What To Do After a Truck Accident
When a truck accident occurs, it can be a life-altering event. The aftermath is often filled with confusion, fear, and overwhelming challenges. At The Callahan Law Firm, we understand the complexities surrounding truck accidents and the immense toll they can take on individuals and families.
In this article, we will provide valuable insights and guidance on what to do after a truck accident, empowering you with the knowledge to make informed decisions. We will delve into critical steps to take, potential challenges you may face, and the importance of having a qualified truck accident lawyer by your side.
Don’t face the aftermath of a truck accident alone. Let us be your advocates and protect you during this challenging time. Read on to gain the necessary tools to navigate the path to justice and recovery.
What Are the Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Have you heard the adage, “Prevention is better than cure”? Although accidents cannot always be avoided, knowing the common causes of truck accidents can help you understand the risks and enhance your driving safety.
- Driver error, which includes distracted driving, speeding, fatigue, etc.
- Unsafe lane changes due to the truck failing to check known blind spots.
- Inadequate training for truck drivers.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Adverse weather conditions.
- Mechanical failures such as brake failures, tire blowouts, faulty steering systems, or engine malfunctions.
- Overloading a truck or improperly securing cargo can lead to imbalanced weight distribution, making the truck unstable and prone to tipping or losing control.
Addressing these causes through improved driver training, proper tractor-trailer inspections, regular vehicle maintenance, adherence to safety regulations, and promoting responsible driving behavior can significantly reduce truck accidents and ensure safer roads for everyone.
But sometimes, even with all the necessary precautions, truck crashes still happen. Here are nine important things to consider if you have been involved in a truck accident.
9 Things to Do After a Truck Accident
After a truck accident in Houston, your safety and health should be your top priorities. The following are recommended steps to ensure that everyone involved remains safe and that crucial information is gathered for later use:
1. Prioritize Safety
- If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location away from traffic.
- Turn on your hazard lights to alert other road users (drivers) of the accident.
2. Check for Injuries
- First, check yourself for any injuries. If you are hurt, stay calm and call for medical help.
- Check on the passengers in your vehicle and others involved in the accident.
- Call 911 immediately to report the accident and request medical assistance if needed.
3. Call the Police
- Report the accident to the police, even if it seems minor. Having an official report can be essential for insurance and legal purposes.
- Wait for the police to arrive and follow their instructions.
4. Preserve the Accident Scene
- Avoid moving vehicles, if possible, until the police arrive.
- If it is safe, take photographs of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, and any relevant signage.
5. Exchange Information
- Obtain contact and insurance details from the truck driver and witnesses at the accident scene.
- Provide your information to others involved in the accident.
6. Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine after the accident, it is important that you seek medical attention promptly. Oftentimes injuries may not be immediately apparent, and delaying medical evaluation can harm your health and potential compensation claim.
The following tips will help you understand why seeking prompt medical attention is essential and how it can help you:
- Prompt medical attention creates a record of your symptoms,and injuries, which can be crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
- Keep track of all medical providers and to the extent possible, records of all medical visits, diagnoses, treatments, and prescriptions related to the accident.
- Follow the doctor’s advice and attend all follow-up appointments.
- Continue any recommended treatment plans and therapies until you have fully recovered.
- Consider keeping a journal of your pain levels, limitations, and progress throughout your recovery process.
- Seeking medical attention and documenting your injuries is essential to making and supporting an injury claim, so make sure your health is a top priority.
7. Gather Evidence
Collecting evidence after a truck accident in Houston or elsewhere in the state of Texas is essential to support your insurance claim or potential legal case. Here are some steps that can be taken to gather important evidence:
- Use your phone or camera to capture images of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, skid marks, and road conditions.
- Photograph any visible injuries you or others sustained.
Obtain Witness Statements:
- Talk to anyone who witnessed the accident and ask for their contact information.
- If they are willing and with permission, consider recording their account of what they saw.
