Trucking accidents are some of the most serious given the size and mass of semis and the trailers that they haul. Because these cases can often involves serious injury, they require a serious investigation in order to establish liability early on. Here are the top five things to address when you are dealing with the immediate aftermath of the truck accident involving serious bodily injury.
- Make sure all witnesses are located and have provided a statement. In truck accident cases, there is no substitute for human witnesses providing their account of how the accident happened. Because memories fade over time, locating witnesses, getting their contact information, and taking a statement of them is vitally important to preserving recollections and accounts of how an accident took place.
- Like airlines and many motor vehicles, modern semi trucks have “black boxes” inside of them which records vital information about the truck and its performance. Advising the trucking company in issue to preserve all “black box” data is critical to preserving evidence relevant to your truck accident case. Depending on the age and model of the semi in issue, “black box” data can be obtained and provide important information about things such as: vehicle speed prior to impact; braking application prior to impact; and RPM of engine prior impact. Often times, if black box data is not preserved, it may be conveniently “lost” or overwritten. Therefore, it is vitally important to put a trucking company on notice of your desire to preserve all black box data very early in a case.
- If the accident is one of disputed liability, it oftentimes is prudent to obtain an accident reconstruction, performed by a qualified accident reconstructionist. An accident reconstructionist can analyze black box data, witness statements, and physical evidence from the scene to best determine how an accident actually took place. Again, because physical evidence at an accident scene, like tire markings, guardrail damage, etc. is often times repaired, it is important if one intends to pursue an accident reconstruction to do so very quickly and early in the case. Most firms that specialize in trucking accident cases will pay for the accident reconstruction as part of the case work up and will only require reimbursement if a recovery is made. Again, like witness statements and “black box” preservation, time is of the essence with accident reconstruction!
- Locate all available sources of insurance coverage: liability, medical, and auto-med pay.The medical bills which a company a truck accident case are often outrageously high. While the trucking company’s liability coverage will likely take care of medical expenses in the long term (when the case is resolved) the liability coverage will not be available to take care of medical expenses in the short term (before the case is resolved). This is because liability insurance does not pay medical expenses incurred relevant to a case in piecemeal fashion. Therefore, it is important to have some insurance to cover medical expenses prior to a recovery being made from liability coverage.Health insurance and one’s own auto med pay coverage can often fill in the gap while one awaits settlement with the liability insurance company. However, apportioning healthcare coverage between auto med pay and health insurance can sometimes be tricky. Also, resolving the liens which often times arise when private health insurance pays medical expenses related to an accident can also be tricky and require a skilled legal professional.So, sorting out the different types of coverage available, deciding which coverage to use and when, is an important aspect of any trucking accident case.
- Get an experienced Indianapolis lawyer!If one through four above seems overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! An experienced attorney who has handled trucking cases before will know each of the four steps above and many more. If you’ve never done a trucking accident case prior to the one you are involved in or have some connection to, it would be nearly impossible to execute steps one through four above and successfully handle your case. That’s why step number five is to get carpet it legal help. Don’t handle your situation alone and make a mess of it! Call Rob King and associates trial lawyers for a free consultation today!