Truck accident victims often worry about how to pay their bills while recovering from a major injury. While you have a legal right to pursue compensation, obtaining a fair and full recovery that includes all of your costs hinges on what you do at the scene and what steps you take in the weeks after the accident. Here are five key actions to take to protect yourself legally when you’ve been seriously hurt in a Virginia truck crash.
1. Call Law Enforcement
No matter the extent of the damage to your vehicle or how hurt you feel after the crash, always call 911 and have law enforcement investigate the collision. You need to ensure the accident is documented and the police file a report.
While interacting with law enforcement and the negligent driver, it is critical to never admit fault in any way. Simply stick to the facts and let the police investigate the accident.
2. Gather Evidence at the Scene if Possible
If you aren’t hurt badly enough that you need to immediately head to the emergency room, take the time to gather evidence that can be crucial in a lawsuit or while dealing with insurance. Be sure to take pictures of
- Your vehicle
- The truck that caused the accident
- Any other vehicles involved
- Skid marks on the ground
- Weather conditions
In addition to snapshots of the scene, talk with any eyewitness bystanders who can describe what occurred in the accident and obtain their contact information so your lawyer can speak with them later.
3. Follow Medical Advice
After documenting the scene and allowing the police to investigate, the next order of business is to see a doctor. Let a medical professional look for dangerous internal injuries or physical trauma you may have experienced but haven’t noticed yet due to the adrenaline released during an accident.
Besides finding injuries, heading to the emergency room documents the fact that you were injured and that the injury occurred due to the truck accident. A paper trail is also started that provides proof of how your injury is impacting your life. What you do after seeing the doctor can also directly impact your ability to recover compensation, however. Make sure to:
- Take any prescribed medications as directed
- Attend all scheduled doctor or physical therapy appointments
- Follow your physician’s directions about physical activity after the crash
Missing appointments or failing to follow doctor's orders can directly impede your financial recovery as you begin the process of dealing with the insurance company.
4. Interact With Insurers and Social Media Carefully
There’s no question that insurance can be extremely helpful after an accident, but only if you take the right steps. As a business seeking to make a profit, your insurance provider will look for ways to pay out as little as possible or to avoid paying at all. Don’t give an adjuster a reason to reduce or deny your claim. Politely refuse to provide a recorded statement and do not agree to a blanket release of all your medical records. Instead, let your attorney handle communicating with the insurance agent.
Don’t forget to take into account the role social media can play in your recovery as well. Avoid discussing the accident online, and make sure not to post any photos of yourself that could be misconstrued by insurance and used to claim you aren’t actually hurt.
5. Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
Besides offering advice on how to avoid problems with insurers, an attorney plays another critical role by presenting all the evidence necessary to prove your injury was caused by negligence. That may involve preventing the trucking company from destroying evidence, as well as gathering information like hiring and training documents, driving logs, medical records, and truck “black box” data.