Being involved in an automobile accident of any kind is one of the most stressful events for anyone. After the adrenaline and initial shock wear off, participants are left trying to pick up the wreckage left behind, both physical and financial. In a truck accident, the damage on both fronts may be even more extreme. Large, commercial vehicles hitting a passenger sedan hurts one side much more than the other.
As it turns out, the legal and financial backing is also sorely lopsided. This can lead to unfair results where the injured party wasn’t aware of the do’s and don’ts specific to these types of impacts. To help remedy that scenario, we’ve compiled our list of the top five things you should never do if you’ve been in a truck accident.
Give a Statement in the Heat of the Moment
Anyone involved in a truck accident, driver or even the passengers, should never provide a recorded statement of the accident. Insurance companies will want a recorded statement to help reconstruct the events leading up to the incident. On the surface, it seems innocent enough, but recorded statements aren’t required under law in many states, including Georgia, and can hurt an injured person’s chance to recover damages. Giving a statement before you’ve had time to gather your thoughts and reflect on what happened oftentimes aren’t completely accurate. You may misremember what happened in the heat of the moment until you can sit down and recover. Also, speaking with an insurance representative or for the truck company or driver’s lawyer can leave people flustered, making you give inaccurate answers on the record.
Forget to Collect Evidence Like Witness Information
Always remember to take photographs of the crash site and the vehicles at the scene. Also remember to write down each witness’s information. While police officers do their best to gather all information, they sometimes miss things like a witness. Be sure to arm yourself with evidence.
Truck accidents often occur in the blink of an eye. During this time, it’s difficult for people caught up in one to process what happened and caused the collision. Emotional responses can cloud your memory, and physical road hazards or other drivers can block line of sight, making it nearly impossible for you to see what really happened. In addition, in many states including Georgia and at the Federal level, truck operators have daily and ongoing requirements for maintaining a level of driving expertise that, if not met, can find them liable in the event of an accident. For this reason, anyone in a collision with a truck should never admit fault. Instead, they should take the time needed to make a calm and collected assessment of the facts.
Speak to the Other Side’s Lawyer
This may be intuitive to many, but someone in a truck accident often doesn’t realize that there is no requirement to speak with a truck driver or truck company’s attorney. This is especially true if you are unrepresented. Lawyers are hired to protect the rights of their clients, including to minimize any potential liability. It’s guaranteed then that a lawyer for a truck company or driver isn’t protecting anyone other than their well-funded clients. You are entitled to someone who protects you too, so consider looking for a skilled attorney to protect your interests. Having a lawyer, like an auto accident lawyer Atlanta GA relies on, on your side can help level the playing field with the trucking company and driver so you have some firepower as well.
Accept a Low Settlement Offer
A lot of people hit by trucks feel pressured into accepting settlement offers that don’t provide enough to cover all of their injuries. The most common reason for giving into these low-ball offers is anxiety over the legal process. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, it’s important to remember that you have the right to discuss your case with a qualified legal professional. A truck accident lawyer can review your case, tell you about your rights, and help decide if a settlement offer is fair.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Butler Tobin for their insight into trucking accident cases.