After an accident with a commercial truck in Florence, SC, there are several mistakes you should avoid making if you hope to be fairly compensated for your damages. If the driver of the truck caused your accident, you’re entitled to file a claim with that trucker’s insurer (and perhaps with the insurers of the trucking company and other defendants) for your medical bills, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering. These insurers, however, are not necessarily going to pay your claim without a fight, especially if you have the serious injuries that most truck crash victims sustain and the astronomical medical bills that can result.
Mistakes to Avoid After a Truck Crash
In the aftermath of a wreck, you might be not only physically injured but also emotionally upset and perhaps even in shock. Of course, your well-being and that of your passengers are your first concerns. Once you’ve gotten yourself and others out of further harm’s way, there are several mistakes you should avoid to protect your claim for damages and seek the compensation you deserve:
Leaving the scene
It’s against the law for you to leave the scene of an accident that results in injury or property damage. You’re required to stay at the scene, assist anyone who needs help, exchange information with the other driver(s), and call 9-1-1 to report the accident. When law enforcement arrives, answer their questions with basic information only. Do not admit any fault for the wreck or apologize to anyone. You or your attorney can then obtain a copy of the police report, which is vital to your insurance claim, from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Failing to Gather Evidence at the Scene
If you’re physically able, you should take photos of all vehicles involved in the crash, focusing on visible damage and license plate numbers. Take photos or video, as well, of the accident scene, including skid marks, damaged poles or guardrails, and other evidence. Try to take pictures of your physical injuries or get someone to do so for you if you can’t. Request contact information from any witnesses to the crash and note the location of security cameras that might have footage of your wreck.
Not Seeking Medical Attention
If police or EMTs want to transport you to a hospital, you should not refuse treatment. Doing so could damage your claim. If you’re not transported, you should see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident, even if you don’t believe you’re seriously injured. Symptoms of your injuries might not surface immediately due to the adrenaline from the shock of the crash. A doctor’s exam and diagnostic testing can reveal such injuries and allow you to get immediate treatment for a quicker recovery. A prompt doctor’s exam also provides vital documentation of the injuries you suffered in the wreck. If you don’t have this documentation, the at-fault driver’s insurer could claim your injuries are the result of a pre-existing condition and dispute your claim.
Posting on Social Media
If you have social media accounts, the at-fault driver’s insurer will find them and look for any posts related to your accident or resultant injuries. Anything you’ve written about your wreck can be twisted, taken out of context, and used against you. For this reason, it’s best to post neither text nor photos related to your wreck. Your smartest move is to stay off social media altogether until your claim is resolved.
Communicating With Insurance Adjusters or Accepting a Settlement Offer
An insurance adjuster who contacts you after a truck accident will ask you questions about the wreck and try to record your statement. Anything you say can be used against you in the insurance company’s attempt to deny or devalue your claim. You might be offered a quick, low settlement before you even know what your total medical expenses will be. You should avoid any detailed communication with the insurer, refuse to sign or accept its first settlement offer, and refer all communication to your attorney.
Failing to Consult a Lawyer
Most truck accident attorneys will offer you a free first consultation in order to evaluate your claim and explain your options. After a free consultation your attorney may take your case on a contingency fee basis which means you do not pay up front fees for your attorney. Instead, your attorneys fees are deducted after you receice a settlement or award. Attorneys fees are deducted first, then costs and expenses incurred on your case are deducted. A lawyer will look out for tricks the insurance adjusters may have up their sleeves and how to counter tactics to devalue your claim, so you have nothing to lose and perhaps a lot to gain by consulting an accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.
Have You Been Injured In A Florence, South Carolina Area Truck Accident?
If you've been injured in a Florence truck accident you should speak with an accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Florence, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.7540 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Charleston, Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.