Truck Accident Checklist: Know How to Preserve Your Rights
Most people understand what to do in the case of a car accident: make sure everyone is okay, call for assistance if need be, swap insurance information and if need be, call the police. Colorado truck accidents are a whole other ballgame entirely. Drivers of commercial vehicles are generally covered by their employers' liability policies and not their own. There are some other key differences.
Why Commercial Liability Insurers Are Not Your Friend
Tractor trailers may be slow, but the insurers who have to cover bodily and property damage are not. Semis involved in Colorado truck accidents and throughout the country are not cheap, more than top-end BMWs or other luxury cars. Since they are bigger, they are also more deadly and cause thousands of deaths each year, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Trucking accident fatalities around here, generally speaking, occur predominantly in the suburbs of Denver although they are of course not limited to that area.
According to the Wall Street Journal, many commercial trucking accident cases may go above $1 million because of the substantial medical care involved as well as lost quality of life. Insurance companies do not have any vested interest in paying out those sums of money, especially because many offer liability policies that are far below those amounts.
Here are a few steps that make sense in any accident, truck or multi-car or even a single-car pileup:
- Assess injuries and call for help if needed - not only is this common courtesy but the injuries caused by trucks weighing more than 20 tons could be life-threatening. In addition, the medical staff at a local hospital will be able to start creating documentation and help keep track of your injuries.
- Exchange information - this does not include statements that someone might ask you to sign. It does include the license plates of the various vehicles as well as insurance carrier information and even driver's license numbers. You don't need to see it, but this information will help a Colorado tractor trailer accident attorney get access to the trucker's logbook.
- Wait for first responders and law enforcement - Even if you or your passengers have only suffered minor injuries, you could be cited for leaving the scene of an accident and that could be considered a sign that you may have played a role in the collision in the first place. The other advantage is that the police who respond to the call will also be able to write up a reporter potentially even more.
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Focus on Facts and Speak No Evil
As noted above, liability insurance carriers involved in potential payouts for Colorado truck accident victims have little interest in trying to pay out money for damages and injuries. So claims investigators may come as soon as possible or even on the scene of the accident to speak to you. Remember that anything that you can say may be turned against to you when you are looking to seek payments of medical bills. Most truck accident attorneys recommend not talking to anyone but your own insurer, first responders and any qualified legal professionals you may ask for help.
The other major detail is to get as much information from a law enforcement officer at the scene of the crash as possible. While the Colorado State Patrol, for example, includes significant training in its curriculum for troopers in accident reconstruction that is not true of all local police. Still, they are trained to take as many notes as possible. This can help a personal injury lawyer in Colorado with experts in accident reconstruction to provide a full picture of what happened.
When in doubt, as noted above, your phone or camera is your friend. If you can take pictures of the scene of the accident, do so at any opportunity. The more information the better and this is especially true when potential disabilities and long-term injuries could result. As with talking about outside insurance staff, though, make sure to hold on to your phone or camera unless advised by a legal professional.
Get Help with Your Truck Driving Accident Injuries Today
Regardless of state statutes, personal injury attorneys like those at Anderson Hemmat have helped victims of Colorado truck accidents caused by negligence or other causes through the use of evidence available and other means. Call us at (303) 782-9999 or fill out the our case evaluation form today for a no-cost, hassle-free consultation about your potential injury case.