What to Do After an Atlanta Truck Accident
After a trucking accident you need solid answers to the many questions you may have. Here are a few of the questions and answers* our firm can answer for you:
- Assuming I’m not badly hurt, what should I do in the moments after a wreck?
- Why do some symptoms only show up hours or days after the accident?
- How can I begin to recover physically, emotionally, and financially?
- The other driver’s insurance will pay the bills, right?
- Will I need to file a lawsuit to recover my losses?
- Isn’t hiring a lawyer a big expense if there isn’t going to be a lawsuit?
*Please feel free to call our law firm for free answers to your many other questions and concerns. Our attorneys will answer your questions and evaluate your case at no charge.
What must be done in the moments after a wreck?
It may be difficult in these situations to keep your head on straight. Nevertheless, there are things that must be done at the scene of an accident to protect not just your body, but also your future. When you find yourself embroiled in a crash, here are the common sense things that must be done if you are un-injured and mobile.
- Stop at the accident scene- You should never leave the scene of an accident without stopping. Even if you feel that you were not at fault, it is possible that you could be cited for hit-and-run and/or leaving the scene of an accident if you fail to stop at the scene.
- Contact police or law enforcement– Officers can come to the scene and draft an accident or incident report which is necessary for insurance purposes and may be useful if the trucker tries to blame the accident on another cause or on you or otherwise tries to claim that he/she is not the person at fault for causing the crash.
- Get the names, addresses and identifying information of those at the accident scene– This includes not just the name and employer information of the truck driver who hit you, but also the names of any eyewitnesses who saw the accident. It can become very difficult to track down witnesses after an accident if no one got their contact information on the scene.
- Take photographs of the accident scene, the damage to the vehicles and your injuries –All of this will be immensely useful in proving the extent of the damage, helping to prove who caused the accident and helping to prove your case.
- Report the accident to your own car insurance representative or company– It is very important to notify your motor vehicle insurance company that you were the victim of a trucking (or any other vehicle) accident. Failure to tell your insurer about the crash can have serious consequences and could even cause the Insurance Company to pull or deny coverage. However, we usually recommend that you do not provide the insurance company for the at-fault driver or company with any type of written or audio recorded form or statement about the crash without first consulting an attorney.
- Keep copies of all receipts, accident reports and other documentation– This information can be crucial in establishing the damages that you have suffered during the truck accident.
Even if you think you’ve not been badly injured, it’s a good idea to treat any collision as if it were a big one. Often, after the adrenaline rush has subsided, you will find that you are suffering from any number of bumps, bruises, soft tissue or even internal injuries. The more information you have about the collision; who was involved, the names and addresses of witnesses, and other documentation could be very helpful later.
Why do some symptoms only show up hours or days after the accident?
When your body becomes aware of a danger, it acts immediately to protect you. Within fractions of seconds, all non-essential internal activities like digestion of food stop. Your heart beats faster, and your lungs work harder. Oxygen and blood flow are re-directed to your brain, and your muscles so that you can think fast and act quickly to save your life. Scientists call this the flight or fight reaction and it’s your body’s first response to stress. (Unfortunately, your body doesn’t differentiate between good stress – as in a first kiss or bad stress – as in a truck accident. Your body reacts precisely the same way in any stressful situation, which causes any number of stress-related illnesses including stomach ulcers and cancer.)
The hormone adrenaline floods your bloodstream almost instantly when there is a danger. Adrenaline signals the flight or fight reaction immediately so that you can decide if you want to stop and fight with the Tyrannosaurus Rex chasing you or continue trying to outrun him. Adrenaline also masks pain for the same reason – you can fight mighty enemies better when you don’t hurt.
This is the reason it may take time for all your injuries to show themselves.
How can I begin to recover physically, emotionally, and financially?
As we said earlier, the consequences of a collision with a truck or even with another car can be far-reaching. From a financial standpoint, it will take some time to fully realize the extent of the damages done. From medical bills to time lost from work and the unforeseen implications these tragedies visit upon us, the financial cost hit can seem insurmountable.
