Being involved in a truck accident can be traumatic, dangerous, and devastatingly costly. Even a seemingly minor collision with a large commercial vehicle can result in serious injuries and extensive property damage that requires complex legal help to recoup losses. However, taking quick, informed action and documenting critical details on the scene are the best ways to build a strong legal case down the road.
In the chaotic aftermath of a crash, it is crucial to know and protect your rights regarding medical care, gathering evidence, reporting the incident to authorities, and liability processes. Carefully follow key steps like seeking immediate medical attention for any possible injuries sustained. A Las Vegas truck accident lawyer will be your guide throughout the process.
Steps to Take Right After a Truck Accident
Immediately after a collision with a large truck, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention if you have any injuries. Even if your injuries seem minor, some symptoms of trauma may not show up right away. Getting promptly checked out and treated can document injuries for your claim.
Next, if it is safe to do so, you’ll want to gather as much evidence from the accident scene as possible. Take photos of the vehicles’ positions, damage, and any tire marks or debris. Try to get witness contact info and police badge numbers. Video or audio record witness statements if allowed.
You should report the motor vehicle crash to authorities like the police and your insurance provider right away. Provide only the necessary details and refrain from speculating on fault pending an official accident investigation. Retain any police reports, medical records, and insurance documents for your records.
What to Do if You Aren’t Seriously Injured
Even if you don’t have noticeable injuries after a truck collision, you should still get examined by a doctor. Adrenaline and shock can mask symptoms that show up later as headaches, muscle strains, or other problems. Getting checked out creates a record of your health post-crash for your claim.
If a medical evaluation gives you a clean bill of health, continue gathering evidence and reporting the incident. Take photos and video of property damage, crash debris, skid marks, and the accident location. Get witness info, police report records, insurance claim numbers, and any facility or company names related to the truck or driver.
While waiting for the police report, craft your own thorough account of what happened for your records. Describe details like the truck’s movements prior to impact, any noticeable tire or brake issues, the drivers’ behaviors, weather conditions, and more. Avoid speculating on fault before investigations are finished.
What to Know When Speaking to the Insurance Adjuster and Other Parties
When describing a truck accident before an official crash report is complete, it may not be in your best interest to make guesses about who was responsible based on limited information. Guessing about how an accident happened often involves subjective statements rather than just stating objective facts. It may be best to avoid guessing how the accident happened when describing the accident to authorities or insurance providers conducting an investigation.
For example, saying, “The truck driver was distracted because he crossed the center line and hit my car,” involves guessing about why the driver crossed the line. An objective statement would say, “The truck crossed the center line and collided with my vehicle.” By sticking to objective statements, you can reduce the risk of making inaccurate or legally problematic communication.
A truck accident attorney from H&P Law can assist you in communicating with insurance adjusters, representatives of the truck company, and any other interested parties. They can also independently investigate the collision to ensure all avenues of liability have been explored.
Figuring Out Who Is Liable
Liability determines who was legally responsible for causing damages in a truck accident, whether due to negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions. Insurance companies will investigate to decide liability based on factors like adherence to regulations, safety defects, and degree of fault. However, insurance company investigations tend to minimize or deny responsibility to avoid paying claims.
Trucking companies can be held liable if safety violations, inadequate driver training, overloaded cargo, faulty equipment, or unrealistic delivery timelines contributed to the crash. Truck manufacturers may also bear responsibility if defective parts play a role. Retaining an independent crash reconstruction expert provides a detailed analysis of all factors contributing to the collision.
Nevada follows the law of comparative negligence for truck accidents. This means the state allows the potential of multiple parties sharing liability. It is vital to follow the statute of limitations and file your claim within the two years allowed; otherwise, you may jeopardize your chance of seeking any compensation.
What to Do When a Company Truck Is Involved
If a commercial truck involved in an accident was being operated for business purposes, finding out what company it belonged to is key. The truck may display logos and contact information, or you can get the license plate number and VIN. Request the police report for this ownership documentation as well.
Do an online search using identifying details to determine the registered owner and motor carrier company responsible for the vehicle and driver. Write down the company addresses, phone numbers, and any identifying DOT numbers provided. Also, document the truck and trailer numbers painted on the sides or back of the vehicles.
The employing trucking company should be named in any police report but request a copy of the report to confirm. The company’s insurance provider will likely be handling the claim. However, the trucking company itself may still bear responsibility if found negligent in maintenance, hiring, training, or scheduling.
Contact a Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney
If you have been in an accident with a truck in the Las Vegas area, it is essential to act quickly to protect your rights. All of the legal jargon can be confusing to someone who doesn’t use it every day. Contact H&P Law for a free consultation to see how and if we can help you with your case and learn the potential best steps forward.