What To Do After A Semi-Truck Accident? How & When?

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Written By Berry Mathew

The weight of a truck is approximately 80,000 pounds or 40 tons. Compare that to the weight of an average car which is 3,000 pounds or 1.5 tons. The possibility of injuries to the lighter vehicle and the passengers in it is much greater in comparison to the semi-truck and the passengers in it. The occupants of the car might not be at such a huge risk if the other vehicle was not so big. 

Unfortunately, the bigger vehicle also has a much bigger representation in a court of law. This is why car drivers or passengers seldom get the indemnification for their injuries and losses which they deserve. Holliday Karatinos is a law firm here to help the victims of truck accidents and set the record straight. In this article, we tell you exactly what you should do after a semi-truck accident and for clarification purposes, we also advise precisely when you should do it. 

What Should I Do After A Truck Accident In Florida?

  1. At The Site Of The Semi-Truck Accident

The most important thing after a semi-truck accident is your safety. You might not feel your injuries because of all the adrenaline pumping in your veins. Call 911 and have the paramedics assess your physical condition before you do anything else. Once you get the okay from the paramedics you can move on to the next steps. 

  1. Immediately Contact Law Enforcement

According to the Florida Statutes drivers are responsible to report a vehicle accident to the police (by calling 911), if there is more than $500 worth of damages. These damages include total property damage, vehicle damages, personal injuries, and third-party damages. Make sure your vehicle is not in any oncoming traffic or in a spot where the truck’s cargo or load can spill on to your vehicle. Otherwise, do not move your vehicle until law enforcement arrives if your vehicle is not in any danger.

  1. Collecting Information At The Scene Of The Accident

Start taking pictures as you wait for the authorities to arrive. Take pictures of all the vehicles involved in the accident. Take a step back, making sure you are safe and take pictures of all the sides of each vehicle. Take pictures of any obstacles on the road, the weather, and any skid marks or tire impressions left by the vehicles. 

The pictures should identify each vehicle with their license plate registration and color. They should give a rough idea of the damages to each vehicle. All this information will come in handy if you want to pursue your case with a Brooksville semi-trailer truck accident lawyer. Exchange contact and insurance information with the driver and collect contact information of other people involved in the accident.

  1. Cooperate With Law Enforcement At Scene Of The Accident

The job of the law enforcement officers is to take contact information, a rundown of the events leading to the accident, and the names of the insurance providers from both of the drivers. Florida is a no-fault state for vehicle collisions. This means that a driver will be compensated by an insurance company regardless of who is at fault. The officers will take the information they need from each driver to file their report in the absence of the other driver. 

Some drivers tend to get boisterous and offensive when they see the authorities because they might not be aware of local laws. Avoid arguing with the other driver or anybody else at the location of the accident. The officers will provide a report to both of the drivers. Take a picture of yourself with the official report at the accident location. 

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  1. Should I Contact The Insurance Company About The Crash?

Do not inform the insurance company if you want to pursue a case against the other party in a court of law. Informing an insurance company alerts their insurance adjusters. The job of an insurance adjuster is to safeguard the insurance company’s assets. Insurance adjusters will contact you repeatedly on the phone in an attempt to get a recorded statement from you to settle at the earliest and the lowest amount possible. 

According to Florida Statutes 627.737(2), a driver can hire a local or Brooksville semi-trailer truck accident lawyer if the driver can justify any of the following conditions:

  1. Significant or permanent loss of an important bodily function
  2. Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement
  3. Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
  4. Death

A driver who has suffered “permanent injury” due to an accident can sue the other party for the damages. This revokes the “no-fault” limitation to begin the process of an attorney representing a driver in a court of law. The attorney will need to show proof and evidence to support their claim based on the information above and both driver’s insurance companies will deal with the attorney now instead of the client. The attorney can now also help their client recover financially from the “intangible” emotional and physical injuries caused by the other party. 

On the other hand, a minor fender bender or a driver who has not suffered any debilitating physical injuries can inform the insurance company. The insurance company might charge a deductible and possibly provide compensation of up to a maximum of $10,000. Insurance companies also deal with accidents on a case-to-case basis. So the insurance company will be able to advise exactly how much they can provide in compensation. 

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Key Takeaways

Drivers and passengers who want to recover damages of more than $10,000 or who have been severely injured can pursue a claim against the truck-driver’s insurance company in a court of law, known as a third-party insurance claim. Truck drivers often have skilled negotiators on their side to help them deal with any legal issues like these. It can be difficult for car drivers to deal with all the physical and financial losses of a car accident while at the same time keep up with the requirements of filing a third-party insurance claim. Hiring an experienced attorney to represent a driver is easier and sometimes much more efficient.