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Truck crash are not “accidents.”
An accident just happens: it not predictable or preventable. The majority of semi-truck crashes are not accidents.
They are the predictable result of bad route planning, too-heavy loads, or truck drivers who make bad decisions like:
- Driving too fast for conditions;
- Ignoring traffic signals;
- Driving distracted;
- Drowsy driving;
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What to do after a semi truck crash
Get the medical care you need.
The most important thing you can do is get the recommended medical treatment, and take care of yourself.
Don’t push yourself too hard. Sometimes, people who return to work or stop medical treatment before they are healed have terrible relapses.
Open an insurance claim.
Even if the crash was not your fault, you need to contact your own car insurance company and open a claim.
Then, your insurance company will assign an adjuster to your claim.
Because of the complex legal issues in trucking cases, we recommend that you do not give a recorded statement without speaking to a lawyer.
For more detailed information, review this guide to understanding your car insurance.
If you are concerned about paying the medical bills, then speak to a representative from your insurance provider about your policy benefits.
Keep a file of documents and information, including:
- All of your medical bills and expenses;
- Police or incident reports;
- Any photographs of the scene, the vehicles, and your injuries;
- Property damage reports;
- Work time lost, and
- Any letters or information from insurance companies or law firms.
Educate yourself on truck crash claims.
Filing an insurance claim for injuries and damages is a complicated process. It helps to understand the trucking industry and the players involved.
- Insurance Companies: Insurance carriers for truck drivers and trucking companies have a lot of money at stake. They defend these cases very aggressively.
- Investigators: Trucking companies have crash response teams ready to investigate incidents as soon as they happen. They often send a lead investigator, a company safety person, and a risk management team to the scene of the collision.
- Lawyers: The trucking company can assign a lawyer immediately. The legal team can start work before you’re even out of the hospital.
Your legal rights
You have the right to talk to a lawyer before talking to an insurance adjuster.
You need to be careful, even when it seems very clear that the truck driver caused the wreck.
Trucking companies respond immediately and aggressively to crashes. We strongly suggest you get your own attorney to protect you and your family.
You have the right to chose where, and how, your vehicle is repaired.
The odds are that your vehicle is a total loss. But many people find that the insurance company recommends repair, and offers a “preferred” auto repair shop. You are not obligated to use the insurance company mechanics.
You have the right to have any offers of settlement reviewed by an attorney.
Even if the insurance adjuster makes an offer to settle your claim, you can talk to a lawyer about it first. Sometimes, people sign away their right to fair compensation without realizing it.
But, you should never consider an offer of settlement until you have fully recovered from your injuries.
If your injuries are permanent, then talk with your doctors about long term care needs.
Experience matters in trucking cases
An experienced trucking attorney will know both federal and state laws, in addition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). These regulations include:
- Licensing requirements for truck drivers;
- Required documentation;
- Limits on consecutive work hours by hours;
- Training requirements;
- Weight, size and route limitations; and
- Trucking insurance minimums.
Kevin Coluccio has been handling truck crashes for more than 30 years. He is a member of several legal organizations focused specifically on trucking claims, including the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys (ATTA).
Contact Coluccio Law for a free consultation on your truck crash claim.
One family’s story: a Christmas crash nightmare
Wright v. Trucking Company
$3,150,000 settlement after 10 days in trial
The Wrights were on their way to a Christmas party when the family vehicle was struck head-on by a semi-truck and trailer.
Two of the family members suffered serious injuries. They were airlifted from the crash scene to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
In the initial crash reports, it looked like the trucker had swerved in to the Wrights to avoid hitting another car.
But a through investigation and expert analysis found that the trucker was going too fast for conditions—and that he may have been distracted by his cell phone.
The trucker had also violated the defensive driving standard, which means that a trucker should never turn into the oncoming lane of travel.
The family’s lawyer, Kevin Coluccio, used his experience and knowledge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and motor carrier standards of care to resolve this case. After two weeks in trial, Coluccio resolved the case for more than three million dollars.
On the Trucking Watchdog: