Once you get home safely after a truck accident, there are several steps you will need to take to protect yourself. Trucks can cause insurmountable damage to your vehicle, passengers, and you. It is essential to stay vigilant and take the necessary precautions for a successful claim.
If you think you cannot help your claim, you can take and avoid many actions after a truck accident. Protect yourself financially, legally, and physically after an accident. Failure to defend yourself will lead to a claim denial from the insurance company.
After an accident, protect yourself from insurance adjusters and their tactics when you hire a lawyer. The lawyer will review your case and find the best legal action to secure compensation. You will have someone in your corner guiding you on what you should and should not do. When you get home after a truck accident, the first thing you should do is to call a local truck accident lawyer.
Watch what you say
After a truck accident, watch what you say. If you can avoid making any comments about the accident, you should. The insurance company will attempt to get you to make a recorded statement very quickly. The premise behind you making a statement so soon is that they can trick you into saying the wrong thing, giving them enough information to deny your claim.
If you do speak to the rival insurance company:
- Do not apologize
- Do not admit any blame
- Do not say you are okay or uninjured
- Do not accept any money
Even if you do not consent to a recorded statement, you should still be cautious of what you say. You can say that you have spoken with legal counsel and refer the insurance adjuster to your qualified truck accident attorney.
Some insurance companies record all phone calls for training purposes and later try to use them as evidence. They will also pressure you, which can cause you to forget important details. The insurance company will use the statement against you when you remember these details later.
Get a vehicle appraisal
Many truck accidents result in a total loss of the other vehicles. If that is your case, there is not much else you can do to establish property damage. However, if your vehicle is not a total loss but has damage, it is vital to get an appraisal. There are also underlying issues that a mechanic must look for.
While your vehicle looks undamaged, an underlying issue may affect the vehicle’s safety. Have a mechanic check out the vehicle as soon as possible. The sooner a mechanic can look at the accident, the better chance of adding this damage to your claim.
While at the mechanic’s, do not repair the vehicle until your lawyer tells you to. The insurance company will approve all vehicle repairs, and it is crucial that you only go for an assessment. The insurance company will want you to also take the car to an approved body shop for repairs. The shop will need to take photographs of the vehicle as evidence and estimate the repair costs.
Create an accident file
For a successful truck accident injury claim, keep a detailed file. You will need to include every receipt, medical document, and property damage expense within the file. Even a ticket for an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen should be in the file. All of these expenses add up over time, and for an accurate demand package, your attorney will require a list of your expenses.
If you took any pictures of the accident and your injury, add them to your file. You should also include accident reports, vehicle assessments, and other documents related to your claim. Sometimes a case can take months or years to resolve, and you will need easy access to these documents. Your attorney will also have their file for your claim, but it is best that you also stay organized.
Start a pain journal
How your injuries and damage change your daily life will have an enormous impact on your injury claim. While medical records will show crucial aspects of your injury, they do not highlight the daily struggles you face as a truck accident victim.
To help your claim, start a pain journal. You can include this journal in your case file and share it with your attorney. If you have very personal details within the journal, discuss your options with a truck accident attorney. They can use a redacted version of your journal entries in your case.
Your journal does not only cover physical pain but emotional pain as well. You should also include any inconveniences you encounter throughout your day. Suppose you cannot reach something on a shelf because it hurts to stretch your arm – include this anecdote in your journal. It will show that you need assistance to accomplish even the most menial task.
Make daily journal entries to track your progress through the entire healing process. Do not be scared to include minor details. It can seem like a minor inconvenience to you, but it can be helpful to your case.
A truck accident attorney can only use the evidence you provide them. If they are unaware that you are having difficulty opening a door, they cannot use this as evidence. While your doctor may note your restrictions, you might forget to mention the small stuff. A daily journal fills in the details you do not share with your attorney or doctors. It can also help you heal and see the amount of progress you have made through this entire ordeal.
Attend all appointments
Your medical file will establish the severity of your injury and its connection to the accident. While the initial evaluation at the emergency room will play a role in your claim, your follow-up visits will also be vital to your lawsuit.
