Being involved in a commercial vehicle accident may very well be the scariest, most life-endangering thing that you ever go through. Immediately after the crash, you may be traumatized and severely injured, requiring emergency medical care. After receiving medical care, though, there are a number of things that you need to do as soon as possible in order to preserve your right to compensation. At the office of Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short, LLP, our lawyers can help. Call us today for support as you navigate the commercial vehicle claims process.
1. Identify Witnesses
One of the most important things that you should do is identify witnesses. Ideally, you will be able to do this while at the scene of the truck accident; however, your injuries may preclude this from happening. If you are unable to identify witnesses at the time that your crash occurs, review the police report from your crash and see whether or not any witnesses were named. If so, you should follow up with them as soon as possible in order to get each witness’s statement about what they saw.
2. Promptly Notify the Insurer
As soon as possible after your crash, you should contact your car insurance company and provide them with notice of the accident. Even though you’ll be speaking to your own insurer, you should be careful about what you say – do not admit fault, nor make claims that can’t be verified (like exactly how fast you were traveling at the time of the crash). Once you notify your insurer, your insurer will open an investigation into your accident. This should include connecting with the commercial vehicle driver’s insurer on your behalf. Ask your insurer if they will be doing this – otherwise, you need to provide the other party’s insurer with notice of the crash, too.
3. Send Spoliation of Evidence Letters
Evidence that is relevant to your crash won’t exist forever. But it’s important that you ensure that it exists for as long as possible, and certainly through the duration of your claim. Types of evidence that may be critical, but which could be destroyed, include vehicle maintenance logs, (truck) driver hours of service logs, vehicle “black box” data, and more. In order to guarantee that this evidence is not destroyed, you need to send spoliation of evidence letters to the appropriate companies (likely the commercial vehicle/trucking company).
4. Hire a Truck Accident Reconstruction Expert
Sometimes, fault in a commercial vehicle accident is very clear and straightforward. For example, if a police report indicates that the truck driver was intoxicated beyond the legal limit, and a witness testifies that the truck driver veered off of the road, causing the tractor to tip and cause a crash, it will be very difficult for the trucking company to escape liability or try to place blame for the accident on your shoulders. In many accidents, however, fault is much less clear, and may even by hotly disputed. If this is the case in your commercial vehicle accident claim, you’ll need to connect with a skilled accident reconstruction expert who can work on reconstructing how your accident occurred. This, like an eyewitness’s testimony, can be a valuable way to add clout to your claim and prove your side.
5. Contact an Alabama Personal Injury Attorney
If you haven’t already done so, if you are involved in a commercial vehicle accident, contacting an attorney should be a top priority. Working with an attorney is even more pressing if you have suffered serious injuries in the accident and your damages are significant. An attorney can manage all of the above critical elements of the claims process (identifying witnesses, notifying your insurer, spending spoliation of evidence letters, and hiring accident reconstruction experts) on your behalf, as well as assist you by calculating your damages, issuing a demand letter, and negotiating your settlement. An experienced attorney will also have trial experience, a necessity in the off chance that your claim goes to litigation.
Reach Out to Our Alabama Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyers Today
At the office of Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short, LLP, our Alabama commercial vehicle lawyers have 60 years of experience representing motor vehicle accident victims like you. We are trusted by our clients, and committed to developing personalized case strategies with the objective of maximizing our clients’ settlement amounts. We work on a contingency fee basis, and always offer free consultations.
You can schedule your consultation with our law firm by calling us at 334-821-3892 today, or by sending us a message online. We are also happy to talk with you in-person – visit our law office today.