Hit By A Truck in Georgia? What to Do Next
If you were hit by a commercial truck while driving on I-75, S. Marietta Parkway, or another busy Cobb County road, you may be wondering what your next steps should be.
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There could be a lot going on after your accident, but an experienced Marietta truck accident lawyer can help provide the legal guidance and support you need.
Why The Champion Firm?
Choosing the right truck accident lawyer can make all the difference in your financial and physical recovery. At The Champion Firm, our clients benefit from:
- $90,000,000+ in personal injury settlements and verdicts.
- No pressure to settle. We’re prepared to bring your case to court.
- Prompt updates from lawyers, who are responsive.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
A truck accident can happen in a variety of different locations, situations, and conditions. Some of the more common types of truck accidents include:
- Wide Turn Accidents: This is when a trucker swings to make a wide, right turn but is unaware of their surroundings or a blind spot in traffic.
- Jackknife Accidents: These occur when the front or cab of a commercial truck forms a 90° angle with its trailer. The truck blocks the lanes of traffic, causing drivers to slam on their brakes and hit the truck.
- Tire Blowouts: When truck tires blow out, the driver may lose control of the truck, and the big rig will go in uncontrollable directions. The truck may hit a vehicle, or a passenger vehicle may accidentally hit the truck.
- Truck Rollovers: These accidents happen when the truck driver loses control, causing the commercial truck to slide and roll onto its side.
- Head-on Collisions: If a truck strikes a passenger vehicle head-on (the front of the truck hitting the front of the other vehicle), the crash can cause devastating or fatal injuries.
- Blindspot Accidents: When truck drivers cannot see other vehicles while making a lane change, the truck may collide with the nearby vehicles.
- Rear-end Collisions: When a truck slams into the back of another vehicle, the substantial weight of the big rig can cause catastrophic and life-threatening injuries.
- Lost Load Accidents: If the truck’s freight is not loaded or secured properly, the items can fall out of the truck and hit a nearby vehicle.
- Underride Accidents: If a smaller vehicle is approaching a tractor-trailer and the truck suddenly stops, the smaller vehicle can become lodged under the trailer.
- T-bone Accidents: T-bone accidents happen when a truck hits another vehicle perpendicularly (the front of the other vehicle hits the side of the truck). This usually occurs if the truck’s driver failed to yield the right of way.
What to Do at the Scene of a Truck Accident?
If you have been involved in an accident with a truck, here are the important steps you should take:
Seek Medical Attention
First and foremost, you need to seek medical care. Even if you believe your injuries are not that serious, you should still be evaluated by a medical professional. You may have injuries that you do not realize or that you won’t start feeling until after the shock of the accident has subsided. Some “invisible” injuries, if left untreated, could cause significant injury or even death. Also, if you are seen by a doctor after your accident, the defense is less likely to argue that your injuries were caused by something other than the truck accident.
After you’ve addressed any medical emergencies, you should call the . Once an officer arrives on the scene, they will begin gathering evidence. Police can record both drivers’ information, document the scene (weather, traffic conditions, the state of the drivers), and speak with any witnesses. They will fill out a police report or crash report that details exactly how the accident happened and who they think is at fault.
Document the Scene
If you’re able to safely exit your vehicle, it’s a good idea to also document the scene. The police officer on the scene will record some details in their police report, but you should be proactive about preserving information as well. Take photos of the other driver’s information (license, vehicle tag), any physical injuries, damage to the vehicles, road conditions, and any nearby road signage.
You should also take note of surrounding businesses and homes that may have caught the accident on their security cameras. Be sure to ask witnesses for their contact information in case you need to reach them after the incident.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer
After the accident, after you’ve been fully evaluated by a medical professional, you should consider contacting a truck accident lawyer. An attorney can help guide you through the insurance process, advocate on your behalf, provide advice on legal issues, support you during your recovery process, and help you move past the accident.
What to Expect from the Insurance Company
If you are involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer, you will need to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Unfortunately, the insurance process for truck accidents is more complex than with other motor vehicle accidents.
Insurance companies look for opportunities to avoid paying out on claims or minimizing the payout. This means that the insurance company is working against you and your ability to recover maximum compensation may be at risk.
Why Consult a Truck Accident Lawyer?
While you are recuperating from your injuries, the thought of dealing with a truck accident claim can be stressful and overwhelming. A truck accident lawyer can negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company, protect your potential settlement, and help hold the at-fault driver accountable.
