Steps to Take After a Semi-Trailer Truck Accident in Waldorf, MD
Semi-truck accidents are one of the most frightening experiences a person could ever go through. It is natural to feel confused about the appropriate action to take afterwards. However, taking the right steps after a tractor-trailer accident in Waldorf, MD is extremely important for any future claim you may file.
Steps to Take Immediately After a Maryland Truck Accident
The steps you take immediately following a Maryland truck accident can help protect your legal rights. Some of the most important steps include:
- Call the police. Maryland law does not require you to report every accident. Still, you must report serious crashes to law enforcement. There is usually no such thing as a minor semi-truck accident. Calling the police immediately afterwards can ensure you are complying with the law while also providing documentation that could help in a future claim.
- Preserve evidence. The best time to collect evidence after a semi-truck accident is immediately following the crash. Over time, evidence may disappear and memories may fade. While you are still at the scene, take pictures of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, and your injuries. Also obtain the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses.
- Exchange information. You should exchange your driver’s license number, insurance information, names and contact information with every party involved in the crash.
- Seek medical attention. Your health is the most important priority after an accident. You should seek medical help as soon as possible. If your injuries are serious, call 911 so medical help will come to the scene. It is important to do all you can to prevent your injuries from becoming worse.
After you have sought medical help, call a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can advise you about your accident case and handle all communication with the insurance company.
Our Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer in Waldorf Can Help You
Do I Need to See a Doctor After a Semi-Truck Accident?
Truck accidents often result in very serious injuries. However, even if you feel fine immediately after the crash, it is important to still see a doctor as soon as possible for a complete exam. You may think you sustained only minor injuries that you do not think warrant a trip to the doctor.
Failing to go to the doctor though, is a big mistake. Below are just a few of the most important reasons to see a doctor after a truck accident.
- Discover hidden injuries. Some of the most serious injuries may not show symptoms right away. Internal organ damage, traumatic brain injuries, as well as back, neck, and spinal injuries are just a few examples. A doctor can examine you for these injuries and recommend immediate treatment to prevent them from becoming worse.
- Document the injuries. You will have to prove many elements of your case, including the full extent of your injuries. Medical reports can provide the necessary documentation to establish the link between the truck accident and your injuries.
- Avoid disputes. If you do not see a doctor right away after your truck accident, the insurance company could argue that you were not injured because you did not seek medical treatment. Medical reports will prevent these disputes and further protect your claim.
It is not only important to see a doctor after the crash, but to follow all treatments they recommend. This will assist with your recovery and help prevent future disputes with the insurance company, as well.
Proving Liability for a Semi-Truck Accident in Waldorf
Proving liability in a semi-truck accident is extremely difficult. You must prove another party’s negligent actions caused the accident that resulted in injuries and other losses.
First you must determine which party was negligent. This is easier to do when an accident only involves two passenger cars, as it was likely one or the other driver was at fault. Truck accident cases can involve many potentially liable parties, including:
- The truck driver – Most people think it is usually the negligence of the truck driver that causes a crash. Sometimes, this is true. Truck drivers who follow another vehicle too closely, fail to check their blind spots, or acts in any other negligent way may be found liable for a truck accident, for example.
- The trucking company – Trucking companies are responsible for making sure they hire only capable, competent, and experienced drivers. They must also train all new drivers appropriately. When trucking companies do not check the driving background of an employment candidate or do not provide proper training, the company can be found liable if the driver’s negligence causes a crash. Trucking companies are also generally liable for their drivers’ negligence as employees, even if they have labeled them as independent contractors or owner operators.
- The loading company – Cargo must be loaded carefully onto a truck. If it is not, it can shift during transport, throwing off the balance of the entire truck. When this happens, loading companies can be held liable for a crash.
- The truck manufacturer – Just like all manufacturers, truck manufacturers are responsible for ensuring their trucks are safe for the road. When a defective truck or defective equipment on a truck causes a crash, the manufacturer can be held liable.
- Inspection or maintenance company – Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring their trucks are regularly inspected and maintained. The companies they hire to do this work are also responsible for inspecting the truck properly, and making all necessary repairs in an effective manner.
- Another driver – The liable party does not always involve the truck. Another driver could have cut the truck driver off, or otherwise acted negligently and caused a crash.
Determining who is liable for a truck accident is important, but you must also be able to prove it. To do this, you will need strong evidence. Any evidence you can collect from the scene of the accident could be vitally important to your case. When working with a truck accident lawyer, they may also conduct a follow-up investigation to collect evidence such as video surveillance from nearby businesses.
A lawyer can also help you collect evidence you otherwise would not have access to. For example, the trucking company will not likely turn over their log books and training manuals voluntarily. Or, you may need access to the truck driver’s cell phone records to prove they were texting at the time of the crash. Many trucks have “black boxes” that record data about the vehicle’s speed, brake and steering inputs, and more. Although this evidence is not available at the accident scene, a lawyer can subpoena this evidence to strengthen your claim.
A semi-truck accident lawyer may also work with expert accident reconstructionists to determine what really happened in the crash.
What to Say to Insurance Adjusters After a Truck Accident in Waldorf, Maryland
Shortly after the crash, an insurance adjuster working for the trucking company or truck driver may call you. They want to speak to you as soon as possible, and may even visit you in the hospital. No matter how they contact you, they will act very friendly and as though they are on your side. They may even tell you that they will take care of everything and make sure you receive the fair settlement you deserve. Do not believe them.
The priority of the insurance company rests with the business, and retaining more of their profits instead of paying fairly out on claims. While they are speaking to you, they are actually looking for ways to reduce, deny, or delay your claim. You may state that you are sorry the accident happened at all, or that you feel bad for the truck driver as well, only to show empathy. The insurance adjuster will take your words out of context, and argue that you must have been at fault because you apologized for the accident.
The insurance adjuster may also try to trick you into signing away your rights. They may ask you to sign a medical release. The reason they want you to do this is so they can comb through your medical records looking for a pre-existing condition. If they find one, they will blame your injuries on that condition and not the crash. Or, they may ask you to sign a settlement offer that is far too low to fully cover the cost of your injuries and other losses.
These reasons highlight why it is so important to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. When you are working with an attorney, you can simply tell the adjuster to speak to your lawyer about the crash and you do not have to say anything more to them at all.
How Can Trollinger Law Help Me?
If you have been injured in a truck accident in Waldorf, you need help bringing order to the disorder caused by such a traumatic event. Speak to our truck accident lawyer in Waldorf at Trollinger Law today. We know how to prove which party was to blame for your truck accident and how to pursue the full and fair settlement you deserve.
We have been a guiding hand for truck accident victims and their families throughout the state of Maryland for years. You can count on us to stick by your side from start to finish. Trollinger Law has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of tractor-trailer accident victims and can help your family with your case as well.
Call us today or contact us online for a free case evaluation of our skilled attorney.