When you are involved in a trucking accident, it is vital that you keep a thorough record of your experience. The slightest detail, even if it seems unimportant, can help build a solid and winnable case. Little things may end up being important to a judge or jury.
Your first priority is getting your injuries taken care of – but if you are able to, document as much as you can. It is best to get all of the information about the scene at the same time and on the same day as the crash, but if you need to go back later (or send someone else back if you are too injured), whatever you can get may help. Make sure to report any accidents to the police and to get the proper fire and EMT response for your needs.
What Things Should You Collect If You Have Been in a Truck Accident?
» Get pictures of the scene: If you are seriously injured or feel light headed or nauseous, sit down and wait for an ambulance. However, if you are able to move around and the accident scene is safe, take as many photos as you can. Get pictures of your car, the truck, and other cars involved in the accident. Get photos of any fluids, skid marks, and the road conditions themselves (puddles, ice, etc.). Also, make sure to get pictures of lighting, streetlight coverage, and the weather. Everything you can capture will help strengthen your case.
» Take notes: As soon as you feel well enough, write down everything you can remember about the accident. If writing is challenging, use the camera on your phone to record yourself (but do not stream it anywhere). Try to include every detail of what happened before, during, and after the accident. Get as much information as you can from other drivers and witnesses – especially the truck driver – about their name, address, a phone number for contact, and their insurance information. You can also give this information about yourself to police or other drivers.
» Save all records: Medical reports, police records, traffic citations, pay stubs, receipts, and all insurance information should be collected and kept together in a folder. Ask your physicians for medical opinions and diagnoses in writing, so you can later show those to a jury. Also keep track of any communications or statements from the other parties – especially if they admit fault!
» Keep a journal: Your medical records can only tell half the story. Your experiences during recovery show how the accident affects you personally. Does your broken leg keep you from working? How much time have you lost from work? Are you able to enjoy your favorite hobbies? Are you experiencing pain during the day or at night? Is the pain intense? All of this information helps build a compelling case and allows you to receive the compensation you deserve.
“The Truck Accident Team of Reiff & Bily worked around the clock gathering all the facts in our case. They traveled across the country assembling a team of experts to ensure our mother was represented with the utmost integrity.”
Avoid Discussing Your Truck Accident Case
You may receive calls from the insurance company representing the driver who caused the accident, or even from the trucking company’s attorneys. Tell them you don’t want to speak to them without your attorney.
You must not speak to anyone from the opposing side or anyone else besides your lawyers about your case, even if they sound well-meaning and express seemingly heartfelt efforts to work things out or make things right. The trucking companies and their representatives are hired to limit the trucking company’s expenses; they are not paid to help you. They also hope to draw-out any information that may hurt your case.
Anything you say to them or their employees could be used against you in court. The Rules of Evidence are complicated, but almost anything that you personally say can come in as evidence in court. That means things that you tell friends, investigators, or the other side can end up in court later. Choose your words carefully, and check with a lawyer if you are ever in doubt about what to say.
They may offer you money to settle the case without going to court and hiring a lawyer. Ultimately, those offers will probably be far less than you deserve for your case. In some cases, they may actually be reasonable – but they still might not account for things you deserve. It is best to check with an attorney regarding any settlement offers.
In order to protect yourself – and your case – it’s essential that you hire an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who knows how to put all of a case’s pieces together. With the Truck Accident Team, you have the most effective advocates on your side to protect you and fight for you and your family. Call us at (800) 896-6173 to discuss your case.