A trucking accident varies from other types of accidents in several ways. First, there are numerous state and federal regulations trucks must adhere to that require investigation after an accident. Second, the immense size of semis, 18 wheelers, delivery trucks or other large vehicles nearly always results in catastrophic damage and injury. If you or a family member have been involved in a trucking accident, it’s crucial you take steps during the first 48 hours to ensure you will be justly compensated.
Seek Medical Attention
Immediately following the accident, call the police and seek medical attention. A complete examination is important, even if you don’t feel you have been injured. It is common to experience an adrenaline rush during traumatic events that may mask symptoms. Moreover, one of the most common injuries sustained during accidents involving large trucks is damage to the internal organs. Keep all receipts and records of medical treatment, tests and medication prescribed.
While waiting for assistance, avoid any sharp metal, broken glass or fluid leaks. Fuel tank ruptures during a trucking accident may leak gas or diesel fuel. If the truck was carrying hazardous materials or waste, you may be in danger of coming in contact with acids, caustics or other harmful materials.
Speak Only with Law Enforcement
When law enforcement officers arrive, answer their questions truthfully, but do not speak with anyone else about the accident. Just like any car accident, you should not admit fault or give information about the accident before speaking with a lawyer. Especially if there is injury involved, you want to trust an attorney to communicate for you to ensure you receive every bit of compensation you deserve.
Document the Accident Fully
Get a copy of the accident report and make sure it includes the other driver’s insurance information. If there are other witnesses, obtain their names and contact information. Gather any evidence that will support your claim and take photos of the following:
Notify Your Insurance Company
Notify your insurance company immediately and request an application to file a claim. Oklahoma Code Title 12, Ch. 3, Sec. 95 states that the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the time of the accident. The exception is if the liability involves the Oklahoma state government; in which case you have one year to file a claim. The longer you wait to file a claim, the greater the chances it will be denied. It provides a basis for the insurance company to claim your injuries were not sustained in the accident or that you weren’t injured at all.
Once you make the claim, don’t discuss the accident with any insurance claims adjusters, not even your own. Depending on your policy, you may be eligible for benefits with your own insurance. Anything you tell them may be used to reduce or eliminate your claim. The best way to support your case is to remember the following:
Call an Experienced Trucking Accident Lawyer
Consult an experienced attorney right away. It’s important to ensure evidence relative to your claim is preserved. Regulations Title 49, Parts 350-399, set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, state trucking companies must retain a vehicle maintenance log. These documents may be discarded after 6 months. Your lawyer can secure these documents to support your case should there be a question concerning faulty equipment such as defective brakes or improperly inflated tires.
Other cases involving negligence may be more difficult to prove. For example, Commercial Motor Vehicle Traffic Enforcement cited driver fatigue as the number one cause of trucking accidents. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Section 395.3 imposes an 11 hour limit on driving time. Drivers are required to log their time as well. However, in cases where they are running behind schedule due to poor weather or other traffic conditions, the information provided in the logs may be less than factual. An experienced accident attorney will provide a thorough investigation of the trucking accident to ensure all evidence is presented.
If you’ve been in a trucking accident, call Laird Hammons Laird and our experienced attorneys will fight for your rights. Being in a trucking accident can be extremely devastating, so we believe you should be compensated justly for your pain and suffering. Don’t wait – call us at (405) 703-4567 within 48 hours!
The U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2009 that out of 211 million drivers, 16.5 million were involved in car accidents; meaning drivers had a one in 12 chance of being involved in a vehicular accident when venturing out on the roads.
Accidents are inevitable, statistically speaking, and learning the basics of how to respond is vital. Here’s a quick look at the steps you need to follow during the first 48 hours after an accident has occurred.
Seek Medical Attention
If you or anyone else has been injured in the accident, medical attention should be sought immediately. Documentation of any injuries will be of the utmost importance in relation to filing an insurance claim. If you don’t notice any immediate injuries but feel them coming on during the next day or two, it’s still imperative to seek treatment. All medical treatment you receive in relation to the accident should be well-documented and passed on to the responsible insurance agency.
Contact a Lawyer
One of the most vital steps to take after an accident is to contact a lawyer. Even more important is that you only speak to your insurance agency or a police officer to report the accident; do not state whether or not you feel you were or were not at fault. A lawyer can communicate with these entities on your behalf, which is critical in defending your innocence. While most accidents don’t result in criminal charges, if yours does, proving your innocence could be the difference between going to jail and remaining free.
