To protect your rights after a truck accident, document what happened. Photos, police reports, and medical records form a paper trail proving the existence of
- The circumstances of the accident
- How the truck driver behaved
In your personal injury lawsuit, documentation is a crucial weapon. You may also consider working with our truck accident lawyers to build a case for compensation.
Call for Help
Your first action to protect yourself after you call a truck accident lawyer is to make calls to the police and/or emergency services. Truck accidents can cause devastating injuries, as well as significant vehicle damage. Yet, even for minor accidents in parking lots, you have a right to call authorities.
In addition to getting emergency help, calling the authorities immediately creates official records. Instead of devolving into he-said/she-said arguments, your truck accident will have professional testimony.
Why Police Reports Matter
There are several reasons to call the police after a truck accident. They can:
- Direct traffic
- Take statements
- Assess damage
- Issue citations
- File a report
A police report lends authenticity to your claim and showcases that you followed protocol. It also offers another perspective from someone who arrived on the scene right after the crash. Moreover, Georgia requires immediate reporting of accidents resulting in injury, death, or property damage over $500.00 under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-273. Thus, you not only protect your rights, but also protect yourself from other legal consequences.
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Insurance companies have a harder time arguing with photographic proof. For that reason, immediately take pictures of:
- Vehicle damage
- Tire tracks
Photos of the scene provide useful context for factors that might have impacted the crash. For instance, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) claims a loaded truck normally needs the equivalent of two football fields to stop; wet roads require even more distance.
If your photos show the weather was rainy, the truck driver may not have left enough clearance to stop safely. Detailed pictures illustrate what happened and how.
If other drivers or bystanders offered assistance, get their information and hear what they witnessed. Tracking them down after the accident may be incredibly challenging, so get their input immediately if you are able to do so.
However, limit your communication with the truck driver or company in the immediate aftermath and the ensuing days. Their communication may take the form of:
- Pleas to avoid lawyer involvement
- Pressure to give a statement
- Settlement offers
- Threats or intimidation
- Contact from their lawyers
Seek Medical Attention
Seeking care after a truck accident fulfills two purposes—you receive treatment while also creating medical records to protect your right to reimbursement. Furthermore, medical records help prove a nebulous concept: pain. If the negligent party tries to dispute your injuries, seeking medical attention illustrates that you were in pain and sought care.
Keep Medical Documentation
You have a right to your medical records. Ask for documentation of your injury to keep on file. If possible, collect:
- Medical bills
- Payment receipts
- Test results
- X-ray copies
- Accident paperwork
- Doctor’s notes
Many healthcare facilities require special paperwork for accidents to help document personal injuries. However, even a doctor’s note for your employer about missing work is evidence of the truck accident. Keeping track of this information can protect your right to compensation for lost wages.
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Get the Accident Events in Writing
While most of these steps focus on official documentation, do not dismiss the importance of your own testimony. Write down your memory of what happened, including:
- The time of day
- Movement of other cars
- Traffic signals
- How you were driving
- The direction you were traveling
- Events before the crash
- Your behavior during and after the crash
- The truck driver’s behavior during and after the crash
- Witness comments
- How you felt
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
You may need to give a statement to your own insurance company. Having your thoughts written down beforehand can help answer their questions. Do not neglect to contact them, as failure to do so may be interpreted by them and the negligent party as a sign that you were not really injured.
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Remember the Statute of Limitations
Part of protecting your rights is being aware of what they are. You have a right to file a personal injury claim up to two years after the accident, according to O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33. Preserve that right by filing within that time frame.
Work with a Truck Accident Attorney at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers
Finally, one other thing you can do to protect your rights after a Georgia truck accident case is work with a truck accident lawyer. Our Atlanta truck accident attorneys at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can work to pursue compensation for your losses. Call us today at (404) 888-8888 to get started with a free consultation.
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