Trucks are a significant presence on our roads. At any given point, there are as many as 15.5 million trucks in operation within the US. While the vast majority of these trucks are performing essential transportation of goods, unfortunately, the sheer number of them means that the chances of being involved in a collision with one are pretty high.
Drivers often spent hours on end at the wheel without taking a break of any kind. This can lead to negligent decision-making and mistakes made as a result of insufficient concentration levels. But what happens if you’ve come to harm as a result of a trucking accident?
Well, it’s not as simple as filing some paperwork. It’s a little more complicated than that. So let’s run through how the process works.
What is the Truck Accident Process?
The truck accident process refers to the procedures and protocols you have to navigate to make a successful claim against a negligent truck driver or company. You must understand how the system works before you end up in a wreck because the process starts as soon as the accident occurs.
Before You Submit Your Claim
In the immediate aftermath of the accident, you must gather and note down as much information as possible. This should include an account of the events from your perspective, witness statements from other road users, photographs of the scene and the injuries you’ve suffered, and even physical evidence.
If you’re wondering if the police should take care of this, you’re right; they will. But it’s crucial that you make your own records as details that seem unimportant at the time can be missed in police reports, only to prove pivotal in a court case later down the line.
Finally, notify the trucking company and trucker of your intentions to file a claim and begin researching the process for the insurance company involved, noting any critical deadlines.
Dealing with Insurance Adjusters
Once you’ve successfully submitted your claim, an insurance adjuster will get in contact to request your medical records and any other pertinent evidence. In cases of clear driver liability, the insurance company will most probably offer you a settlement.
However, do not accept a settlement that you do not deem sufficient after considering the expenses and losses incurred as a result of your accident. You, as the claimant, only have one opportunity to recover compensation. Once an amount has been accepted, it is binding.
Enlist the Help and Expertise of an Attorney
It may be advisable to enlist the help of a semi-truck accident attorney who specializes in this area. In all likelihood, you will not have a reference point for the amount initially offered as a settlement for your accident, so you don’t know if you’re being offered fair compensation.
A specialist attorney can not only help you with the claim paperwork to ensure you fill everything out correctly, but they also have the experience of dealing with hundreds of previous claims and understand what is and isn’t a fair compensatory package.
If your injuries are quite severe and require hospitalization, it’s not uncommon for insurance companies to attempt to settle a case for less than you deserve. In which case, you will have the option to file a lawsuit for a more reasonable amount and appoint an attorney to represent you in court.
Receiving Final Compensation Amount
For smaller claims, an attorney may be able to negotiate a better settlement without having to involve the court system. In the event of a severe truck accident, attorneys can help from the initial paperwork filing to the last day in court.
Once the claims procedure comes to a close (via the courts or otherwise), you will then receive a check to cover the losses you’ve incurred due to the truck driver’s negligence.
As mentioned, those involved in an accident have only one chance for recourse. So it always makes sense to at least take up a free consultation with attorneys that specialize in this area of practice.