If you have been involved in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, what happened – and who was responsible – might seem obvious. However, it is important to keep in mind that obtaining the compensation you need will be based on the evidence. Your side of the story alone will not be enough for insurance companies or the courts to award you financial compensation.
While your attorney can do much of the heavy lifting to find and compile important evidence, there are a handful of things you as the victim can do to protect your rights and help your case. Below, we take a look at these steps, including vital pieces of evidence that you should obtain and collect.
If you have been in a truck accident in Columbus, Heath, Circleville, Newark, or elsewhere in Ohio and you are not sure what to do next, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experienced, compassionate truck accident attorneys at Colombo Law. Your initial consultation is free.
Get the Driver’s Information
The first thing you should do after an accident is obtain the truck driver’s information. The last thing you want is to lose track of the trucker who hit you.
After an accident, the information you should gather from the truck driver includes:
- The driver’s full name
- Contact information (address and phone number)
- The name of the trucking company
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
Your lawyer will use this information to investigate the accident and file a claim on your behalf against the truck driver and his or her employer.
Seek Medical Care
While gathering evidence and information is important, your health and well being should always be your first concern. You should never put off getting medical treatment after an accident. Tractor-trailers weigh 80 pounds fully loaded; when they hit your car – even at low speeds – they can do tremendous damage. Often times, even low speed rear end accidents caused by a tractor-trailer will bend the frame rails of your car – imagine what that does to your spine and other organs. Do not put off going to the doctor because the shock and adrenaline of an accident sometimes masks your injuries.
Oftentimes, defense lawyers for truck companies will claim that you must not have been injured because you did not immediately go to the hospital. It is not uncommon for accident victims to put off going to the doctor because they think their injuries or pain will go away, but it actually gets progressively worse. Do not play into this defense argument – seek medical treatment.
Gather Evidence at the Accident Scene
There are plenty of things our lawyers can do after an accident to help document what took place, including pulling cell phone records and creating accident reconstruction models. However, there is no replacement for evidence taken at the scene immediately after an accident happens.
This is why gathering evidence at the accident scene, including taking photos and videos, is so important.
Accidents are often cleaned up quickly, and environmental factors like the weather can be difficult to prove after the fact. So, if you are able, take photos and videos of the scene, including the damage done to all vehicles involved, your injuries, the condition of the road, the location of witnesses, skid marks, and anything else that might seem relevant.
Take more pictures and video than you feel is necessary. Having too much evidence is never a problem, whereas not having enough may present a challenge.
Make Notes About the Accident
Something that has become apparent in recent studies is that our memories are not as objective as we tend to believe. Not only do we sometimes misremember what took place, but our memories can change over time.
This is why it is so valuable to take notes. Instead of having to try to “re-remember” the accident, you can refer to your original notes on what took place.
As you write down what happened, key details may stand out that you didn’t recall previously. Contact your lawyer to share what you remember, as it may be helpful in building your case.
Do Not Talk to Insurance Adjusters for the Trucking Company
After an accident, insurance adjusters from the trucking company will likely try to contact you. They will seem friendly and caring, and present themselves as allies in resolving your case.
But, make no mistake: They will use your own words against you. Their primary goal is to pay out as little compensation as possible. It is in their best interest to get you to say that you are “doing fine” or, even better, to accept a lowball settlement offer.
This can be an extremely tricky situation for accident victims, which is why we advise our clients not to discuss the accident with insurance companies on their own. Instead, when contacted by adjusters, you should rely on your lawyer’s experience negotiating with insurance companies.
Save All Bills and Receipts
When you present a demand for compensation to an insurance company, you can’t expect them to take your word for it. Instead, as with all things related to an accident, you need to prove the amount you deserve.
While this is a complicated process and can include damages like pain and suffering and future medical expenses, all of your existing medical and property damage bills are relatively easy to calculate – if you keep your bills and receipts. Without these bills and receipts, it can be much more difficult to show the financial impact the accident has had on you.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer
Winning a case against a truck accident company can be highly complex and time-consuming. It takes a thorough understanding of the law, trucking regulations, and legal precedent, as well as the resources to gather and compile evidence and the skill to negotiate with insurance companies and, if necessary, present your case in court.
For most truck accident victims, this is simply too much. You need to focus on getting better, which is why Colombo Law is here to fight the legal battle for you. Our lawyers are passionate about standing up for accident victims and fighting off big corporations that would gladly take advantage of you.
To start building your truck accident case, please call (614) 362-7000 today for a free consultation. Our truck accident lawyers serve clients in Columbus, Heath, Circleville, Newark, and other areas of Ohio.