- Keep copies of medical records, hospital bills, and receipts for all accident-related expenses.
- Maintain a file with all documentation related to the accident.
Request a Copy of the Police Report:
- Contact the police department to obtain a copy of the official accident report.
- Review the report for accuracy and report any discrepancies promptly.
Remember, evidence of the crash and how it happened is essential to supporting an injury claim. It’s best to do this as soon as possible after the accident when memories are fresh and evidence is available and still exists.
8. Contact Your Insurance Company
Notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as you can. Follow these steps when talking to your insurance provider:
Report the Accident:
- Contact your insurance company and inform them about the accident.
- Provide accurate details about what happened and the extent of the damages.
Understand Your Insurance Coverage:
- Familiarize yourself with the coverage you have and the benefits you are entitled to.
- Ask questions if anything needs to be clarified.
Cooperate with Your Insurance Company:
- Work with your insurance adjuster and provide all necessary information and documentation they may request. And be very careful in talking with and communicating with the insurance company for the at-fault driver, as their interest is in minimizing any claim you may have and any financial payout they may be required to make. In sum, the insurance company for the other side is not your friend.
- Stick to the facts only when discussing the accident, and avoid making speculative statements.
Your insurance company is there to assist you, but it’s essential to understand your rights and responsibilities to ensure a smooth claims process.
9. Consult with a Truck Accident Attorney
Consider consulting with an experienced truck accident attorney who can evaluate your claim, advise you of your rights, and guide you through this challenging time:
Why you should hire an attorney after a truck accident
- An attorney knows the complexities and nuances of truck accident cases and will protect your rights.
- They will begin preserving and gathering critical evidence to support your claim.
- They will handle communications with the trucking company and their insurance representatives.
- They will evaluate your case, explain the entire process to you and discuss the potential for compensation.
- They will handle your case for you so that you can focus on your health, medical care, and getting your life back on track.
- They will work to make sure you get full and fair justice under the law because of what happened.
Having a skilled truck accident attorney by your side will ease the burden of dealing with legal matters and increase your chances of getting justice.
What Are Some Common Types of Truck Accidents?
According to a 2021 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, large truck accidents accounted for 11% of accidents on the road. These accidents are often more dangerous when compared to accidents involving smaller vehicles, each with unique risks and consequences. Some of these accidents include:
Rear-End Collisions: This type of accident happens when a truck collides with the back of a smaller vehicle, often caused by the truck driver failing to properly manage the space in front of the truck, driver inattention or distraction, and failure to maintain a safe following distance.
Jackknife Accidents: Jackknife accidents occur when a truck’s trailer swings outward from the cab, forming a 90-degree angle or less. This can happen due to sudden braking, skidding, or otherwise losing control of the tractor-trailer.
Rollover Accidents: A truck can overturn onto its side or roof, typically caused by excessive speed, sharp turns, driver fatigue, or a shifting or unbalanced load.
Underride Accidents: This happens when a smaller car or vehicle collides with the side or rear of the trailer and slides underneath it. These type collisions frequently have catastrophic results for occupants of the car. Underride accidents happen for a number of reasons including the tractor-trailer making an unsafe turn, failing to yield the right of way, or disregarding a traffic control device such as a red light or stop sign. In addition, in the United States there is not currently a requirement that tractor-trailers have underride guards on the sides of the trailer to prevent underride accidents, even though it is well known that these guards prevent or significantly reduce underride accidents and the injuries and fatalities that result.
Lost Load Accidents: This occurs when improperly secured cargo falls off a truck.
Shifting Load Accidents: This occurs when improperly secured shifts inside a box trailer or on a flat bed trailer, causing the truck driver to lose control of the tractor-trailer.
Side-Impact Collisions: Also known as “T-bone” accidents, these happen when another vehicle collides with the side of a tractor truck, trailer or box truck.
Wide Turn Accidents: Large trucks require more space to make turns, and when the truck driver does not make the turn safely or correctly, they may collide with vehicles in adjacent lanes.
