semi-truck broken down on the side of a highway

How to Protect Your Rights After a Truck Accident

February 20, 2023

Truck accident attorneys fulfill a number of roles on behalf of victims harmed in crashes with 18-wheelers. Victims of trucking crashes are often seriously injured, making it necessary for a lawyer to handle crucial steps such as investigating the collision, obtaining evidence, calculating damages, and pursuing compensation.

Until you speak to an attorney, no one is looking out for your best interest after a truck accident. At The Haynes Firm, we know that truck accident cases are complicated. Our attorneys take rapid and aggressive action to protect your rights and pursue the full measure of compensation you deserve.

For a FREE evaluation, call The Haynes Firm at 423-928-0165 today. Our truck accident attorneys serve clients in Johnson City and nearby areas of Tennessee.

Tips for Protecting Your Rights after a Truck Accident

The first thing you should do after a wreck involving a commercial truck is to call 911. In Tennessee, collisions resulting in personal injury, death, or more than $50 in property damage need to be promptly reported to the police (see Tennessee Code § 55-10-106). Furthermore, serious injuries are the rule rather than the exception in crashes involving 18-wheelers, making it important to have emergency personnel on the scene as soon as possible.

Following these steps after a semi-truck accident is important not only for your safety and well-being but for preserving your legal rights:

1. Get Medical Attention Immediately

Paramedics will examine you for injuries at the scene of the crash. If it is determined that you are seriously injured, you may need to be taken to the emergency room right away.

Alternatively, you may be assessed, provided with first aid, and released. In this situation, it is worth staying at the scene of the truck accident so you can complete the steps below.

Once you leave the site of the crash, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible. Some injuries (such as trauma to the brain) might not carry immediate symptoms, but you don’t want to wait for an undiagnosed injury to become a medical emergency. Delaying medical care can also have an adverse effect on your truck accident claim.

2. Document the Scene of the Accident

If it is safe for you to move around the scene of the crash, you should take the time to document and collect any available evidence. This includes:

  • Taking photographs of the vehicles involved, any injuries you sustained, road damage and debris, the presence of traffic lights and signals, weather and lighting conditions, etc.
  • Speaking to witnesses
  • Using your smartphone to record video and audio at the scene

3. Exchange Information

Just like you would after a car crash, it is important to exchange information with any and all drivers involved in a trucking accident. With the driver of the truck, you will not only need standard information such as their name, contact information, and personal insurance coverage, but the name of the driver’s employer and insurance information for the carrier as well.

4. Provide a Statement to the Police

The threshold for reporting an accident is very low in Tennessee. In most cases, the police will be dispatched to the scene of any crash. You should answer any questions the officer has, but be careful not to exaggerate or say anything to suggest you contributed to the collision.

5. File an Accident Report

Although the police will complete an official accident report, the driver or owner of any vehicle involved in a crash in Tennessee is also required to complete a separate Owner / Driver Report in the event of the following:

  • Personal injury
  • Death
  • Personal property damage exceeding $1,500
  • Damage to government property in excess of $400

The Owner / Driver Report must be completed and submitted to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security no more than 20 days after the crash.

6. Notify Your Insurance Company

Most insurance policies allow up to 30 days to report a crash. Even if the truck driver and/or another party was at fault, you still need to notify your insurer as soon as possible to preserve your right to coverage.

7. Speak to a Truck Accident Attorney

Truck accident claims often involve multiple defendants, complex or disputed liability, serious injuries, substantial damages, and other unique issues. Knowledgeable truck accident attorneys can handle the complexities of your case and fight for a fair settlement or, if necessary, a jury verdict in your favor.

Meet The Haynes Firm Team 

8. Avoid Social Media

You may be tempted to tell your story and share pictures from the crash, but social media and other websites can be the undoing of a personal injury case. It is imperative to limit your communication about the accident.

Insurance companies, trucking companies, and other defendants will monitor your online activity. Anything you post will be scrutinized and may be used against you.

9. Focus on Your Recovery

Once you hire a truck accident attorney to handle your case, your main priority should be to recover from the injuries you have sustained. Follow your doctor’s recommendations, take all prescribed medications, keep appointments with a physical therapist and other professionals, etc.

Truck accident injuries often require extensive and specialized care. Although you may be concerned about the time and expense involved in these treatments, it is important to bear in mind that medical bills, income you lose from time off work, and other costs are compensable in a personal injury claim.

Read More: Medical Bills After a Motor Vehicle Crash

10. Stay Organized

Bills, medical records, and other paperwork are all important for building a strong truck accident claim. In addition to maintaining your own records, you should stay in regular communication with your attorney concerning any documents related to the case.

Economic losses are not the only damages you may be entitled to. It is also important to take detailed notes on any pain, psychological distress, inconvenience, embarrassment, and other issues you experience following a truck accident.

Contact Our Truck Accident Attorneys

Hiring a lawyer is the best way to protect your rights after an accident with a commercial truck. Although there are a number of steps you can take to help your case, our truck accident attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and resources to represent you effectively and maximize your compensation.

Attorneys at The Haynes Firm have more than 70 years of combined experience representing injured people throughout Tennessee. We know the devastating impact truck crashes can have, and we will champion your cause with a determination to win.

Contact The Haynes Firm for FREE today.

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