Steps To Take After a Truck Accident
Truck accidents (involving tractor-trailers, semi-trailers, dump trucks, and fire trucks) account for over 20 billion dollars a year in damages, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. With so much money on the line, it’s easy to see why trucking and insurance company personnel arrive on the scene of a truck accident so quickly. These industry representatives are collecting statements, pictures and information to protect the legal and monetary interests of their clients – the trucking companies and their insurance carriers.
If you are involved in a truck accident in Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia, you deserve a legal expert on your side, too. And you should hire an attorney sooner rather than later while the evidence is still fresh.
If you have ever been in an automobile accident, you may think you know what to do in the event of a truck accident. What you might not know is that trucking accidents are different than automobile accidents because of federal laws governing the trucking industry. For example, federal trucking regulations require that evidence must be maintained but only for a limited amount of time. This means evidence pertaining to your accident can legally be destroyed after six months if an attorney doesn’t obtain a court order to preserve it for trial.
If you or a loved one is involved in a truck accident, it is imperative to understand the steps you should take to protect you or your loved one’s claim.
Obtain the following information:
- A copy of the police report, including the report number and name of investigating officer(s)
- License plate number for the truck
- License plate number for the trailer (usually different)
- Any names or identification on the cab and trailer
- Driver information including name, license number, and all contact and insurance information
- Insurance information for the truck owner and trailer owner
- Length of skid marks (if visible)
- The condition of the truck’s tires
- Names and contact information of any witnesses
- Names and contact information of anyone taking pictures or questioning witnesses/participants
In addition to gathering the above information, you should:
- Take photographs if possible
- See a medical doctor for examination as soon as possible
- Obtain a copy of your medical-examination report
- Contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible
There are also a few things you should absolutely not do if involved in a truck accident:
- Do not give statements without first consulting an attorney. You may need to give the police a statement but only give concrete facts. Do not speculate about what might have happened or admit any fault.
- Do not sign anything other than the police report (after carefully reading through it).
Recent Tractor-Trailer and Large Truck Accident Settlements
- $5.4 million expected lifetime payout obtained on behalf of a child severely injured when a tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the vehicle in which she was a passenger.
- $3 million obtained by a woman who lost her leg from the knee down as a result of a collision with a utility truck that struck her vehicle head on after the truck was rear-ended.
- $2.4 million obtained on behalf of a pedestrian struck by a truck while she was walking in the crosswalk. The client sustained a brain injury.
- $1.75 million obtained on behalf of an 80 year old pastor of a community church who was in a car that was struck head-on by a truck that crossed the center line.
- $750,000.00 on behalf of a 54 year old woman who lost a portion of her arm when a tractor-trailer sideswiped her car, as she was returning from Ocean City, Maryland. She received the maximum compensation allowed, at that time, for pain and suffering in the State of Maryland.
- $600,000.00 on behalf of a woman whose vehicle was struck in the rear by a beverage truck. The client suffered a herniated disk in her neck but she had not had the suggested surgery performed at the time of the trial. This was the largest verdict rendered at the time in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia for an unoperated herniated disc.
- $600,000.00 obtained against the United States Postal Service as a result of the negligence of one of its truck drivers, who pulled out from a stop side in front of our client’s motorcycle. Our client suffered multiple fractures and third degree burns to his left lower extremity.
- $450,000.00 verdict by United States District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to a man who suffered back and knee injuries after his van was struck in the rear by a United States Postal Service truck.
- $400,000.00 obtained on behalf of a man involved in a tractor-trailer underride case. The tractor-trailer was blocking the travel portion of the roadway when the client’s car went underneath it, removing the entire roof of the car and causing the client to suffer head injuries.
Call Now for Your Free Consultation: (202) 659-8600
Choosing the right lawyer is not easy, but our record of success and experience should make you confident about trusting your case to us. Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. has more than 90 years of collective legal experience handling truck accident and other personal injury and wrongful death cases. We succeed because of our hands-on investigations, knowledge of federal trucking laws and regulations, and extensive trial practice.
At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our experienced attorneys have decades of experience fighting the trucking industry. All of our partners have been named to the Super Lawyers® list every year since 2011, and have also been past Presidents of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington D.C.