When you have an injury that requires care, and you miss visits or appointments, the insurance company assumes that you are not in any pain and do not require long-term care. However, when you attend every meeting and follow all medical advice, you show the insurance company that your injury needs constant medical attention and that the accident was the cause of these medical needs.
If you need to miss an appointment or therapy session, inform your truck accident attorney.
The truck insurers will request all medical records just like your attorney will. If you cancel a doctor’s appointment or do not show up, the doctor’s office will note this, and all of these records will be accessible to the insurance company. The insurance company is looking for minor discrepancies in your care to devalue your injury and lower your compensation. When you do what your doctor recommends, you will have a higher chance of a successful claim.
Avoid social media
In today’s day and age, everyone shares everything online. It is not uncommon to want to share your accident on social media and let your loved ones know how you are doing after an accident. The insurance company is also watching your social media pages and online activity.
They want you to say that you are doing just fine after an accident and continue to live your life as before. If you must post on social media for business purposes, avoid speaking about the accident and discuss your social media habits with your truck accident attorney.
Since truck accidents will generally close down highways and other roadways, they will make a buzz on the news. When you see a news article about your accident, do not comment or even share it on your page. Anytime you post a comment online, the insurance company will use it to lower your claim.
Staying quiet is often the most challenging aspect for accident victims. Many individuals find comfort in sharing their stories and want to let their loved ones know how they are doing. It is best to speak with a counselor about your accident to manage your emotional trauma.
The insurance company is always watching.
The insurance company will send out a private investigator for large accident claims. While you think you are safe by not posting any of your movements online, the insurance company is using other tactics to watch you and find ways to delegitimize your claim.
Many victims will follow all restrictions and still find the insurance company uses a split-second picture to say that their injury is not as severe as you claim it is. While your doctor clears you to begin working out at the gym, speak with your lawyer first. The insurance company can follow you to the gym and record you lifting weights, even if they are small ones, to show that a back injury does not impact your life. If possible, try at-home workouts or work strictly with a physical therapist.
You will likely miss special events and cancel your vacations. You will want to go on vacation with your family. You force yourself to go on vacation and take things slow and not exert yourself. When a private investigator follows you, they will wait for your guard to be down and snap a picture or video of you at a theme park smiling with your family.
The insurance company or their attorney will use this to say that you do not need any medical treatment because you were enjoying yourself for one second. The picture doesn’t show that you had to lay down or use a wheelchair after you got off the ride. After a truck accident, walk around like a celebrity avoiding the paparazzi because the insurance company is watching your every move.
Liability and fault
Truck accidents are particularly challenging, especially when it comes to liability. While the truck driver is one party you can hold liable, several others can also play a role in the accident.
You can hold these parties accountable:
- Trucking company
- Parts manufacturer
- Cargo loader
- Government entities
The truck driver’s employment status is crucial to determining liability – if the truck driver is self-employed, they will bear all responsibility. However, large trucking companies employ most truck drivers that handle nearly every aspect of the truck driver’s assignments. Some companies do not control every part of the trucking process, and there are other third parties that you can hold liable after an accident.
Speak with a truck accident lawyer
The insurance company will look like they are taking responsibility for the accident by offering a quick settlement. The initial settlement offer is much lower than what you need and will not cover all of your accident expenses. The main reason for the insurance company settling early on is to rid themselves of any future liability.
They do not want you to find out that your injuries are more severe than you initially thought and attempt to ask for more money. When you accept a settlement, you will also sign a release that removes any legal responsibility from the truck company and leaves all future treatment in your hands.
A local truck accident attorney will play a critical role in compensation recovery.
They can investigate and collect evidence of your claim along with:
- Compile and review your medical records
- Determine who the negligent party was
- Negotiate an adequate settlement with the insurance company
- Represent you at trial against the insurance company’s lawyer
While you can choose to represent yourself in your injury claim, it is seldom a good idea to do so. Call a lawyer after a truck accident. When you have a local truck accident attorney on your side, you will have protection against the insurance company and its sneaky tactics. It is vital to contact your attorney and inform them of any changes in your condition or plans.