Trucking Law: What to Do after a Wreck That Is NOT Your FaultApril 12, 2018
Truck accidents can leave all involved parties disoriented, injured and in need of answers. For truckers victimized by these wrecks, knowing what steps to take – and what to avoid doing – after a crash can be crucial to preserving:
- Future claims for compensation
- Their reputation, professional driving record and, in some cases, their career.
To help truckers who have been hurt in accidents caused by other parties, the following presents helpful tips on what to do following these wrecks in order to protect a future claim for financial recovery. For insights and legal advice specific to your crash and potential claim, contact the Amaro Law Firm.
Are You a Trucker Who Was Hurt in a Wreck Caused by Someone Else?
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Step 1: Call Police
Police can be incredibly helpful in the aftermath of a truck crash. In addition to helping victims get emergency care, diverting traffic and clearing the wreckage, police can:
- Immediately start investigating the crash
- Document and/or gather crucial evidence
- Issue citations or make arrests whenever warranted
- Write up formal accident reports, detailing the findings of their investigation.
All official police reports for truck accidents (and traffic collisions) in Texas can be obtained via the state’s Department of Transportation (DOT) Crash Reporting Information System (CRIS).
Step 2: Exchange Information with the Other Involved Parties
If the truck accident has not left you incapacitated or severely injured, collect the names, contact information and driving/vehicle/insurance-related information from the other parties involved in the accident. Also, share this information (as it pertains to you) with these other parties.
As you do this, it can be helpful to take pictures of the other parties’:
- Drivers’ licenses
- Insurance cards
- Vehicle identification numbers (VINs)
- Vehicle licenses plates.
Please be advised, however, that you should NOT attempt to exchange information with parties who are or appear to be:
- Catastrophically injured
- Impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Belligerent, angry or uncooperative.
In these situations, let police coordinate the exchange of information.
Step 3: Gather Evidence from the Accident Scene
Try to compile as much evidence as you can from the accident scene as you wait for police (to arrive and then to clear you to leave), as long as you are able to. Important evidence can include (and is not limited to):
- Accident-scene photos – In these, try to capture pictures of the damage to your truck, any other involved vehicles and any surrounding road features. Also, do your best to take pictures of the accident scene (as a whole), the road conditions, the weather conditions and any visible injuries you (and/or others) may have suffered.
- Witnesses’ names and contact information – Witnesses may include other drivers, pedestrians, passengers in other vehicles, etc. If no witnesses come forward immediately after the crash, reviewing the police accident report can be key to locating any witnesses who may have contacted police in the hours or days following an accident to report what they saw.
- Debris from the scene – Pieces of tire tread, helmets or any debris left behind by the crash can also be helpful in proving liability for truck wrecks. If you do locate accident-related debris, be sure to note exactly where the debris was found, like the distance from and direction in relation to the crash site.
Step 4: Do Not Apologize or Admit Fault
This is crucial at every step after the accident, including (but not necessarily limited to) when speaking to:
- Police officers
- Other motorists
- Accidents witnesses
- Insurance companies.
Even if an apology comes from a place of compassion – or even if an admission of fault is made mistakenly, these statements CAN be leveraged against you to try to put partial or all fault for the truck wreck on you.
Please note that questions of fault typically:
- Do NOT have bearing on a trucker’s workers’ compensation claim – Truckers who are employees (not independent contractors) of motor carriers who have opted in to the state’s workers’ compensation program can file claims for workers’ compensation benefits no matter who was at fault for the accident.
- Will impact a truck driver’s personal injury case associated with the crash – In these claims, apologies or fault admissions can be used to partially or fully blame truckers for the crash. When this occurs, it can reduce recoveries from these claims (if the trucker is deemed partly at fault). It could even lead to claim denials and no recoveries for these cases (if most or all of the fault is pinned on a trucker).
Step 5: Preserve the Records You Have
Keep the police report, your accident scene photos, medical bills and anything you receive from the insurance company with regards to the crash. Also maintain your:
- Records related to missed work and lost earnings
- Driving logs and schedules
- Vehicle maintenance records
- Health certifications and medical exam records.
These records can be important to establishing liability, the extent of your losses and/or your entitlements to compensation.
Step 6: Contact a Trusted Lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm
Navigating the path to recovery after a truck wreck can be complicated and challenging, especially if you are injured and you may have two claims to pursue. The Amaro Law Firm is ready to guide you at every step of the way, helping you:
- Protect your rights and interests
- Deal with insurers and stand up to them whenever necessary
- Maximize your financial recovery so you can rebuild your life.
A Houston Truck Accident Lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm Is Ready to Help You
If you or a loved one is a truck driver who has been harmed in a wreck, a truck accident lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm can help you seek the compensation you may deserve.
Call (877) 892-2797, text (281) 612-8024 or email our firm for your FREE, no obligations consultation.
Focused on providing effective advocacy and personal service, our attorneys have the experience, skills and resources to position any type of truck wreck case for the best possible outcome.