Being involved in any type of traffic accident in Texas can be frightening and confusing. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and not know exactly what you are supposed to do in the aftermath of a crash. This is especially true in a serious or catastrophic accident, such as one involving a commercial truck. There are many different causes for these types of accidents, so we’ve compiled some helpful tips for you. If you need to, write down the following steps and keep the list in your glovebox for emergencies. Taking the correct steps immediately after a truck accident can go a long way toward protecting your legal rights as a victim.
Always call the police after a truck accident in Texas. State law requires immediate crash reporting to local law enforcement if the accident involves property damage in excess of $1,000, or injuries or deaths. Most truck accidents meet this threshold. Even if you’re not sure if your crash is serious enough to require reporting, calling the police can help you by creating an official accident report with key details about the crash. Your insurance company will ask for a copy of this report later to process your claim.
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, do what you can to gather information. If you are too badly injured, let the police get this information for you while you’re assisted by paramedics. If possible, however, you should always exchange information with the other driver. This includes your full name, address and insurance information. It can also be helpful to write down the truck number and name of the trucking company (often found on the side of the cab of the truck), as well as the vehicle registration and license plate numbers. You will use this information for your insurance claim.
If possible, take pictures at the scene of the truck accident before you leave to go to a hospital. Photographs and videos of the crash before it is cleaned up can provide important information about why the crash took place, such as photographs of a dangerous pothole in the road or a blown-out tire on the truck. If you are too badly injured to take photos yourself, ask someone else at the scene to take them for you, such as the reporting police officer, a friend or family member, or an eyewitness. Writing down eyewitness information can also be useful.
Never delay in seeking medical care after a traffic accident. Even if you don’t have health insurance, you’re in a hurry to get somewhere or you feel fine, it is imperative to take the time to see a doctor right away. Delaying medical care can make it more difficult to obtain fair compensation from an insurance company, even if you didn’t cause the accident, as the insurer may allege that you failed to mitigate your injuries by waiting too long to see a doctor. Keep in mind that some injuries have delayed symptoms due to the adrenaline of the crash. Getting an immediate medical evaluation can diagnose a hidden injury.
Call your auto insurance company as soon as possible – ideally within 24 hours of the truck accident. Explain that you were involved in an accident with a commercial truck and provide the basic details about the crash, such as the time, date and location. Do not admit fault for the accident, however, and do not agree to give the insurance claims adjuster a recorded statement.
Remember that your insurance company is not on your side. The insurer wants to save itself money by minimizing your payout. Whether or not you manage to carry out all of these steps, a truck accident lawyer in Dallas can help you with an accident claim. A lawyer can assist you with the necessary processes while protecting your rights. A lawyer can also negotiate with an insurance company to increase your chances of securing fair compensation.