It’s natural to worry about safety when you’re driving next to an 18-wheeler on the highway. Getting into a vehicular accident with an 18-wheeler typically comes with much bigger consequences and injuries than a regular fender-bender. People who are involved in 18-wheeler accidents often have catastrophic – or worse, fatal – injuries due to the sheer force of the truck barreling down the road. If you or someone you love is in an accident with a semi-truck or 18-wheeler and the other driver is at fault, you might not only be able to receive fair compensation from the driver; their employer might be liable as well.
What are the Obligations of 18-Wheeler Drivers and The Company That Employs Them?
Just like any motor vehicle operator, truck drivers are required to follow specific rules and regulations. Those who employ truck drivers are also guided by state and federal trucking standards and regulations. If either the driver, the company that employs them, or both, act negligently, they may be liable to pay compensation to their victims.
The Steps You Take Post-Accident are Critical
If you are in an accident with a semi-truck or 18-wheeler, the steps that you take after the accident can make all the difference between winning or not winning your case. It can also have an impact on what you are financially entitled to, so it is vital to ensure that you are taking the right steps and staying away from the ones that could do more harm than good.
Step One – Contact the Authorities to Report the Accident
Whenever you are involved in a vehicular accident, you are required to file a police report. The police report is where you communicate your version of events. Even if you think that the injuries or damages are minor, never go without having a police officer there to go over the accident. Those things that you think aren’t significant might be extremely significant if the case goes to court.
Step Two – Seek Medical Attention Immediately
A motor vehicle accident causes a lot of trauma and shock, both emotionally and physically. A lot of times, people walk away from an accident thinking that they are totally fine, and only discover the soft tissue damage is done days, weeks, or even years later. Your body releases adrenaline, which can make you feel as if you are fine. Once that adrenaline subsides, however, you will likely start to feel the repercussions.
There are many cases when victims walk away with internal damage, organ trauma, and traumatic brain injuries, completely unaware of those issues. If you don’t seek medical attention immediately, then you aren’t going to be able to connect it to the event, and you might lose evidence that is necessary to receive fair compensation. It is always better to be safe than sorry, even if the injuries seem minor and the accident happened at a low speed of impact.
Step Three – Contact Your Insurance Carrier
Even if you are not at fault for the accident, you will want to contact your insurance carrier and give them the information about the other driver, their insurance, and the company that employs them. Although all of that should be on the police report, it is always a good idea to provide your insurance company with the correct information, just in case.
Step Four – Do NOT Give a Statement to the Other Insurance Carrier
Most insurance companies would rather settle out of court than see the case drag on and become more expensive. They will often try to settle quickly by making you an offer that might seem alluring. If you are contacted by an attorney from the other driver or the company that employs them, do not speak with them directly. If they are offering you money immediately, they know that their client is at fault and that it can become more expensive if you pursue legal action.
Step Five – Call Califf Law
Immediately after the accident, you need to hire a firm like Califf Law to protect your interests and ensure that you get everything you are entitled to. You need someone on your side who will protect you, make sure that you are taking the right steps, and – sometimes more importantly – that you aren’t taking the wrong ones!
If you or someone you love has been in an 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident, the steps you take will greatly affect what you are entitled to. Before you do anything else, contact us. We are auto accident attorneys with the experience, credentials, and talent to ensure that you get the best representation to prove your case.