What to do after a truck accident in california
Learn what steps to take after a California truck accident to get maximum compensation
California has more registered semi-trucks in the U.S. than any other state. Although a majority of truck drivers are well-trained and responsible professionals, they can still make mistakes. That’s why thousands of accidents are reported across the country every year.
If you’re involved in a truck accident, it’s important to know what to do. The steps taken immediately after such an accident will often affect your ability to receive compensation, so consider contacting a California truck accident attorney as soon as possible after any truck accident to ensure your rights are protected.
What to do after a truck accident
Below are the steps you should follow after a truck accident in California.
The 1st step you should take after a truck accident is to call 911 and request help. When the police arrive, ensure that you give a clear account of all the events that led up to the accident. You should also request a copy of the police report. Although police reports are rarely accepted as evidence in court, they often contain vital information that can assist those investigating your case.
A police report will typically contain the following information:
- Witness statements
- Sketch of the accident scene
- Statements from all parties involved in the accident
- Contact information for all parties involved in the accident
- Police officer opinion concerning who might be at fault
Evidence collected at the scene of the accident is crucial when it comes to proving liability. It’s much easier for your attorney to prepare a case if you have clear evidence from the accident scene.
Take clear photos of the damaged vehicles, driver’s license plate, tire skid marks and any other important details you can find at the scene. If possible, put in writing everything you can remember before, during and after the accident. This initial evidence can significantly impact your ability to recover future damages in your case.
Exchange contact information with the other involved parties
According to California law, you should exchange contact and insurance information with the other party or parties involved in the accident. Ask the truck driver for his name and the name of the trucking company that employs him.
Neglecting to collect this information can often delay the claims process and make it more challenging to track down the other parties involved in the accident later.
Get contact information from witnesses
If there were other people who witnessed the accident, ask them to wait and provide a statement to the police. You should also talk to the witnesses and write down their names, contact information and any other information about the accident they can provide so that they can collaborate with your accident attorney during investigations.
Witness testimony can be crucial in a truck accident claim because it’s seen as unbiased. It’s not unusual, however, for a witness’s memory to change over time, so you’ll want to record as much information at the accident scene as possible while it's still fresh in their mind.
Seek medical help
You should always seek medical help as soon as possible after a truck accident. Because of the differences in size and weight between passenger vehicles and commercial trucks, truck accidents often lead to severe and catastrophic injuries.
It’s important to understand that not all injuries reveal themselves immediately. That’s why some people may wrongly believe they haven't sustained an injury after an accident.
It’s best to go for a medical check-up even if you initially feel okay. By getting an immediate medical evaluation, you’ll be able to get an accurate diagnosis and can begin any necessary treatment right away to prevent further injuries.
Insurance companies and courts tend to be skeptical of people who refuse medical treatment after an accident. Doing so can decrease your ability to prove your accident was the direct cause of your injury and greatly diminish your chance of receiving compensation.
Contact a truck accident attorney
After a truck accident, the truck driver is required to report the accident to their employer and undergo substance abuse testing. A truck driver who doesn’t report their accident risks having their license suspended or revoked.
As soon as the driver reports the incident, their employer will notify their insurance company. You should never engage with a trucking company’s insurance carrier or accept a settlement offer without talking to a lawyer. Insurance companies are businesses, and their bottom line is to make money, so their initial offer is typically far less than you actually deserve.
Draft a demand letter
After you contact an attorney, they will investigate your claim and identify the party or parties that might be liable in your truck accident. This information will be used to write a demand letter, which they’ll send to all the parties involved in your case. The letter will contain details about your injuries, causes of action and the compensation you’re demanding for damages. Once the letter reaches the other parties, they will either accept, deny or make counteroffers.
Why you should contact an experienced California truck accident attorney
It’s highly recommended that you get help from an experienced California truck accident attorney when filing a personal injury claim. Lawyers understand how insurance companies operate, and they can negotiate on your behalf to ensure you’re compensated fairly. If the other party refuses to negotiate a reasonable settlement, your attorney can help you prepare for and proceed to a full trial.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident or any other kind of accident, the experienced personal injury attorneys at MVP Accident Attorneys are here to help. Our firm has recovered millions of dollars for our clients across California and Texas, and we'd love to devise an individualized plan for your case too.
Contact us today for your free, no-obligation consultation. There’s never a fee unless we win your case.
Brett S. Sachs graduated from Michigan State University College of Law with Cum Laude Honors. While attending Michigan State, Brett was awarded for his service in the Michigan State University College of Law Civil Rights Clinic, where he represented prisoners of the Michigan Department of Corrections from injustices brought upon them. Learn more.
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