The law allows large trucks to be over 60 feet long and weigh up to 80,000 pounds. That’s a tremendous amount of force in motion at just about any speed. They take up to 20 percent more distance to stop than passenger vehicles, and when roads are wet, that stopping distance can increase dramatically. According to the most recent figures released by the National Highway Transportation Administration, more than 3,900 people died in crashes involving large trucks in 2014. An estimated 111,000 were injured. Of the fatalities, 73 percent were occupants of other vehicles, while only 17 percent were occupants of large trucks. If you were one of the 111,000 who survived, here’s what you’ll want to do.
Preserve the accident scene
If it’s physically possible for you to do so, call 911 immediately. You’ll want both police and paramedics. Police will preserve the evidence at the truck accident scene and collect appropriate information for their report. Paramedics will attend to your condition. Insist on being transported to the nearest emergency room by ambulance. Paramedics will make records of both your subjective and objective symptoms. That’s the start of documenting your injuries. You’ll undergo a more thorough examination at the emergency room, and more detailed medical records will be generated there.
Follow all medical advice
If emergency room personnel refer you to another healthcare provider like an orthopedist or a neurologist, get the first available appointment. Attend every medical appointment that you have. Insurance companies love to see gaps in treatment. That’s when they’ll raise issues of malingering and try to damage your credibility.
Don’t speak with the trucker
Only speak with emergency personnel at the scene. The truck driver probably won’t talk you. That’s part of a truck driver’s training. You can innocently hurt your case by talking to the truck driver, so don’t say anything to him.
Never speak with the trucker’s insurer
The insurer of the trucker might contact you “just to see how you’re doing.” You’re under no legal obligation to speak with that insurer, so don’t give it or its representative any information at all. The adjuster will probably want a recorded statement from you about how the accident occurred. He or she might also imply that there could be negative consequences if you don’t give a statement. You have a contractual duty to cooperate with your own insurer, but never give an opposing insurer a statement of any kind under any circumstances. The questions asked of you wouldn’t be permitted in court, but your answers to those questions can be used against you. There’s a time and a place to give a statement, and that’s in a deposition with your attorney present. We will prepare you for giving that deposition, so there won’t be any surprises. The questions asked of you wouldn’t be permitted in court, but your answers to those questions can be used against you.
Contact us right away
When you’re injured as a result of the carelessness and negligence of a truck driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. That compensation can include but not be limited to:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of a normal life
- Any permanent disability
- Any permanent disfigurement
We’re dedicated, experienced, aggressive and compassionate Los Angeles personal injury lawyers. Protect, preserve and exercise your right to compensation for your damages by contacting us right away for a free consultation and case evaluation. Don’t try to represent yourself for even a minute. You’ll likely give up rights that you don’t even know that you have. Once you give up those rights, it’s unlikely that you’ll get them back. Our law firm focuses on the representation of victims of serious personal injury and wrongful death. Our record of continued success speaks for why judges, jurors and insurance defense lawyers all respect us.