Being involved in a tractor-trailer accident can be a terrifying and life-altering event. Unfortunately, it is estimated that one of these large trucks is involved in an accident that causes injury or death every 15 minutes in the United States. This is why it's so important for motorists to understand what to do (and what not to do) after being involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer. By avoiding some common mistakes, you can make the right decisions to protect yourself.
Declining Medical Care
Sadly, tractor-trailer accidents result in injury more often than not. With this in mind, it's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible following an accident. Even if you don't have any obvious injuries, being checked out by a medical professional will give you added peace of mind. If symptoms of an accident-related injury do arise in the days or even weeks following the incident, you'll also want to have proof (for insurance purposes) that you were evaluated by a doctor.
Overlooking Potential Witnesses
If there were any witnesses to your tractor-trailer accident, try to get their information and a statement from them if possible. Specifically, you'll want to gather their names and contact information (such as a cell phone number) and ask them to wait at the scene and speak to first responders.
Foregoing a Police Report
Speaking of first responders, you should always file a formal police report after an accident with a tractor-trailer. Most trucking companies have strict policies in place that require truck drivers to remain on the scene and report accidents to police—even if they're relatively minor. More than likely, your insurance company will also want a copy of the police report as part of the claims process.
Accepting the First Insurance Offer
It is not uncommon for trucking insurance companies to make "low ball" offers to those who have been injured in tractor-trailer accidents. If you receive a quick settlement offer from the trucker's insurance provider, you'll want to carefully consider whether this offer truly reflects the short- and long-term costs of your injuries, property damage, and other damages. If not, there is nothing wrong with rejecting the offer.
Skipping Out on Legal Representation
If you do reject the insurance company's offer, you'll want to have an experienced legal team on your side moving forward. Specifically, a truck accident lawyer will be able to tell you how much your case is really worth and fight to get you the compensation to which you are entitled.
Contact a truck accident lawyer in your area to learn more.