What to Do in an 18 Wheeler Accident
Getting hit in an 18 wheeler accident can cause serious damage to both your vehicle and your body and, in more severe cases, can result in wrongful death. Not to mention you will likely face greedy trucking companies who hire expensive attorneys to fight you and try to prevent you from recovering the compensation you deserve. We understand that being involved in an 18 wheeler accident can be incredibly stressful for both you and your family. You should not have to face these battles and these financial burdens on your own.
Who is liable in a truck accident?
How is “fault or liability” in an 18 Wheeler accident determined? Liability normally falls on the individual who caused the accident. Truckers have a special type of responsibility to those on the road. When it is the truck driver who caused the accident, liability is often shared between them and their employer or other third parties. Most, but not all, trucking companies carry Liability Insurance to help you recover for your injuries. However, many times the available insurance coverage is not enough to cover your injuries and damages, and therefore the Sears Crawford attorneys try to find other parties, assets or sources such as the employer, the truck or equipment manufacturer, or other third parties who may be responsible for part or all of your damages.
Common causes of 18 wheeler accidents include:
- Defective products like tires or other truck parts
- Intoxication or drug use
- Unqualified driver or poor driving experience
- Neglecting proper maintenance
- Improperly loading the trailer
- Improper training
Wondering what to do after an 18 wheeler accident? The aggressive 18 wheeler accident attorneys from Sears Crawford are here to take the stress off of you and walk you through the steps you should take following a semi-truck accident, so you can focus on your recovery.
What do you do after an 18 wheeler or commercial vehicle accident?
1. Immediately call 911 and move to safety
What should I do at the scene of a truck accident? After an 18 wheeler accident, your first concern should always be the health and safety of yourself and anyone in your own vehicle. Call 911 and have them send a police officer and an ambulance. Whether or not you think you sustained any bodily injuries, having an ambulance on-site can help to check for respiratory issues, head injuries, or internal damage as well as more obvious medical issues including surface wounds, broken bones, and whiplash.
Texas law requires that you move your car or truck out of the roadway to a safer place before exchanging any information so long as you are able to do so. Before moving the vehicles, try to snap a few pictures of the crash scene, the damage, and the vehicle’s positioning. These photos can serve as valuable evidence in a later court case.
2. Exchange information with the other driver
After you have called 911 and ensured that everyone who needed medical attention has received it, we encourage you to obtain license and insurance information from the other driver. This information includes:
- Basic contact details (name and number)
- Drivers license information
- Insurance information
- License plate number and registration
- Record and capture pictures/videos of the damage to your vehicle
- Get the name and phone number of any witnesses
If you were hit by an 18 wheeler, or other company or commercial vehicle, it can be beneficial to write down the truck driver’s place of employment, the driver’s name, and the manufacturer of the truck. Also, take any pictures of any signage or company names on the truck doors and tractor-trailer.
3. Gather essential evidence
This could include images of tire marks, broken guardrails, glass on the ground, videos from a dashcam — anything that could indicate how the accident happened. Be sure to keep a record of any medical bills and lost wage information caused by the accident.
If there are witnesses present, be sure to take down their contact information and, with their permission, record their perspective of the accident. This could serve as vital evidence in a case against the trucking company and/or its driver.
4. Avoid speaking to insurance representatives
Contact your lawyer before talking to the trucker’s insurance company and avoid making statements to any of their employees. Insurance adjusters and representatives of the trucking company NEVER have your best interests in mind and may try to use what you say as a way to compensate you for far less than what you are owed. An attorney from Sears Crawford will ensure that these conversations go smoothly.
5. Hire an 18 wheeler accident attorney
Something we’re often asked is, “Should I get a lawyer for a car accident?” If your car accident involves an 18 wheeler, we recommend hiring a Houston 18 wheeler accident lawyer. This is because major trucking companies have a reputation for pushing off accident reports, hoping that any evidence related to your accident will disappear. They typically have a strong legal team representing them, and without a personal injury lawyer, you run the risk of recovering less than you should for the damages you have suffered.
When hiring an 18 wheeler accident attorney, look for an attorney that is Board Certified in personal injury, has a proven track record handling these types of cases, and carries malpractice insurance.
Are you the victim of an 18 wheeler accident? Contact Sears Crawford today for top representation.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of an 18 wheeler accident on account of a truck driver’s negligence, don’t wait to hire a serious personal injury lawyer. Trucking companies often have an insurance carrier report to the scene of the accident, ready to defend the trucker’s best interests, not yours — the victim. At Sears Crawford, we are here to fight for you like you are our own family.
Ross Sears, the co-founder of Sears Crawford, is a Texas Super Lawyer who is Board Certified in Personal Injury Law with over 30 years of experience fighting for all types of personal injury cases including 18 wheeler accidents. When you’re navigating through the stress and difficulties that come after a trucking accident, you need Ross Sears on your side, fighting for the justice you deserve.
To schedule a FREE initial consultation, contact us online or call at 713-223-3333 today.
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