How does the Claims Process Work in Semi-Truck Accidents?November 18, 2021
Getting hit by a semi-truck is a jolting experience. They are massive vehicles that weigh many times more than your car. Even at slow speeds, accidents with eighteen-wheel vehicles can cause life-threatening injuries. In the best-case scenarios, you suffer no personal injury, but even then, your car might be a total loss.
Understanding what comes next is frustrating, especially if you are also dealing with injuries. But if the accident was the fault of the truck driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, along with compensation for your vehicle damage. Here is a basic guide to help you understand your next steps following a truck accident.
Call 911 and Report the Accident
Immediately following an accident in which you could have suffered injuries or at least have received vehicle damage, you should call 911. Doing this serves a couple of purposes. First, it sends emergency medical personnel to your accident scene. When they arrive, they will evaluate you and treat you for any injuries you may have suffered. They will also transport you to the hospital if your injuries are more severe.
The police will also rush to the accident scene. They will speak with everyone involved and with any witnesses. The police will then compile this information in a police accident report. Although their report may not assign fault, it will be extremely helpful to your legal team when they begin reviewing the evidence of your accident.
If you did not call 911 after your accident, all is not lost. You need to call the police and report the accident as soon as possible. This will help to create a record of what happened and may help during your claims process.
Get Medical Attention
Even if the emergency medical personnel do not take you to the hospital for further evaluation, you should still go see your regular doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor knows your medical history best and can quickly determine how your injuries have impacted you and your ability to go about your daily life.
Your doctor will also keep detailed records about your injuries and your prognosis. When you file your compensation claim, these records may prove invaluable, as they may show that you have suffered a great deal. It is also crucial that you follow your doctor’s orders so that you give yourself the best chance of getting better.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Even though your semi-truck accident was someone else’s fault, you still need to call your insurance company to let them know that you were in an accident. Your insurance company will want to send a company representative to review the accident scene and the damage done to your vehicle.
But, under no circumstances should you sign any documents or request filing a claim with your insurance company. The claim will eventually go against the truck driver’s insurance, not yours. If you file a claim with your own insurance company, you could see your rates increase dramatically.
Even though your car has been damaged and you may have been injured, you will need to collect evidence. One of the best ways to do this is to take pictures and video of the accident scene, both your car and the semi-truck, and any injuries you suffered. Recording this information will be crucial to your ability to get compensation from your claim.
You should also speak with any witnesses to the accident. Although the police will speak with them to take their statement, not all witnesses will wait around for the police to arrive. Therefore, if you have their contact information, your legal team can take their statements later. It is crucial that you provide your lawyer with this information as soon as possible so that your legal team can speak with witnesses before they forget what they saw.
Keep a Personal Injury Journal
One of the best ways to retain information is to keep a journal. Putting in your own words what happened can help paint a clear picture of how your vehicle was damaged and how your injuries have impacted your life.
It also gives you the opportunity to provide, in your own words, a recollection of the accident. When you do this soon after the accident, it can prove vital to ensuring that your claim has the detail necessary to show that the truck driver caused the accident.
Do Not Speak to the Truck Driver’s Insurance Company
This might sound counterintuitive, since you want to file a claim against the truck driver and, ultimately, the driver’s insurance company. However, insurance companies are notorious for doing whatever they can to deny claims. Even legitimate claims are often denied outright, simply because the insurance company does not want to pay the claim.
When you speak with the truck driver’s insurance company, they may try to take a seemingly innocent statement out of context and use that to deny your claim. For example, mentioning that you looked away for a second could damage your claim. Therefore, it is vital that you partner with a trusted legal advisor who can speak with the insurance company on your behalf.
Send a Demand Letter
After you have sufficient evidence, you need to compile this information in a demand letter. This letter will go to either the insurance company for the at-fault driver or the driver’s employer.
In your letter, you must state clearly what happened and how the result of the accident has caused you immediate physical and financial harm. You should include with your letter the most compelling evidence you have available. Also state clearly what you are seeking and what would help successfully resolve the matter.
Work Toward a Settlement
Most personal injury and vehicle damage matters settle before getting to court. This is a good thing because it is faster, it produces less stress on you, and you do not have to worry about paying your medical or vehicle repair bills. However, that is only if your settlement covers what you need.
Negotiating with an insurance company can be frustrating and aggravating. Insurance companies will try to offer you a quick settlement, but only if it is in their best interest, not yours. The insurance company’s goal is to make you settle for as little money as possible, and if you have not calculated the full amount you need to recover, they may get their wish. And if they get their wish, that probably means you will end up paying out of your own pocket to cover your medical expenses and vehicle repair costs. However, you can avoid this situation by partnering with an aggressive lawyer.
Hire an Aggressive Lawyer
Dealing with insurance companies requires skill, patience, and perseverance. Negotiating with insurance companies is no easy task. They will do nearly anything to keep money in their pockets by denying your claim.
Even if your claim has already been denied, your lawyer can help you appeal and get a positive resolution. When an insurance company denies a claim, that is not the end of the matter. You still have legal rights, but you have limited time; therefore, you must act quickly.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Victims of Accidents Involving Large Trucks
People who get into accidents with semi-trucks often end up with serious injuries because of the sheer size and weight of big rigs. Knowing what to do next is challenging and frustrating. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a truck, reach out to the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will fight to secure the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.