Knowing what to do after a truck accident can make the difference between getting a fair amount of compensation for your injuries and the insurance company denying your claim. What you should do after a truck accident will depend on the facts of your situation, but here is some general guidance:
Contact Law Enforcement
Someone should call the police or sheriff’s office to have an officer come to the scene of the crash. The officer can collect vital information like the names, addresses, and insurance information of all of the people involved in the collision. Law enforcement can also assess what caused the accident and assign fault to the person whose carelessness caused or contributed to the crash.
If a police officer did not come to the scene, you should report the crash right away. Georgia law requires involved parties to report accidents. You do not want the at-fault driver to file a falsified accident report blaming you for the collision without a report from you that states your side of what happened.
Get Medical Attention
Trucks can cause more severe injuries than passenger cars, particularly if the truck carries heavy cargo. If you got hurt in an accident with a truck, you should go straight to the doctor, urgent care center, or emergency room. A slight delay in medical treatment can be life-threatening.
Realize that some types of physical harm can take hours or days to show signs. A substantial blow to your body, for example, can cause damage like a ruptured spleen, which can cause you to hemorrhage internally. By the time that you have indications of a spleen injury, you might be in a medical crisis. Other types of injuries that can have delayed signs are broken bones and head, neck, or back injuries. Trained trauma medicine professionals will know how to look for hidden injuries. So if you were in a significant collision with a truck you should get a thorough trauma examination even if symptoms have not yet appeared.
Protect Your Legal Rights
You should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after a truck accident. The trucking company’s liability insurance carrier might contact you and try to make you think that you do not qualify for compensation for your losses. Having a lawyer on your side can make the insurance adjuster think twice about trying to trick you out of a fair settlement.
Why Your Medical Records Are Essential to Your Injury Claim
We will use your medical records to prove the injuries that you sustained. It is one thing for a person to claim that he might have bruised ribs from a truck accident and quite another thing to be able to produce x-rays that showed his fractured ribs. The value of your claim increases when we can prove your injuries with medical certainty.
Your medical records will also link your injuries to the accident. If you go straight to a medical facility for treatment after the collision, it will be hard for the defendant to argue that the wreck did not cause your injuries. If, however, you wait a few days to get medical attention, the at-fault driver can accuse you of getting hurt from some other event and not the crash.
What Can Go Wrong If You Do Not Work With a Lawyer
Some people try to handle their truck accident injury claims without a lawyer. Georgia law does not require you to work with a lawyer, but it can be a good idea to do so.
The insurance company has entire teams of people working full-time with one goal: to pay you as little money as possible for your injuries. Some of the tactics that insurance adjusters use after a truck accident include:
- Making low-ball settlement offers. For example, the adjuster might offer $5,000 on a case worth $20,000. The plaintiff does not know the value of his case, so he accepts the low-ball offer. He might never find out that he should have received greater compensation. A personal injury lawyer can calculate the amount of your damages and determine a fair settlement sum.
- Trying to settle the claim while you are still getting medical treatment. Until you complete your medical treatment, you do not know if you will get 100% of your former function back. If you settle with the insurer and later discover, for example, that you will have problems with your back for the rest of your life, you cannot go back to the insurance company and get more money.
These are but a few examples of things that can go wrong if you try to handle your truck accident case without the help of a lawyer.
At S. Burke Law, we work hard to get our clients every dollar that they deserve. We treat our clients like family. You will not feel like just a number with us. Call us today at (404) 842-7838 for a free consultation. There is no obligation.