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What Should I Do After A Truck Accident?

Semi Truck Accident

Looking at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s statistics, light and large trucks accounted for a high number of crashes in 2016.

  • Fatal Crashes – 24,282
  • Injury Crashes – 1,639,000
  • Property Damage Only – 3,849,000

The cause of a truck crash varies. For smaller passenger trucks it could be just about anything from an impaired driver to speed. For large trucks (tractor-trailers), these five reasons were most common:

  • Brake issues
  • Not driving for the road/weather conditions
  • Not knowing the roadway
  • Problems with the roads
  • Over-the-counter medications

This covers any crash with a tractor-trailer. When it comes to crashes between a passenger car and tractor-trailer, the most common causes are:

  • Sudden traffic flow changes
  • Not knowing the roadway
  • Not seeing vehicles in blind spots
  • Speed
  • Illegal maneuvers

What do you do if you’re in a crash with a truck? There are three important steps to take straight off. Get the other driver’s information, take plenty of photos, and seek medical treatments. Those are just three of the things you need to do. Here are others.

File an Accident Report

Damage in a truck crash can be extensive. You probably need to call the police, but if you didn’t, make sure you file an accident report. You can do this at a local police station or some states allow online reports. You’re required to by law if the damage if over a certain amount. Repair costs can add up fast. According to Insurance.com, these are the five most common auto body repairs and their costs:

  • Bumper repair – $350 to $450 on a small sedan
  • Deep scratches – $1,000 to $3,500
  • Rear bumper replacement – Up to $10,000 if the frame is also bent
  • Suspension repairs – Up to $5,000 depending on what is damaged
  • Windshield replacement – $300 to $400 for most cars, upwards of $4,000 for some luxury vehicles

Even what seems like a minor repair can quickly put you up to the monetary limit that makes an accident report required. If your state’s laws require you to file an accident report if the damage is $1,500 or more, the cost of a new tire, rim, and bodywork to the side fender could easily put you up over that amount.

Talk to Your Insurance Company

Start the claims process by calling your insurance company. They often handle the preliminary negotiations with the other driver’s insurance. Expect a call from that insurance company who will ask for your side of the story.

During the call, you’ll be asked to share the details of the accident, the accident report number if you have it, the name of the officer and any injuries. You’ll give out the other driver’s name, contact information for any witnesses, and the other driver’s insurance information. You also need to know where your car is now. A claims adjuster will want to look at your car and determine the damages.

Keep Track of Everything

When possible, try to interact with claims agents via the email. You’ll have written documentation to help you know exactly what’s been said. Plus, it makes it easy to send photocopies of bills that get added to the claim.

Hopefully, you managed to get photos of the accident scene. If you have dash cam footage, that’s also helpful. Store that on a separate thumb drive and in a cloud-based storage option like Dropbox or Google Drive. If you have the files stored in a couple of places, you’re less likely to lose anything. It also makes it easier to share with agents and attorneys if you decide to sue.

Keep a journal of who you’ve talked to over the phone and take notes during the call. The more information you have, the more helpful it is if you need to file a personal injury claim.

Should You Sue?

Court trials take time. You shouldn’t let this keep you from getting a fair settlement. Insurance companies base their settlement offer on the value of your vehicle, your medical bills, lost wages or time from school, and sometimes pain and suffering. That offer may not look into the anxiety you feel weeks or months later that prevents you from driving. It may not consider the amount of time you have to take off work for therapy to deal with PTSD following a crash.

What you should do is talk to an attorney with expertise in truck crashes. KJT Law Group offers free case evaluations. We’ll give you an honest assessment and tell you if the insurance company’s settlement offer is fair or if you have a valid personal injury case. Call us today (818) 507-8525.

Sources:

https://cdan.nhtsa.gov/SASStoredProcess/guest

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief

https://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/coverage/insurance-for-auto-body-repairs.html

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