Even if the accident doesn’t involve criminal offenses, a lawyer can communicate with your insurance company to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Jot Down Names and Numbers of Witnesses
It’s also pertinent to jot down the names and contact information of any witnesses, and give it to your lawyer. If need be, the lawyer can use the witnesses’ recollections of the accident when filing your insurance claim. Talking with these witnesses can also help pinpoint relevant factors, such as whether or not the accident site is prone to accidents.
Take Plenty of Pictures
Unless you’re seriously injured, taking pictures with your smartphone or a camera is a smart move to make directly after the accident occurs. Even if the vehicles involved are moved from the roadway, it’s still important to take pictures of the damage. Don’t, however, give these pictures to your insurance agency. Instead, send them to your lawyer; he or she will know which pictures need to be turned over.
Don’t Admit Any Fault
After an accident takes place — especially during the first 48 hours — there will be lots of people asking you about the incident and how you are feeling. While it’s okay to acknowledge that the accident took place, it’s best to avoid in-depth details. And although your insurance company is undoubtedly on your side, you’ll still want your personal injury attorney to do all of the communicating. If any insurance agencies contact you, simply tell them they will need to speak with your lawyer.
Don’t Accept an Offer Without Your Attorney’s Consultation
Even if you receive a quick, fair-sounding settlement offer, you should never accept it without first speaking with your attorney. After all, you don’t want to settle for an amount that doesn’t cover all expenses you may incur as a result of the accident. A professional car accident attorney can review the offer and determine whether or not to accept it or negotiate.
The first 48 hours after an accident are of the utmost importance. In a nutshell, make sure to take plenty of pictures of the accident, receive any needed medical treatment, and above all, hire an attorney to handle the legalities of the case. Call us today at (405) 703-4567.
Millions of nonfatal workplace injuries take place every year. If you have found yourself injured on the job, it is imperative that you seek medical treatment immediately. It’s also important that you understand the other various steps that you should take, which will ensure the best outcome possible.
Please keep in mind that the company you work for may or may not have rules in place that you must follow after getting injured on the job. Larger companies tend to be more strict about their policy rules, but still yet, here is a brief overview of the basic steps you need to take.
Report the Injury
The first thing you need to do is report the injury. If it’s a severe injury, simply reporting it to a coworker or supervisor should be sufficient while you make your way to receive medical treatment. Such treatment may be acquired at an onsite nursing or medical office, or if needed, you can call for transportation to a nearby hospital.
If you are not in need of immediate medical attention, you should report your injury to your supervisor or manager. This person should be able to direct you toward the office that you need to visit to fill out appropriate paperwork.
There will likely be much paperwork to fill out, and it’s pertinent that you write down every detail of the injury that you can remember:
Get a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form
Your employer is mandated by law to give you a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form after you have reported the injury. You will need this form to claim your benefits, including loss of wages, funds to cover your medical expenses, etc. If for some reason your employer does not give you this form, you will need to contact the company’s HR department as soon as possible.
Once again, it’s important that when filling out this paper that you make it very clear in great detail as to what happened and the parts of your body that have been affected. If you have already been seen by a doctor, make sure to note this on the form, including the name of the doctor and the time and day that you were seen by the physician.
After you have filled out the paper, you will then mail it to the HR department, and it’s important that you mail it first-class and ask for a signature upon delivery; this ensures that the form is received.
Decide whether or not to hire a lawyer
The physician who treated your injury will inform you of whether or not you can return to work. The claims administrator handling your Workers’ Compensation claim will inform you of whether or not your claim was accepted. Depending on what your physician and the claims administrator tell you, this will indicate whether or not you need a lawyer. Most times, if the claim is accepted, then no attorney is needed and you can simply follow the orders of your physician. However, if your claim is not approved, an attorney may be needed. You will also need an attorney if your physician recommends that you go back to work but you don’t feel you have fully recovered from your injury.
It’s also important during this time for you to check into any other programs that can be tapped into other than Workers’ Compensation, such as:
Being that tort reform went back into affect in Oklahoma, it is more difficult than it used to be for people to file a lawsuit after getting hurt on the job. This is one of the primary reasons that a lawyer may be needed during this type of situation. And it’s not so much so that a person can receive a large settlement. Instead, it’s so a person can simply get the compensation they deserve in a timely manner, and this involves filing all paperwork the correct way the first time around, which is what Workers’ Compensation attorneys specialize in. Call us today at (405) 703-4567.