Knowing what to do after a commercial truck accident in Michigan can help greatly in preserving your case and your rights in the event that you need to file a lawsuit.
In a commercial truck accident, injuries tend to be more numerous and more severe. However, trucking companies tend to protect themselves well and often have attorneys and investigators on the scene of an accident almost immediately, working to mitigate their liability and reduce injury victims’ opportunities to recover damages from their injuries.
However, by following the steps below, you can increase your chances of winning a lawsuit against a trucking company who is liable for your injuries.
Steps to Take After a Commercial Truck Accident in Michigan
- Get medical help — Obviously, this is most important. If you are injured in a commercial truck accident get the medical attention you need. That could mean first aid by ambulance personnel or a trip to the hospital. Make sure you tell the medical professionals who treat you about any and all symptoms you experience – even if you don’t think they’re important or major. Sometimes serious injuries begin as slight pains or discomfort. Failing to report such symptoms can jeopardize your case if serious injuries manifest later. Also, failing to get medical help immediately can suggest your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim.
- Call police — Don’t assume that someone has called the police. Make the call yourself if you have access to a phone and report as many details as you can, including any injuries you and others in your vehicle have or may have.
- Observe the scene, take notes and pictures if you can — If you are not too injured to do so, look around and note as many details about the crash scene as possible. How many vehicles were involved? Where is the truck and what position is it in? What weather and road conditions are present? How many people are injured? Are there skid marks? If so, where are they and how long are they? If you have a camera, even if it’s just a cell phone with a camera, take pictures of the scene, including skid marks, vehicle damage and visible injuries.
- Pay attention to what people say on the scene — If anyone is claiming fault for the commercial truck accident or describing what happened, make some notes about it. Most cell phones and internet tablets have a voice recorder function, so ask talkative people to say what they have to say into a recorder. Truck drivers and other at-fault drivers have a tendency to change their story after talking to their attorney.
- Don’t talk about your injuries or what happened to anyone other than police and YOUR attorney — Trucking companies and insurance companies are likely to have attorneys and investigators on the scene quickly. Don’t talk to these people or sign anything without talking to YOUR attorney first. You could end up saying something or agreeing to something that will limit your ability to recover damages later.
- Notify your insurance company and file an application for no-fault benefits as soon as possible — As soon as possible after police release you from the scene, call your insurance company and report the accident. File an application for benefits as soon as you can get your hands on one. If you’re hospitalized, ask a family member or friend to help you file a claim. Delay in reporting a commercial truck accident tends to suggest your injuries are not as severe as you claim or that they were caused by something other than the accident.
- Contact a Michigan personal injury lawyer familiar with commercial truck accidents as soon as possible — Hiring an attorney to represent you and begin an investigation on your behalf needs to happen as soon as possible. Evidence erodes or disappears quickly after an accident. The sooner you get a lawyer involved, the better case your lawyer can make and the better your rights will be protected.
In Michigan, the personal injury firm of Sachs Waldman, P.C., includes several attorneys who are highly experienced in commercial truck accident injury cases and can assist in getting you the benefits you’re entitled to. Call our Detroit personal injury attorneys’ office at 1-800-638-6722 to schedule a free consultation.