Your savings, no matter how faithfully you’ve planned and put money aside for a rainy day, will probably not survive the initial medical bills. The cost of a two-day stay in the hospital, let alone the staggering cost of a surgery, should it be necessary, could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The other driver’s insurance will pay the bills, right?
The at-fault driver’s insurance or the trucking company’s self-insurance pool or administrator may help, but the sad fact is, trucking companies and insurance companies usually do not release money easily. Even though the reasoning behind carrying an insurance policy is to pay for damages in the event of an accident, it seems as if nobody told the insurance company that.
Getting money from an insurance carrier can be an enormous battle. While they may dispatch an insurance adjuster who may seem eager to help you, often the mission of an insurance adjuster is to try to persuade you to settle quickly and for the least amount of money possible. They act fast in order to take advantage of the fact that you may not know what the accident will have cost you in the end.
Even if your injuries don’t seem to be ones that will affect you long term, there is always a chance there will be complications or other accident-related costs you have not yet considered or discovered. A personal injury legal team that works with injury claims on a daily basis can help evaluate all of your costs and compensable damages, even some you might not have considered.
If you don’t learn another thing from reading this article, please remember this. Insurance adjusters and trucking company representatives job is NOT to act in your best interest, but to preserve the assets of the company. They are businesses acting on behalf of their own company and the people they insure or employ, not you or your family.
Before you even have a conversation with an insurance adjustor or trucking company representative, we recommend consulting with an attorney who specializes in trucking accident personal injury claims. By talking with an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can get an idea of what your injuries and damages will amount to over the period of your life.
Will I need to file a lawsuit to recover my losses?
Many claims can be settled without filing a lawsuit. And, sometimes a lawsuit may be necessary to handle disputes about how the accident happened, who is at fault and to what degree, or if the company is not making a fair settlement offer. In trucking case, working with a lawyer is almost always recommended, due to the many facts that are often unknown immediately after the accident, such as whether the driver was properly trained by his employer, how the truck was maintained, whether truck driver was fatigued, and whether there have been violations of the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act) or State regulations. Even if you are not sure what to do, contacting a personal injury lawyer right away following a trucking accident is a good idea. Often the value of a semi-truck or commercial truck or vehicle collision case cannot be known without a thorough investigation.
From the very beginning of your ordeal, a lawyer who specializes in car/truck accidents can help to preserve evidence and begin the investigation of the truck accident immediately so no details are missed. This is especially important when you were unable to get the details in the moments following the accident.
Your lawyer can obtain the accident report, speak to witnesses, get important driving records, obtain trucking company records, and take statements from first responders and ambulance personnel. These sources can be critical in proving that you were the victim of negligence or recklessness on the part of the at-fault driver.
Isn’t hiring a lawyer a big expense if there isn’t going to be a lawsuit?
The Millar Law Firm handles all trucking cases on a contingent fee, meaning that we do not charge money up-front to investigate your case. And, we believe that all trucking accident cases must be thoroughly investigated and approached as if the claim will end up in a court room. Why? In order to negotiate from a position of power, we need to have all the evidence at our disposal as quickly as possible. It is important that we have all the information at our fingertips when we speak with representatives from the insurance company. Even if the case settles, it generally will settle for far more after an attorney investigates and presents a formal demand than the insurance company or trucking company will pay if the case is not investigated or handled by an experienced law firm with a reputation for filing suit, and winning, truck accident lawsuits.
An excellent personal injury lawyer will do his best to preserve and protect your legal rights under Georgia law.
The Millar Law Firm has always been dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of negligence and reckless behavior. Our legal team has over 65-years of experience representing those who have been injured and damaged in countless ways as a result of somebody else’s carelessness.
Because we have been at this for so long, we have a formidable reputation as hard-ball players. We like to think insurance company lawyers shudder when they learn that they will be dealing with our team. And, our record of wins demonstrates that we do have the winning edge.
Call our office today for our free case evaluation. Get your questions answered and your claim investigated now.