Brake Failure Accidents: Faulty brakes on a truck can lead to an inability to safely stop or slow down, causing accidents with other vehicles.
Runaway Truck Accidents: This happens when a truck loses control while descending a steep slope due to brake failure or driver error.
Tire Blowouts: When a truck’s tire suddenly bursts while driving, it can lead to loss of control and crashes. Truck drivers have an obligation to perform pre-trip, mid-trip, and post-trip inspections of their vehicles including tires.
Each type of truck accident poses unique risks, often resulting in severe injuries or fatalities due to the size and weight disparity between trucks and smaller vehicles. Preventive measures, responsible driving, proper inspections, and regular maintenance play crucial roles in reducing the occurrence of truck accidents on the roads.
Dealing with the Trucking Company and Their Insurance
Dealing with the trucking company and their insurance after a Houston truck accident will be easier with the help of your attorney. Here are some tips on how to navigate this process cautiously:
Be Cautious with Communication
It is best not to speak or communicate directly with the trucking company’s insurance representatives. Instead, let your attorney handle all these communications.
Rely on Your Attorney
- Let your attorney handle all communication with the trucking company and their insurance representatives.
- Your trucking accident lawyer will protect your rights and work towards obtaining full and fair compensation for you.
Remember, the trucking company and their insurer are well-versed in handling accident claims, so having legal representation ensures you have someone experienced fighting for your best interests.
Have You Been Involved in a Truck Accident?
Being involved in a truck accident in Houston or anywhere in the state of Texas can be a life-altering event. Knowing what steps to take will make a significant difference in your recovery and whether you and your family get justice. Act promptly to ensure your safety, take steps to gather critical evidence, seek medical attention promptly, and work closely with an experienced truck accident attorney.
With over 25 years of experience, the truck accident lawyers at The Callahan Law Firm have the knowledge, skills, and resources that are essential to successfully handle truck accident cases.
We understand that accidents with large commercial vehicles can be traumatic and cause devastating injuries. Our history of experience and success in representing people in truck accident cases in addition to the compassion we have for our clients combine to provide the best results. Contact us today for a free initial consultation and let’s discuss what we can do to help you get the justice you deserve for what happened.
Q: What should a Texas driver do if they are involved in an accident?
A: If a Texas driver is involved in an accident, consider moving the vehicles to a safe place if possible such as the side of the road or in a nearby parking lot. Otherwise, leave the vehicles where they are, turn on hazard lights if possible, and take steps to ensure you and others are safe from other traffic on the road. Check for injuries, call 911, and get contact information from witnesses and those involved in the accident.
Q: Who pays for a car accident in Texas?
A: In Texas, the at-fault driver’s insurance should pay for the damages – bodily injuries and property – from a car accident. Texas follows a fault-based system, meaning the person responsible for the accident is liable for the resulting damages. Their insurance company should provide compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, physical impairment, and more, up to the policy limits.
Q: Is Texas a no-fault driving state?
A: No, Texas is not a no-fault driving state. Texas follows a fault-based system. In no-fault states, each person’s insurance covers medical expenses and other economic losses regardless of fault. However, in fault-based states like Texas, the at-fault driver compensates the other party or parties involved in the accident. The injured person or party can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to seek compensation for their damages.
Michael S Callahan is an attorney and founder of The Callahan Law Firm. He focuses his practice on representing individuals and families in personal injury cases involving motor vehicle and truck accidents, workplace accidents and defective products. With over 25 years of experience, he is dedicated to fighting on behalf of people whose lives have been forever altered by the negligence and carelessness of corporations and individuals. Originally trained as a mechanical engineer, Michael has been practicing law and fighting for justice for those who need it most since 1994. He is board-certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and a member of various esteemed legal associations. Outside of work, Michael enjoys spending quality time with his family, outdoor activities, and continually striving to improve as a trial lawyer and human being.