Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
The steps taken after a truck accident will be similar to those taken after a car accident. However, truck accidents often involve severe injuries and fatalities, and victims are not always able to walk away from the accident. Whether you are the injured party or you are the spouse or child of a deceased loved one, taking quick action following a truck accident can be critical to preserving evidence and documentation supportive of a lawsuit.
Step 1 – Seek Medical Help
Truck accident injuries tend to be much more severe than injuries suffered in car wrecks. As such, a truck accident victim will likely need the help of another person to (1) call 911, and (2) obtain medical treatment at a nearby hospital. In the event an injury victim walks away from a truck accident, they should still seek a medical evaluation to document and diagnose injuries caused by the accident.
Step 2 – Obtain All Available Documents and Evidence
Evidence is critical to the success of a trucking accident insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Examples of items you should document as an accident victim or as a legal representative of an accident victim include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Take photographs and/or videos of the accident scene (before the scene is altered by investigators, if possible);
- Obtain witness statements;
- Obtain copies of all police reports, accident reports, and any other reports generated by any party following the truck accident; and
- Obtain copies of your medical records (or the medical records of your loved one).
Truck accidents undergo a thorough investigation by state and federal regulatory agencies. A black box recorder should be available for all parties to review following an accident to determine whether any data can shed light on the cause of an accident.
Step 3 – Contact Your Car Insurance Provider
If you are involved in a truck wreck, you are obligated to notify your insurance company of the accident. You are not obligated, however, to provide recorded statements to the truck's insurance company, which is often requested by an insurance agent or adjuster.
Step 4 – Consider Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Truck accidents involve multiple parties, which can make resolving a truck accident insurance claim complicated, time-consuming, and stressful. Facing your own insurance company is difficult enough. Having to deal with multiple insurance companies is simply too much for an injured person to handle following a truck accident. If you have suffered injuries in a trucking accident, an attorney can help you explore legal options that are not limited to filing an insurance claim on your own. Our attorneys can determine what course of action will benefit you or your loved one the most.
How to Recover Damages in a Truck Accident Lawsuit
Individuals who suffer serious and debilitating injuries in a truck accident are up against multiple parties in a personal injury lawsuit. The same is true for wrongful death lawsuits. Injured victims need to seek compensation from the parties responsible for causing the accident. In many cases, a truck driver’s negligent conduct may have caused an accident. In other cases, the truck driver’s employer may have failed to properly train the truck driver or failed to ensure the truck was safe to drive.
Recovering damages in the form of compensation requires a showing of the following:
- The truck driver and/or employer/trucking company owed a duty of care to the injured or deceased plaintiff;
- The truck driver and/or employer/trucking company breached its duty of care;
- The truck driver’s conduct and/or the conduct of the employer/trucking company was the actual cause of the plaintiff’s injuries or death;
- The truck driver’s conduct and/or the conduct of the employer/trucking company was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries or death (meaning that no other act intervened to cause the injuries or death, and that the injuries or death were foreseeable); and
- The plaintiff suffered damages in the form of physical injuries (death in some cases) and economic harm.
In Pennsylvania, injured plaintiffs have to file a lawsuit within two years of a truck accident. The same rule applies to legal representatives (typically surviving spouses or adult children) who wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their deceased loved one.
Additionally, under Pennsylvania law, a plaintiff can recover compensation awarded at trial in an amount that is commensurate with the defendant’s apportionment of fault, so long as the plaintiff is not more than fifty percent at fault for causing their own injuries.
How Goldberg, Goldberg & Maloney Can Help You
Our team of skilled West Chester, Pennsylvania truck accident attorneys have the requisite knowledge, experience, resources, and dedication to help injured victims seek recovery for what they have been through. No lawsuit is an easy fight. You deserve a team of legal professionals who will put your interests and the interests of your loved ones first.