If you have had the misfortune to be hit by a commercial vehicle – a delivery van, church bus, mail carrier, county road truck, or whatever– there are certain critical things you need to do. Commercial vehicles are usually larger and heavier than private vehicles and so often cause more extensive damage. In addition, these cases are far more legally complex than cases involving collisions with privately owned vehicles in which you will be dealing with just one other person and her insurance company. So let’s take a look at what to do if you are hit by a commercial vehicle.
First, you should be aware of certain important considerations when you are hit by a commercial vehicle.
In most cases, the commercial vehicle isn’t owned by the driver, but by the company or government entity that employs the driver. This means, then, that everything becomes more complex with respect to proving blame and negligence. For the owner of the commercial vehicle may have contributed to the accident by, for example, failing to keep the vehicle in good working order. Keep in kind, too, that businesses that own commercial vehicles are backed by big insurance companies who will fight you every step of the way.
Timing is an important factor in commercial-vehicle collisions. Most states have a statute of limitations for personal injury claims, a specific amount of time within which you can file a claim. For this reason and also because the investigation is best conducted while evidence and memories are fresh, it is critical that you take action right away. In addition, if you wait to file a claim, the company that was operating vehicles with faulty brakes may have time to correct that situation – which could weaken your claim.
Immediate Actions to Take
When you’ve been hit by a commercial vehicle, there are several critical things you need to do right away. The first of these, of course, is to call the police so that there will be an official accident report on file. Then, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. The resulting medical records can play an important role in your claim/case.
Also, if you don’t require emergency treatment, try to get witness statements from, say, passengers and bystanders as soon as possible. Take photos of the vehicles and accident scene, including road conditions and other pertinent details. And try to write up a report of exactly what happened while the incident is still fresh in your memory.
Get Legal Help
The next thing to do after you’ve been hit by a commercial vehicle is to get competent legal help. A host of contributing factors can come into play in a commercial-vehicle accident – for example, an overtired driver, driver pushing too hard to meet deadlines, driver not taking federally mandated rest breaks, and traffic violations. If you suspect any of these contributed to the accident, an experienced attorney can help you with these difficult-to-prove suspicions.
In addition, you will need the assistance of an attorney to investigate the driver’s safety record, as well as cell phone records to determine whether she was, say, texting while driving. Further, an experienced attorney will be an invaluable asset when it comes to negotiating with insurance companies – who often use underhanded tactics to avoid paying compensation for damages. An experienced attorney can greatly increase your odds of receiving maximum compensation to cover medical bills and property damage.
So if you have been hit by a commercial vehicle and are worrying about how to cover medical bills and living expenses, as well as how to pay for car repairs, contact a qualified attorney today. Contact a member of the Trusted Lawyers Network to discuss your claim or case.