Anyone who has ever been involved in a serious motor vehicle crash knows what a blur everything can become. During the crash, it seems almost as if time stands still. After the crash, there can be painful medical treatment and rehabilitation, along with the stress of mounting financial obligations and other responsibilities. But it’s not just the crash victim who endures these burdens. Watching the suffering of a loved one, such as a spouse, child, or parent, can be almost as painful. In this article, we will discuss some steps to take if a loved one is hurt or killed in a tractor-trailer accident.
Health Comes First
If a loved one has survived the semi-truck crash, it’s important to take every step possible to ensure a healthy recovery. Even when a loved one tells you they feel fine after a crash, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a doctor. Some injuries do not immediately manifest themselves to a layperson, but can be recognized by a trained medical care provider. Additionally, make sure to keep all medical appointments and to visit any specialists recommended by the emergency room physician or other treating doctors. After all, they’re the experts, and nothing is more important than your loved one’s health and full recovery.
If you are at the scene of the accident, call 911. If your condition requires, wait for assistance and ignore the following steps in this paragraph. If you are comfortable ambulating, check on everyone. Next, take photos. These days, nearly everyone has a camera phone. Document both your injuries and damages to vehicles and other property. It’s also a good idea to take photographs of the roadway, the resting positions of the vehicles, and skid marks and any other markings left by the vehicles. These photographs may help an expert later, if one is needed. If you see any witnesses, write down their names and contact information. Make notes if you hear anyone give an account of the accident. And because you may not be present when your loved one has a future accident, it’s a good idea to discuss these procedures with your loved ones now, before they have an accident. That way, they will know what to do should they be involved in a crash.
Cooperate with Law Enforcement
It’s always important to assist law enforcement officers in every way possible. Provide a truthful account of the events. If the truck driver caused the accident, it’s fine to say so. However, if you think you might be responsible, or have any doubt as to fault for the accident, truthfully provide your understanding of events, but don’t yet draw a conclusion as to fault since you don’t have all the facts at your disposal. We have seen people admit fault after accidents, only to later learn the crash wasn’t their fault at all.
Comply with Insurance Requirements
Automobile liability insurance policies require the insured to report all accidents. Therefore, it’s important to promptly notify your loved one’s insurance company, to make sure coverage is not compromised. However, your loved one is not required to communicate with the other party’s insurance company. It is standard strategy for a representative of the opposing party’s insurance company to contact an injured party with the hope of obtaining information that can later be used against the injured victim. If your loved one receives a telephone call from the negligent driver’s insurance company, he or she should politely decline an interview and advise the representative that his or her lawyer will call at a later time.
When a loved one passes away as the result of a truck crash, the pain can be excruciating. Moreover, while trying to grieve, one faces responsibilities for issues such as funeral and burial planning. It’s also important to determine if the deceased left a will. For purposes of pursuing a wrongful death action, a personal representative will need to be appointed on behalf of the deceased’s estate.
Get Help for the Crash Investigation and Legal Issues
Investigating a truck crash is complicated. Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to follow numerous Oregon and federal regulations. Drivers are required to maintain logs, showing whether they have complied with rest requirements. Trucking companies normally will not willfully share their driver’s logs and other company information. At Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, we believe trucking companies and their drivers, like all professionals, should be held responsible for their actions. We have experience investigating trucking crashes, obtaining records, and dealing with insurance companies. If you have questions about any of these issues, please call us.