A road collision with an 18-wheeler is a whole different matter compared to a typical car accident. An automobile is usually around 2,000 pounds compared to almost 80,000 pounds for a fully- loaded truck. Even a low-speed accident will result in a lot of damage to the smaller vehicle. At high speeds, it’s often deadly.
Since most trucks drive for large corporations, trying to get compensation for injuries received in an accident on Long Island isn’t easy. However, knowing what to do after a truck accident and taking the right steps in the immediate aftermath can raise your chances of obtaining compensation for all of your losses.
That’s where the Long Island truck accident attorneys at Carner & DeVita come in. We’ve got the experience and resources to follow your case to the end to ensure you have a high chance of getting the compensation you need. Call us at 631-543-7070 or contact us online to set up a risk-free consultation and let us get started.
Before making that call, be sure you’ve followed these eight steps after being involved in a truck accident.
What To Do After a Truck Accident
It’s not only a good idea to get officials and medical personnel on the scene, it’s the law. If you’re not injured, check on the other drivers and passengers and make sure no one was seriously hurt. If there are any injuries at all, call for an ambulance along with an attending police officer.
Speak with the responding police officer.
Again, filing a police report after an accident is the law, and failing to do so could possibly derail your attempts to get compensation. Be brief but complete with the police; just give the facts of the accident the best you can. Don’t editorialize or try to guess what the other driver(s) were doing when the accident occurred (texting while driving, adjusting the radio, etc.). Do not admit fault.
Get checked out by a medical professional.
If you walk away from an accident with a truck, you’ll be more than lucky to have absolutely no injuries. Let the attending EMS workers give you a full check-up, and if they advise you to seek further medical help, do so without hesitation. It’s also a good idea to see a doctor a couple of days after the accident in case you sustained injuries that might cause a problem down the line.
Almost all of us have cell phones or smartphones with high-quality cameras. Take pictures of the vehicles, the condition of the road, the overall scene of the accident, etc. The more pictures you can get, the more evidence you’ll have if you decide to pursue compensation. If you don’t have a camera-capable smartphone, disposable cameras are still fairly cheap and don’t take up much space in your glove compartment.
Talk to everyone.
If they’re willing and able, talk to the other driver and any passengers that were involved in the accident. Talk to witnesses. Along with cameras, most smartphones can make voice recordings. Better yet, keep a pad and pen or pencil in the car, since it doesn’t have a charge that can run down. Like with the police, do not admit fault or apologize since this can be used against you.
Get your vehicle appraised.
Do not get your vehicle repaired until after it’s been professionally appraised, as the cost of appraisal should be a part of your claim. Like with hidden medical problems, your damaged car might have problems you can’t see. If you belong to an auto club or have roadside assistance with your insurance, have your vehicle towed to a body shop as soon as possible for the appraisal, even if you’re sure it’s safe to drive.
Do not admit fault or apologize.
It can not be stressed enough: never admit fault in any way or deny the existence of your injuries, pain, or other damages. Don not openly admit fault to the police, although you must answer their questions honestly. Also, do not openly make any admissions to the other driver(s), and not even to your insurance. Keep all your discussions concerning the accident basic and brief.
On that same note, do not discuss the accident on social media, and especially don’t post pictures. This can and will be used against you if you pursue compensation.
Avoid disclosing too much info to insurers.
Following the accident, you may be contacted by investigators working for the trucking company or their insurance provider. These people may seem friendly, but their goal is to get you to make statements that can diminish the value of your claim. As such, one of the most important parts of what to do after a truck accident is to not discuss your medical condition, your personal pain and suffering, or specific details regarding the accident aside from time and location.
Anything you say can be held against you, so it’s best to keep these conversations brief. Refer them to your lawyer in lieu of making expansive statements.
Call a truck accident lawyer.
Navigating both the legal ramifications and insurance claims can require more knowledge and effort than a layman can handle, especially if you’re still recovering from the stress of the accident or any injuries that could occur.
An experienced truck accident lawyer on Long Island can help you decide if compensation is worth pursuing. A lawyer can also help you figure out perhaps the most important aspects in a truck accident – who is at fault and how much in damages they might owe you.
Deciding Who Is At Fault and Responsible for Truck Accident Damages
Like many states, New York is a no-fault state. That means the insurance company will pay for certain expenses regardless of who is at fault. However, most companies – insurance or otherwise – want to pay out as little as possible. In any event, deciding who is at fault is useful when final compensation is decided, either in court or by settlement out of court.
For one, being able to put liability at the feet of the trucking company will hold all responsible parties liable, and may access additional and more substantial insurance policies.
Three factors are considered when finding if fault lies with a driver or the company that hired/contracted them:
- The drivers’ intentions and whether they fulfilled all possible criteria of what could reasonably be considered safe actions.
- What sort of work the trucker driver was hired to do and how much freedom they have in fulfilling those duties, i.e. determining whether the driver was an employee or sub-contractor
- Whether the accident occurs on “work time” or “personal time.” That is, was the accident during transportation of freight for a company or as the trucker is driving home?
Key details about the accident and the driver’s actions leading up to the accident are crucial for determining who was negligent and therefore liable in your case.
Let a Long Island Truck Accident Lawyer Help You
Figuring out all the legal steps needed – much less pursuing them to your satisfaction – is too much for most people involved in a truck accident to handle on their own. Carner & DeVita has been winning truck accident cases for clients on Long Island for almost half a century, and we will bring all that experience and knowledge to your case.
A truck accident is rarely something you just walk away from, so don’t hesitate to call us at 631-543-7070 or contact us online to set up a risk-free consultation to discuss your damages and legal options today.