What To Do in the Case of a Truck Accident When You’re Not At Fault
Car accidents are frightening enough but when the other vehicle involved is a large truck, you may not know how important gathering information at the scene of the accident can be to a future claim. There are some common sense steps you should take after any kind of an accident including:
- Police report – make sure you contact law enforcement to the scene of a truck accident. Regardless of how minor the accident may seem, it is imperative to have the accident documented by law enforcement. Do not volunteer any information that could be used later to incriminate you as potentially responsible for the accident in any way.
- Take copious notes – any information you can gather at the scene will help you later. Make sure you get the operator’s contact information including their driver’s license number and the company they work for. Any witnesses to the accident and their contact information should also be obtained. While it is still fresh in your mind, the circumstances surrounding the accident should be recorded as well.
- Photos matter – take as many photographs of the scene as possible including the damage to the vehicles involved, signage in the area, skid marks on the roadway and anything else you think may be of any use. Pay particular attention to the area to determine if there may be surveillance cameras which may be found at intersections, on storefronts or even at ATM machines.
- See a physician – make sure you contact a doctor or you see an emergency room physician. Let them know you were involved in an accident with a truck. A thorough review of your condition should be documented thoroughly after the accident; keep in mind, just because you do not have symptoms immediately does not mean you have avoided an injury.
After Leaving the Scene and Seeing a Doctor
Once you have seen a physician and determined you are well enough to go home, there are still some things you should do after a truck accident. Some of these include:
- Notify your insurance company – when you speak with your insurance company, make sure you do not make any statements that might lead them to believe you were at any fault for the accident. The best rule of thumb when dealing with an insurer is to give them the particulars of the accident such as when and where it occurred and what damages your vehicle suffered in the accident.
- Obtain the police report – generally when the police are investigating an accident on an Arizona roadway, they will have secured information you may not have. Some of the information you may be able to find in a police report includes witness names and contact information, the driver’s license number of the truck driver as well as the company they work for, a sketch of the scene of the accident, what the roadway conditions are and whether or not the truck driver was cited after the accident.
- Return to the scene – it is generally a good idea to return to the scene of a truck accident to see if there were any road sign or other physical changes, to get photographs of skid marks if you did not get them earlier and to measure skid marks if possible. If you are not well enough to go on your own, you should ask someone to do so on your behalf.
- Be careful making statements – one of the most common mistakes those who are injured after a truck accident make is taking calls from their insurance company, the driver’s insurance company or the driver’s employer. You might answer an innocent question like “how are you feeling” and your answer could be used against you in a later personal injury suit. If you are asked how you are feeling, avoid answering and simply stick to the facts. Do not elaborate on any details and do not offer any information that is not requested. This is particularly true when you are contacted by an insurance company. Read about some of the tricks insurance companies commonly do to victims to lower their liability.
- Follow up with a doctor – if you develop any signs of pain, bruising or bleeding after a truck accident, follow up with your doctor. It is important to document any changes in your physical condition after an accident. Headaches, unexplained earaches and other aches and pains that may be associated with a truck accident should be documented by a doctor.
- Contact a truck accident attorney – you may have to deal with multiple telephone calls and communications from your insurance company as well as the other driver’s insurance company. Make sure you keep a careful record of all communications including those done by telephone making note of what you tell them and what questions you were asked. The reason you need to speak with an Arizona truck accident lawyer is simple: Insurance companies are liable to try to get you to settle your claim quickly. This can be done in a number of ways including mailing you a written settlement offer, offering a settlement by phone or sending you a check. Never sign any documents related to an accident without consulting with an attorney to ensure you are not giving up any of your rights. In a time like this a lawyer can be your best friend in court.
Understanding Arizona Truck Accident Injury Claim Rules
Arizona is an “at fault” state which means typically the insurance company of the at-fault driver is responsible for compensating victims. However, Arizona personal injury statutes have a clause known as “comparative negligence” which means the insurance company is likely to try to prove that you had some part in the accident which would result in a lower settlement to you for your injuries and the damage to your vehicle. Only by consulting with a truck accident attorney can you help ensure that your financial losses after a truck accident are fully compensated.
Most of us expect that if we are not at fault for an accident that the insurance companies will pay for the damage to our vehicles, wages that are lost due to being unable to work and for medical treatment including doctor’s bills, medication, tests and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, this is not always the case which is why it is always a good idea to speak with a truck accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident. An attorney can help ensure your rights are protected and you are not victimized a second time by an insurer.