sign placement, any injuries, etc. If you can’t, have someone else take them for you.
- Never Admit Fault: No matter how sorry you feel, do NOT say “I’m sorry” to the others involved in the accident. This could be used against you later as an admittance of fault. Instead, you might ask: “Can I call someone for you?” or “Can I do something for you?” If they ask for help, immediately relay their request to a first responder.
- Get Names and Contact Information from Eyewitnesses: Eyewitnesses may be crucial in proving fault in your case.
- Call an Attorney: Do NOT talk with the other driver’s insurance company or anyone else without your attorney. Do not give a recorded statement or release any medical records. All you have to say is that you would like to consult your attorney first and they have to respect your request. Also, avoid talking about the accident on social media or anywhere else.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney
There are many reasons you should seek legal help immediately after an accident of this nature:
- You could be entitled to much more compensation than a typical car accident. Remember that you are not just dealing with another driver; you are dealing with that driver’s employer and that employer’s insurance company. It is very likely that they have a much greater capacity than the average person to pay you the full amount of compensation that you deserve. Big companies equal bigger money, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be eager to part with it. You need to demand it; a personal injury attorney can help you do just that.
- You are one person up against a big company and its team of lawyers. Who do you think is likely to win out in a scenario like this? Sure, they may offer you a settlement, but is it the right one? Should they be offering you more? Or did they outright deny your claim? If you are to be treated fairly and with the respect that you deserve, you will need a legal professional on your side who can and will advocate for your needs and your rights. You need someone who will walk with you, hand in hand, until you have what you need to move forward to a better place.
- You don’t know how much your case is worth. This is perhaps the biggest reason you should hire a personal injury attorney after your accident with a commercial truck. You could attempt to represent yourself, but you most likely will not be able to calculate the full value of your case without the help of a licensed professional who has spent years training to evaluate cases and prepare an argument to achieve a desired outcome. After an accident of such magnitude as this, we would never recommend that you attempt to resolve it on your own.
What all can I be compensated for?
It is impossible to say exactly what your case is worth without speaking with you and conducting a full investigation. In general, there is much that you can be compensated for after an accident with a commercial truck, also called an 18-wheeler. You will need all the financial help you can get to offset the many bills you will accrue as a result of the accident. At The Pickett Law Firm, we can help you recover compensation for the following things:
- Medical costs, such as doctor visits, treatment, and prescription medications
- Hospital bills
- Lost wages from time off of work due to the injury and/or a change in job status or position
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Modifications required for your home and/or vehicle
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium (companionship) in the case of death
You may be entitled to all or some of these types of compensation depending on the particulars of your situation. We will not know how much money you are entitled to until we have fully investigated your case. This includes interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records, and speaking with your medical providers. Once the full extent of your injuries and damages has been determined, we will discuss settlement figures with you.
Who is responsible for the accident?
Oftentimes, the truck driver is somewhat to blame for the accident. Because they work long hours, they may have been sleep-deprived. Their vehicle may have had defective parts, or it may have been improperly maintained. There are many possible causes when it comes to truck accidents, and it is crucial that all causes are properly identified when fighting for compensation in a personal injury case.
However, the truck driver is not the only party who may be to blame. The trucking company, cargo loader, parts manufacturer, and/or maintenance provider may share some responsibility in the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you to identify all negligent parties and pursue just compensation.
The state of Washington is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that a person can still receive compensation even if he or she was partially at fault for the accident. A person’s compensation is reduced by his or her percentage of fault. In other words, if you are found to be 50 percent at fault for the accident, your total compensation award will be reduced by 50 percent. Therefore, even if you think you were partially to blame for the accident, you may still be eligible for a significant amount of money to help pay for your injuries and other damages. That is why you should always reach out to a personal injury attorney to discuss your situation and your options.
Call The Pickett Law Firm Today
Bill Pickett is a compassionate and competent lawyer. No matter your faith, we are committed to praying for our clients, in addition to our commitment to fight tirelessly in person, as well. We see compassion and faith as strong forces—just as strong as our understanding of the law and our ability to defend a case. We serve people throughout the state of Washington, as well as Oregon and Alaska. Call The Pickett Law Firm in Yakima, Washington, today so we can help you during this scary time.