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How Can I Maximize My Compensation After A Truck Accident In California?

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Matthew D. Easton - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Matthew D. Easton

Located in Costa Mesa, CAEaston & Easton, LLP

Costa Mesa, CA
Phone: 714-850-4590
Fax: 714-850-1978

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Get Medical Attention Right Away

Truck accidents can result in very serious injuries, particularly for occupants of passenger vehicles. Even if you think your injury isn’t serious, you should get medical attention as soon as possible. In many cases, injuries that were thought to be minor become worse in the days, weeks and even months after a collision, and a doctor can evaluate your condition to ensure that your injury is properly diagnosed.

Getting medical treatment is also crucial to building a personal injury claim that maximizes your compensation. Going to the emergency room, urgent care, or to another medical provider starts the medical documentation of your injury, and that documentation is needed for you to get the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled.

It’s also important for you to continue medical treatment if your doctor orders it. If you stop treatment prematurely, it could be detrimental for your personal injury case because the insurance company will likely claim that your injury is not as bad as it truly is.

Report The Accident As Soon As Possible

If you suffer injuries in a trucking accident, it’s important to call the police and report the collision. The accident report can be used as evidence that the truck driver or another party is liable for the accident, and establishing liability for the crash is an essential part of your personal injury claim and maximizing your compensation.

After reporting the accident, you can request a copy of the police report. Your personal injury attorney can use the report to investigate the exact circumstances of the crash and establish the other party’s liability.

Gather Information At The Scene

Get the truck driver’s name and contact information, as well as the trucking company’s name and contact information. Get insurance and contact information from all parties involved. Get contact information from any witnesses. All this information can be used as evidence in your personal injury claim.

It is also important to document the accident scene if you can. Take pictures of the crash and your injuries. If your injury prevents you from doing this, have someone else do it: maybe your friends, relatives or a police officer.

Other types of information may need to be gathered by your personal injury attorney. For example, in truck accident cases, there may be questions regarding regulatory violations on the part of the truck driver or the trucking company. Your attorney may need to obtain the truck driver’s logbooks, investigate the safety and maintenance of the truck, or determine whether the truck’s trailer was loaded in compliance with regulations. A thorough investigation by an experienced personal injury lawyer could be instrumental in maximizing your compensation.

Do Not Give A Written Or Recorded Statement To The Insurance Company

Trucking companies typically have very resourceful insurers, and insurance companies are in business to make money and not necessarily to pay you what you are owed. After a truck accident, you can expect to be contacted by an insurance company adjuster or representative very soon. Before giving a statement to the adjuster, and before accepting the insurance company’s initial settlement offer, talk to a personal injury attorney.

The adjuster’s questions are designed to minimize your compensation – not to maximize it. Any misstatement by you or any downplaying of your injury could be used against you. When you have an experienced attorney on your side, you can focus on your recovery while your attorney handles all communications with the insurance company and negotiates to maximize your compensation. Trucking companies and insurance companies have experienced lawyers on their side, and so should you.

Insurance companies also routinely offer lowball settlements. Don’t agree to an initial offer before you have spoken with a personal injury attorney. If you accept a lowball offer, you could be left with an amount that comes nowhere close to covering your current and future medical expenses, your lost time from work, your pain and suffering, and other costs resulting from the crash.

Liability In Trucking Accidents

Proving liability in trucking accidents can be more complicated than proving liability in accidents that involve only smaller passenger vehicles. Why? Trucking accidents potentially involve multiple liable parties. Those parties include:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • The party responsible for loading the truck
  • The truck manufacturer or the manufacturer of truck parts
  • Other drivers besides you and the truck driver

An experienced personal injury lawyer can thoroughly investigate the accident and determine exactly who is liable for your injuries.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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