What to Do Following a Trucking Accident
A passenger vehicle is no match for an 80,000-pound tractor trailer. Each year, thousands of people are injured, maimed or lose a loved one in a trucking accident.
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, in 2011, there were 23,000 associated injuries and 635 deaths from accidents with big trucks, including 18 wheelers, semis, and tractor trailers. Big truck accidents account for about 1/8 of the total traffic accidents in the U.S., with the number expected to grow as the industry grows.
If you’re one of those people, and have either been injured or lost a loved one due to someone else’s mistake, you should know you have rights. But in the immediate aftermath of an accident, it’s easy to be angry, confused and unsure of what to do.
That’s where the experienced trucking accident attorneys at Ward Black Law in Greensboro, N.C., can help.
We can help you take the next steps in whether you need to pursue litigation or just need assistance receiving the proper compensation from your own insurance company. Our trucking accident attorneys have years of experience representing clients and victims of trucking accidents in Greensboro and throughout the state of North Carolina.
Why Do Trucking Accidents Happen?
Tractor trailers are exceptionally bulky. Even in the best of circumstances, they’re hard to maneuver, have large blind spots and have trouble stopping quickly. Add driver fatigue, drugs or alcohol, bad weather or driver negligence to the mix and the likelihood of a trucking accident increases exponentially. Faulty or ill-maintained equipment can also cause an accident.
Many times, a driver rushing to complete his route on time is responsible. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets rules about the number of hours a driver may safely operate a tractor trailer. Sometimes companies require a driver to complete an unreasonable amount of miles within the legally allotted hours. This can result in speeding or driver fatigue.
What Should You Do Next?
There are several things an injured person should do or not do in the days and weeks following a trucking accident.
First, until you’ve spoken with a lawyer, be careful speaking to anyone from the trucking company or their insurance company. This includes giving authorization for medical records, making a statement about the accident or agreeing to settle out of court. The insurance company’s sole aim is to minimize the financial liability of the trucking company – and they are not on your side.
Second, be careful in speaking with your own insurance agency. Oftentimes you may receive benefits from your own policy, but adjusters want to pay out only the very minimum – that may be far below what you are legally entitled to receive. If they ask for a recorded statement, it’s often best to have an attorney present.
Third, make no admission of guilt. In the moments after a trucking accident, it’s easy to be disoriented and confused about the actual events surrounding the crash. When speaking to the authorities, try to remain calm and give only the most relevant information. Preserve evidence, take your own photos if you can of your injuries and the damage to your car and the truck. Be sure to obtain all important information from the driver of the truck including name, driver’s license number, and insurance information. Note the license plate number and VIN as well.
And finally, make sure you have adequate representation if you decide to move forward with making a claim for your injuries. Remember that you’re going up against a major corporation and its insurance company. A thorough investigation by a skilled attorney can help you make your case and fight for your rights.
Need More Information About Trucking Accident Attorneys or Your Case?
The expert trucking accident attorneys at Ward Black Law in Greensboro, N.C., offer free case reviews. We can help you decide if a settlement offer is in your best interest. If necessary, we’ll work to hold the responsible parties accountable and help you have your day in court. Contact us today for more information. Call us at 336-333-2244, or toll-free at 1-877-256-1214. You may also reach Ward Black Law by email or online inquiry.