There’s a lot of confusion after a collision with a large commercial truck, such as a tractor-trailer, big rig, tanker, or passenger bus. Injuries are also more severe, which makes physical and financial recovery even more challenging.
But knowing how to avoid mistakes after a truck accident that sabotage your chances of getting a fair settlement helps reduce the burden of getting proper justice. Working with a skilled team of Missouri truck accident attorneys like the professionals at Beck & Beck improves your odds of securing the settlement you deserve.
Here are the top seven mistakes most victims make—and what you can do instead.
1. Not Getting Medical Attention
It’s easy to convince yourself that you don’t need medical care after a collision. This is especially true if you don’t have insurance and are afraid of expensive medical bills. Unfortunately, waiting even a single day to see a doctor can make it more difficult to prove your claims later. Seeing a doctor right away isn’t enough if you don’t complete recommended follow-up appointments and treatments.
Make your health the priority: have a thorough medical exam right away, follow every one of your doctor’s instructions and treatment guidelines to the letter, and save all records related to your post-accident care.
2. Failing to Gather Evidence
There’s likely to be a lot happening at the scene of an accident, so it’s often a challenge to collect the essential documentation you need for your case. An experienced truck accident attorney like the ones at Beck & Beck will mobilize your legal team to put all relatable evidence in order, but if you’re able, here are some things you can do.
Photos and Videos
Take pictures or video footage of everything that might be relevant, ideally with a time stamp. Be sure your video shows the full scene of the accident, including the weather. Pictures to include:
- Your injuries
- Damage to the vehicles involved
- Skid marks, road conditions
- Stop signs
- Traffic signals
- The truck’s license plates
- Anything else that seems relevant
Not only do you want the name and contact information of the other party and their insurance company, but also talk to witnesses and get their information. Ask them to write down what they saw as soon as possible and follow up to get a copy for your records.
Call 911 immediately. While it may take some time for an officer to respond, it’s worth the wait. The other driver may make a statement that doesn’t match yours and having documentation from an uninvolved third party can clarify what happened. Law enforcement may also notice details that you didn’t realize were important. Not only that, but the insurance company can claim that the accident was less serious than it truly was if there isn’t a factual police report.
3. Helping the Insurance Company Too Much
This is an important mistake to avoid after a truck accident: while you need to report the incident to insurance right away, be sure to provide only the most essential information. Then, consult a skilled truck accident attorney, like the team at Beck & Beck, for guidance on your next steps.
Also, don’t give the insurance company a recorded statement. While insurance adjusters may be empathetic and easy to talk to, you must remember that it’s part of their job to find ways to avoid paying claims. The things you share with them could be used to reduce your settlement or prevent you from receiving any payment at all.
4. Posting on Social Media
A quick post online can seem like the most efficient way to update friends and family members so they don’t worry, especially following something as scary as a large truck crash. Unfortunately, even a seemingly innocent message of “Don’t worry, I’m fine,” can be taken out of context and used as evidence that you weren’t severely injured. There have been numerous court cases when judges allowed social media posts to be admitted as evidence, and having your account set to private doesn’t necessarily prevent an insurer from accessing what you shared.
Sometimes, it’s advisable to simply stay off social media for a while until your case is resolved.
5. Accepting a Low Settlement
Victims of truck collisions are often eager to receive help quickly. However, this desperation makes them all too willing to accept any offer they receive. Trucking companies and their insurance carriers recognize this and may send a low offer in the weeks immediately following the accident, hoping the victim will settle for a smaller amount to get rapid payment.
It’s important that your settlement takes into consideration both current and future expenses related to your injuries and property damage. The attorneys at Beck & Beck specialize in evaluating all of your economic and non-economic damages in full and review offers with you to ensure they’re reasonable. If not, they’ll negotiate a more favorable settlement.
6. Not Properly Tracking Expenses From the Accident
Not having the precise amounts for medications, surgeries, appointments, medical equipment, car repairs, and so on could prevent you from collecting the detailed settlement to which you would otherwise be entitled. You must keep every receipt and bill as a result of the accident and also track lost wages.