Any time a traffic accident occurs, adrenaline begins to pump through one’s body. The heart beats faster, blood pressure rises, and you may feel a sudden increase in energy. Because adrenaline is the body’s “fight or flight” response, it can cloud your reactions. For instance, someone may be injured but not realize they are in pain as a result of adrenaline. For this reason, it is important that people know what not to do after being involved in an accident with a large semi-truck.
What NOT to Do
While you may not be able to totally control your response after a serious truck accident, reading these tips now may give you the presence of mind to avoid making a major mistake. The following are suggestions of what NOT to do following an injury accident:
- Don’t pass up a medical evaluation. Many people don’t realize how serious their injuries are until hours or days following a crash. This is because some symptoms don’t show up immediately after an accident. It’s critical to your health and your potential personal injury claim that you go to the emergency room after a truck crash and that you get x-rays taken or have other tests done so a thorough diagnosis is made. Truck crashes are serious and generally produce traumatic injuries that require the care of a medical professional.
- Don’t forget to contact law enforcement. If you are able to given your injuries, you should call 911 and report the crash and request a police officer at the accident scene. If you are seriously injured, someone else will likely call and report the truck wreck. The police officer will make a police report that will be helpful for your personal injury claim (e.g., the accident location, other driver information, witness statements, etc.).
- Don’t forget to collect relevant information. If your injuries don’t prevent you from doing this, it is important to write down the truck’s DOT registration numbers for both the cab and trailer as well as get the contact information of the truck driver. If there are any witnesses around, ask for their contact information as well.
- Don’t admit fault. Even if you were speeding or tailgating, you should never admit fault or say the words “I’m sorry” at the scene of the crash. You don’t know what the truck driver was doing at the time of the accident that could have caused the crash in the first place. For instance, the trucker may have ignored the hours-of-service law and could have been driving drowsy or he could have been texting or driving impaired.
- Don’t talk about the crash with anyone. This includes not discussing the accident even with the truck driver at the scene or talking to anyone else who may represent the trucker, including his insurance adjuster, the truck driver’s employer, or an investigator. They are trained in asking tricky questions that are designed to make you admit fault or share blame for the crash. Anything you say can be used against you in court; so it is best to let the other side know you will talk to them after you know the extent of your injuries and losses or they should talk to your lawyer.
- Don’t sign a medical authorization form. Insurance companies are quick to send you a medical release form and make you believe that you have to sign it. The truth of the matter is that you don’t have to sign it. They will use this form to dig into your past medical history to see if they can blame your current injury on a complaint you made in the past or a prior injury to lower the amount of money they have to pay you.
- Don’t give a recorded statement to the insurance company. An insurance adjuster for the other party’s insurance company will be calling you to get your account of what happened. They will ask your permission to record your statement, but you have no obligation to provide them with this. Understand that they are trained at getting people to say things that the insurance company can use to minimize or deny the claim payout.
- Don’t post anything on social media. No matter how tempted you might be to post pictures or statements about the crash, please refrain. Also, don’t post any pictures of yourself during the entire claim process until your claim is settled. The other side may use any photograph you post to show that you aren’t as injured as you claim.
- Don’t accept a quick settlement offer. An insurance adjuster may offer you what seems to be a large number, but you are more than likely entitled to a higher amount than what they are offering you. By settling quickly, you will not be aware of the extent of your injuries and just how much your injuries have affected your life (which will increase the value of your claim).
Even if you did make one of these mistakes following a truck accident, we may be able to help you undo any damage. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case, and we can help you start your journey to pursuing justice and just compensation.