A lot. A proper investigation and protection of your rights require a ton of work that can be overwhelming to an untrained victim, especially a seriously hurt or grieving one. These cases are way more complicated than a car accident. And here’s a harsh truth you’ve got to confront: you may already be way behind the semi-trailer insurance company’s defense.
If you can’t do all this, don’t worry. That’s why you hire us. We do it for you, and make up for what you couldn’t do as best we can. That said, here’s what you should do immediately if you’ve been involved in a semi-trailer accident:
- Call an attorney. I promise you I’m usually not this insistent. But this is the truth: the trucking company’s insurance may already have an attorney and a team of investigators and other experts already working to beat you.
- Get pictures of the scene and vehicles immediately. Pictures of the scene can be vital in showing the immediate aftermath of the enormous impact, including locations of the vehicles that can help with crash reconstruction and establishment of legal fault. If necessary, go to the tow yard where your vehicle is stored. You can bet the trucking company and its insurance company will move their truck fast to get it away from any prying eyes who might want to prove a case using it.
- Get the investigating officer’s name and contact info. This can help get the crash report quicker and help your attorney reach him for an interview. Law enforcement investigations can be a goldmine for victims, especially if your case is severe enough to be investigated by the South Carolina Highway Patrol MAIT team.
- Make sure evidence doesn’t get destroyed. Law enforcement often destroys their files after traffic tickets are paid. And please understand this, as hard as it is to believe: the trucking insurance company is motivated to make harmful evidence disappear. You need more evidence than you think to prove the trucking company’s fault and enhance your chance for punitive damages. Much of that evidence is kept by the trucking company. That’s the fox guarding the henhouse. You can protect yourself with a letter sent to the trucking company and law enforcement, instructing them to preserve all evidence related to the crash. For the letter to be effective, you’ve got to be sure to send it to the right person at each organization.
- Don’t let the semi-truck insurance company get your vehicle. The best evidence of the impact is likely the tangled mess of your car or motorcycle. The trucker’s insurance company will try to make that disappear with a quick settlement offer, often allowing it to take your vehicle. Then that crucial evidence is gone forever. The only impact evidence left is a semi-truck that’s barely scratched or fully repaired.
- Take pictures of visible injuries. Don’t leave anyone guessing. Capture the gore in living color for bad cuts, bruises, and broken bones. Remember, these usually look worst at first—and you want everyone to know exactly what the immediate aftermath of the accident looked like for your body.
- Video painful treatments, if providers let you. You may be surprised—they often will. It shows the long, hard, agonizing road you got forced onto by the tractor-trailer hitting you. While medical records may describe the treatment, a video brings the viewer into the experience with you. If a picture is a thousand words, a video speaks volumes.
- Get informed. Since you’re reading our website, you’re already doing that! We have a lot more to offer you, so take a good look around. You should also download our FREE BOOK on crash cases, which contains a chapter on 18-wheeler accidents. It answers lots of questions folks like you have, so you can arm yourself with information to help you along as your case develops. It will also prepare you for confronting the insurance company claims rep or adjuster and the dirty tricks they employ to settle your case cheaply.
Just Do It. It May Prevent a Lifetime of Regret.
I get it. When you’re hurt or grieving, the last thing you want is to add an attorney to your list of things to do. But, like going to the doctor, sometimes you just need a professional to help you through a situation you’re really not equipped to handle yourself.