Generally, drivers on the road owe a duty to act as an objectively reasonable person. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 24,784 truck-tractor/semi-trailer truck accidents in 2017. In Texas, truck accidents are different from average car accidents. Both the truck driver and the trucking company employing them may be held liable for any injuries and damages that you suffer from the accident.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
1. Preserve the scene of the accident
After an accident, you should remain at the scene of the accident to preserve evidence. If it is safe, leave your vehicle where it came to rest after the accident. This can make it easier to prove who caused the accident and the resulting damages. Turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers. If leaving your vehicle where it came to rest creates a risk of more harm or subsequent accidents, you should move your vehicle out of the way of traffic when it is safe to do so.
2. Call 9-1-1
Even if no one is hurt by the accident, calling the police and filing an accident report can help provide additional evidence of the accident for your claim. You can request a copy of the accident report from the police. You should also seek medical attention. Some injuries are not immediately apparent until much later. The longer you wait to seek medical attention, the harder it is to link and prove the accident caused your injury. You can also ask the doctor to record your symptoms and injuries so that you can preserve a record of them. Medical expense is one form of damages you make seek to collect.
3. Photograph and Record
Take photographs of the accident and any damages that resulted. This includes photographs of damages to your vehicle and the other driver’s truck. You should also document any skid marks or damage to the surrounding area that helps show exactly what happened. You may also want to make a video of your surroundings. Taking photos immediately after the accident can provide more accurate evidence for your case.
Under Texas law, a person may record a communication like a conversation if he or she is a party to the communication or if one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to the interception. This means that if you are personally involved in the recorded communication, or receive the other person’s consent, you can legally record a conversation between you and another person. Although photograph or video is likely going to produce a clearer image of what happened, a recording may be helpful in certain circumstances such as when the accident occurred at night and the other driver admitted responsibility for the accident.
4. Collect information
You should collect the following information from the other driver:
- Phone Number
- Driver’s License Number
- License Plate Number
- Insurance Carrier & Name of Agent
- Insurance Policy Number
You should also try to get the name and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
5. Making your statement
In the moments after an accident, some drivers and passengers may not realize they are in a state of shock or emotional. In this state, they may make an inaccurate statement or not make a statement at all. Before making a statement that may be used against you, ensure you are calm and able to carefully think about your response.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Truck Accident?
Your truck accident attorney will examine the facts of your case to settle your case as timely as possible.
There are a variety of factors that may affect how quickly your claim may settle:
Investigation: Both the insurance company and your attorney will want to investigate the accident and evidence. This can increase the time it takes to settle your claim. However, it can be very helpful in finding evidence that was not immediately apparent, and help improve your chances of success and receiving a damages award.
Multiple Insurance Companies: Unlike average drivers, truck companies may have multiple insurance policies and insurance companies that may affect how much you can be awarded. One policy with a particular insurer may cover the truck, another the trailer, and so on. Thoroughly examining the various policies involved in your claim can help your attorney find the financial sources from which you can collect relief.
Negotiations: Insurance and trucking companies have plenty of resources and may use them to stall the process and avoid settlement or trial. Attorneys for the insurance company will try to lower the cost of damages they may owe an injured party. Countering these arguments is a necessary part of negotiations to protect your interest, but may increase the amount of time it takes your attorney to settle your truck accident claim.
Injuries: The nature and type of injuries you suffered may affect the length of time it takes to settle a truck accident. Some cases are more complex than they may first appear. Because accidents caused by trucks usually result in more injuries like pain and suffering, it may take time to determine the amount to demand in compensation.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
Our truck accident lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP regularly handle cases involving truck accident injuries throughout the United States with a focus in Texas and Louisiana. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or tragically killed during a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us for a free, confidential consultation today.