Large semi-tractor trailers traversing roads throughout central and northwest Georgia are nearly all owned by national and international over-the-road freight companies. If you are involved in an accident with one of these large 18-wheelers, how do you even know where to start with your injury claim?
This blog will discuss the steps you should take at the scenedof the wreck or as soon as you possibly can after getting medical attention.
First, you should know that trucking companies are often self-insured
Unlike car drivers with policy coverage they purchase through an auto insurance company, large truck companies often set aside additional money in a specific “self-insurance” fund. They often need it because of the high financial liability they face in the event one of their trucks or drivers causes an accident.
For people injured in a truck accident, it means you will probably hear from the freight company’s insurance carrier, but you should not assume that the insurance settlement is all the money available. There may be a significant amount more; money which you will need to cover the full extent of damages, including ongoing medical treatment, lost earnings over a lifetime and pain and suffering.
Steps to take to help your case
Most important, focus on getting the medical attention you need at the scene and at the hospital before taking any of the following steps. Only take the following steps if you, or someone else in your party, do not require immediate medical attention.
At the scene of the wreck, you (or someone in your party) should try to:
- Immediately make a note about the circumstances of the accident, e.g. time of day, road surface, weather and traffic conditions.
- Use a smartphone to take photos of the accident from as many angles as you can safely manage. Truck companies often have local investigators on call, who may arrive on the scene within minutes of the crash, trying to change or gather critical evidence.
- Record as much identifying information as you can about the truck cab, trailer and driver
- Record contact information from eyewitnesses at the scene
- Do not talk to the driver of the truck. Restrict your comments to the police officer taking the official report
- Report the accident to your own insurance company, but do not make a recorded statement or sign any documents related to the accident
- Do not talk to any insurance adjuster or representative from the truck company’s side
- Talk to a personal injury litigation firm with experience handling truck accidents in the specific geographical region in which the truck wreck occurred.
In northwest and west-central Georgia, you can turn to Gammon, Anderson & McFall, in Cedartown.