The aftermath of an 18-wheeler accident leaves many questions for those who may have been injured or have lost a loved one. This article is written to give a brief overview of steps necessary by those who may have been hit by an 18-wheeler.
At the Scene of the Crash
Most people who have been hit by a big rig are in no condition to gather relevant information at the scene of the crash. Often, those injured or disabled and waiting for emergency transport to the closest hospital. Occasionally, some people were wounded but able to function at the scene of the collision. Here is a list of information and actions that should be taken at the scene of the crash:
- Always wait for the police and request a formal report.
- Do not rely on the police to take down witness information.
Take photographs of the resting position of the vehicles if you can do so safely.
- Always ask for contact information from eyewitnesses.
- Always seek medical treatment necessary for your injuries.
- Keep your description of the accident concise and accurate.
At the Hospital
Make sure up tell your medical providers every problem you have as some minor issues you may not feel you need to mention become real problems once the adrenalin wears off. It is essential to understand that emergency rooms are for emergencies. Unless your injuries are considered life-threatening or require immediate surgical intervention, you will be discharged to follow up with your primary doctor or other specialists as directed by the hospital.
Listen carefully to all of the instructions and asked for recommendations should they feel a follow-up from a specialist is required. Take medications as directed.
After You are Released from the Hospital
Usually, the days following the date of the accident are worse than the day of the crash. Follow the doctor’s instructions strictly both in medication and in limitations of activities. It is best to start looking for follow-up care as soon as possible. Many specialists are hard to see and delaying booking your appointment can lead to significant delays in being able to get care.
Investigate the physician if you intend to see a specialist such as a neurologist or orthopedic surgeon. It is important to look both to the reputation of the physician and also the health insurance plans that the doctor will take.
Keep notes of your out-of-pocket expenses and also days missed from work.
If the Accident Was the Fault of the 18-Wheeler Driver
If you feel that the truck driver was at fault for causing the accident, retaining the best 18-wheeler accident attorney should be your next step.
Generally, the sooner you retain counsel for an 18-wheeler accident the better. It is no secret that the insurance carriers for the trucking company have accident investigation teams ready at the drop of a hat. Often, the insurance carrier will have their team at the site of an 18-wheeler crash while the truck is still in place.
You should choose an attorney as early as possible. Delays in getting the best lawyer will hamper the Investigation necessary in a commercial vehicle accident. Such things as skid marks, debris on the highway and inspection of the vehicles themselves should be scheduled as early as possible. Otherwise, the evidence is lost.
Investigate the Trucking Accident Attorney
It is critically important that you do your homework on the attorney you hire before you hire the lawyer. Many people retain an attorney without during research on the lawyer only to find out that they did not make a good choice. Changing attorneys in the middle of the case can be difficult and often leads to fee complications which may reduce the money payable to the victim.
Items to Consider When Hiring an 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney
There are many different factors to consider when choosing an attorney for an 18-wheeler accident. Experience does matter. Here are some considerations:
- Is the attorney you are talking about going to be the one that does the work on your case? – Often, a name partner will speak with the family about the situation, and then the family later finds out that the attorney is only available for “supervision” of the case. What happens, in fact, is that a young, inexperienced associate or an attorney without significant reputation does the vital work on the matter.
- Has the specific attorney who is going to do the work had substantial experience in 18-wheeler crashes?
- Is the law firm a high-volume firm? – Avoid law firms that take a significant number of cases because these firms tend to treat their clients like numbers. If you see the law firm on TV, it’s a high-volume practice. Simple logic suggests that a firm with a vast amount of cases will be incapable of providing the personal service that you may want.
- What are the attorneys Martindale Hubbell or Lawyers.com rating? – It’s essential to use peer review ratings as opposed to scores that are directly related to a financial arrangement that the attorney or the law firm has with the sponsor of the classification.
- Ask the attorney for references to other clients involved in an 18-wheeler accident. – Consider calling and speaking personally to these former clients about their experience with the attorney.
- Understand that the claims process takes time and if litigation is needed, and it often is, it is vital that you are comfortable with the attorney you select. Feeling comfortable in your first meeting with the attorney you are considering is important.
Do not be afraid to interview several attorneys for cases with very serious injury or the loss of a loved one.
Call us for a free consultation- (281) 893-0760.