Being involved in a truck accident in Fairfax can be a terrifying experience and could cause you to suffer life-altering injuries that require long-term medical treatment, limit your ability to work, and reduce your quality of life. If a truck driver's negligence caused the crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses under Virginia law.
Taking the Right Steps After a Truck Crash
The steps you take immediately after the truck wreck can directly impact the damages you recover from the trucker’s insurance company. The experienced Fairfax truck accident lawyers at Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty, & Joshi, PLLC explain the actions you need to take to help win your case and obtain the maximum recovery in your settlement.
Step #1: Call the Police
You should contact the police at the truck crash scene. A law enforcement officer will investigate the wreck and write a police report that will provide you with valuable information you can use to help prove the cause of the truck collision. The police report could include the following information:
- Date, time, and location of the crash
- Details of how the accident happened
- Statements from the truck driver, witnesses, and yourself
- Diagram of the collision scene
- Officer's conclusions as to who was the at-fault party
- Any traffic citations issued
Step #2: Get Prompt Medical Care
Being examined by a physician within 72 hours of your truck accident is essential to protect your health and strengthen your claim for compensation. Even if you do not think you were hurt or you believe your injuries are minor, you should go to urgent care or your primary doctor.
You may not know that you suffered a severe injury, such as a traumatic brain, back, or spinal injury or internal organ damage, because the symptoms could take days or longer to develop. You are more likely to make a full recovery if you receive medical treatment immediately. You also avoid the risk of your medical condition becoming a life-threatening emergency by not delaying seeking medical care.
In addition, being examined by a doctor immediately after the crash will help you avoid potential disputes with the insurance adjuster. The insurance company could argue that your injuries were caused by another incident or that your injuries are less serious than you claim if you delay obtaining the medical treatment you need.
Step #3: Exchange Information
You should obtain contact information from the truck driver, trucking company, and insurance company. You will need this information to file your claim.
Step #4: Take Photos
Use your cellphone camera to take pictures and video of the damage to the truck and your motor vehicle, the accident scene, weather conditions, road skid marks, your injuries, and anything else you believe would be helpful. Your photos and video may help a skilled personal injury attorney or accident reconstruction expert determine the cause of the wreck and are persuasive evidence to show the jury if your case goes to trial.
Step #5: Obtain Witness Contact Information
If there were any eyewitnesses to your truck accident, you should immediately obtain their contact information. Their written statements and testimony may help you prove the truck driver's negligence caused the crash and convince the insurance company of their liability.
Step #6: Contact Your Insurance Company
You should notify your insurance company of the truck crash. You are most likely required to report the collision under your insurance policy. In addition, taking this step will protect your right to file a claim if the trucker and trucking company have insufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate you for your injuries.
Step #7: Preserve Other Evidence
You should also collect other evidence proving the seriousness of your injuries and the damages you deserve. You should hold onto these documents:
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Paystubs and other wage loss documentation
- Estimates and receipts for repairs or replacement of your auto and any other damaged property
Step #8: Retain an Attorney
A crucial step you must take after getting the immediate medical care you need is to hire a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer. They will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the collision and identify all liable parties.
Your attorney will also collect the evidence you need to help prove your case, which the trucking company could possess, hire any necessary expert witnesses, and negotiate your settlement with the insurance company. If the insurance adjuster does not offer you the compensation you deserve, your lawyer will file a lawsuit and litigate your case.