Watch if the trucker removes any alcohol containers or suspicious bags from the cabin. Tell the police officer about that.
Columbus, OH – Truck crashes represent only 10% of all traffic accidents nationwide, but they are by far the most dangerous. Victims are often left with life-changing injuries and huge financial losses. If you want to recover full damages, you must know exactly what to do in the aftermath of a truck accident.
If you think in terms of a regular crash, your first impulse will be to sue the trucker. However, you need to look at the bigger picture. Truck accidents are more complex and the real culprit may be hundreds of miles away. This is why such an accident requires a thorough investigation only experienced Columbus truck accident lawyers can undertake.
You want the police on the scene as soon as possible. Under Ohio laws, you must call the police if an accident results in injury requiring medical assistance, death, or property damage of more than $1,000. The police report will be the main piece of evidence when you make a claim. Also, you want the trucker tested for drugs and alcohol.
Document the scene
If you are well enough to remain at the scene till the police come, use that time to take photos of the scene, focusing on the position of the vehicles and the damages done to each of them. Preferably, get some pictures before the vehicles are moved to the side of the road. If you have visible injuries, get someone to take a few photos.
Get a good look at the trucker
Seasoned Ohio truck accident lawyers advise their clients never to confront another driver at the scene of a crash. Keep calm, but do have a good look at the guy. Does the trucker seem exceedingly tired? It may be a case of driver fatigue and a good lawyer will make sure to request the data in the driver’s log. If the trucker was not in compliance with the federal Hours of Service regulations, your lawyers may be able to build a case against both trucker and his employer.
Also, watch if the trucker removes any alcohol containers or suspicious bags from the cabin. Tell the police officer about that. If the trucker was intoxicated, once again you may be able to hold him as well as his employer accountable for damages.
Talk to the witnesses
You don’t want to say too much when talking to the witnesses, but you must find out whether they saw what happened and whether they noticed anything you could use when filing a claim. Get their names and contact info as your lawyers may need to take their testimony.
Seek medical attention
If you don’t require immediate medical care, make sure you see a doctor as soon as possible. It’s for your own good. You may have internal injuries you are not aware of and seeing a doctor may prevent complications. Also, you will need records proving you required medical attention after the crash. Without medical records, you will have a hard time proving that your health issues were directly caused by the crash.
Notify your insurer
Technically, you’ll have to file a claim with the insurance company representing the trucker or his employer. However, you must also notify your insurance provider right away. If, over the next few days, you get a call from the other party’s insurer, don’t give them any details. Do not offer any excuses and don’t say anything that may be interpreted as an admission of guilt. Keep in mind that Ohio follows a comparative negligence rule and your damages will be reduced if you are found partially to blame for what happened.
If they ask for a recorded statement, politely decline and let them know your truck accident lawyers will be in touch.
Get a lawyer
Trucking companies can afford very good lawyers and they’ll be on the case as soon as they receive word of the accident. You must get legal representation. Look for lawyers that specialize in truck accidents, ask them how many years of practice they have and what cases they’re most proud of.
Also, you may want to educate yourself a bit on legal matters. You’ll want to sound knowledgeable when talking to your lawyer or the insurance adjuster.