Your truck accident lawyer can help:
- Investigate the cause of the accident
- Establish liability (who or what caused the accident)
- Calculate the value of your claim
- File an insurance claim
- Handle negotiations with the insurance company
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the truck company, driver, and their insurance company
- Advocate for your right to maximum compensation.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
Here are some of the most important things to do in the days, weeks, or months following a truck accident to support your right to compensation:
Continue to Receive Medical Care
It is important that you continue receiving medical treatment, which means going to your follow-up appointments and following your doctor’s plan of care. While you are focused on your health and recovery, your attorney will seek compensation related to your medical care and bills.
Document Your Recovery
It’s a good idea to document your recovery. This information can be extremely valuable in seeking non-economic or medical damages related to your truck accident claim. Consider taking photos of your injuries and treatment and writing down your symptoms, progress, and any issues encountered.
Get Your Vehicle Repaired or Replaced
If your vehicle can be repaired, make sure you keep any receipts related to that work. Your truck accident attorney will also use this information to support any claims for property damage and compensation.
If your vehicle is totaled and cannot be repaired, the at-fault party’s insurance company may offer to compensate you for the vehicle’s value. However, you may be entitled to significantly more money, depending on the details of your case. Your truck accident lawyer will advise you about this.
Other Considerations Following Your Truck Accident
Here are some other things to consider while you’re in the process of a truck accident lawsuit:
Don’t Post About the Accident on Social Media
The insurance company and other parties may be monitoring your social media accounts to see if you post anything about the truck accident. Specifically, they’ll be looking for any mentions about injuries or what led to the accident. Anything you share on social media – posts, photos, comments, emjois, responses – can be used against you in court to try and reduce your compensation.
Don’t Make a Statement to the Insurance Company
Insurance companies are looking for any excuse to not pay your claim. They will use anything you say against you, and will try to manipulate your words so that you’re accepting fault for the truck accident. That’s why it’s important to not make a statement to the at-fault party’s insurance company. If the insurance company tries to reach out, have your truck accident lawyer deal with them.
Do Not Accept a Settlement Without an Attorney
If the insurance company makes you a settlement offer, do not accept it without first reviewing it with your attorney.
Insurance settlement offers are typically far less than what you are legally entitled to. A truck accident attorney can negotiate a settlement on your behalf and hold the insurance company accountable for its financial obligations to you.
Don’t Forget Future Medical Care
When you are calculating the value of your truck accident claim, you need to include any future medical care. This can include prescription medications, diagnostic imaging, ongoing treatments, physical therapy, or perhaps even long-term care. It’s important to consider the ongoing or future care you’ll need, as well as how the truck accident may have impacted your life in the long term.
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Frequently Asked Questions After a Truck Accident
Dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident can be stressful and confusing. With that in mind, The Champion Firm team has answered some of the questions we most frequently receive from our clients. If you have additional questions about a truck accident claim, please reach out to discuss the details.
How long do I have to file a claim?
Georgia law allows truck accident victims two years from the date of their accident to file a personal injury claim, and four years from the date of the accident to file a property damage claim. This is called the Statute of Limitations. Once the statute of limitations expires, the truck accident victim typically loses the legal right to file their claim.
How do I pay my medical bills?
As you focus on your recovery, you attorney will be working with the at-fault party’s insurance company to cover your medical bills and other related expenses. The insurance company may cover some of your medical bills. Your attorney may need to seek compensation for the remaining expenses with a personal injury lawsuit.
Can I sue the truck driver’s employer?
Yes, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the truck driver‘s employer. Trucking companies must do their due diligence and adhere to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules and regulations. Failure to adhere to these responsibilities is considered negligence, and the trucking company could be held responsible for your injuries and other financial damages.
How is a commercial truck accident different from a car accident?
With a truck accident claim, there can be multiple parties considered at fault for the truck accident. For example, the truck accident claim can be against a negligent truck driver, the trucking company, the owners of the trucks, and any other parties who may be responsible for your damages. Also, with the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks and tractor-trailers, the resulting injuries can be much more serious and life-threatening that in other motor vehicle accidents.
Contact The Champion Firm
If you have suffered injuries in a Marietta truck accident and are unsure about your next steps, reach out to an experienced truck accident lawyer at The Champion Firm. You can give us a call at 404-596-8044 or use our online contact form. We offer free initial consultations.