STEPS TO TAKE AFTER A TRUCK ACCIDENT
If you have just been involved in a Virginia truck accident, here are some things that you need to do immediately:
Step 1 - Assess the Situation for Safety
You need to look at your surroundings, and see where you are. Has your vehicle been struck at an intersection? Are you in the middle of an interstate or highway? Your safety is paramount. A lot of people, after an accident, have the instinct to immediately try to get out of their car, and begin speaking to people. This cannot be your first focus. You have to remember that other traffic is still moving. Other cars and trucks are still moving around you, and you need to be very safe. It is very common that accidents happen at the scene of other accidents.
Depending on where your vehicle is, and how traffic is around you, the safest position for you may be inside of your own vehicle. Yes this includes after an accident! Consider: your vehicle is specifically designed with safety features in place. Even after an accident, many of those features are still there. These include things like airbags, shatter-resistant windows, and most importantly, the frame of the car itself. Cars are designed these days to absorb impacts, and to keep the occupants safe. Some protection is better than no protection at all.
However, if you are already out of your vehicle, and you can safely get on to the shoulder of the road, or onto an embankment, that that is what you need to do. This way you are out of the flow of traffic. Even a negligent driver, as long as they stay on the roadway, is less likely to hit you.
Make sure that when you leave your vehicle, you bring your phone with you, but don't worry about personal property or possessions. Worry about these things once responding fire and police units have gotten traffic shut down, and made the area safe.
Step 2 – Call 911 for Assistance
You should always call 911 after an accident. This is especially true after a truck accident. There is a high potential after a truck accident that there will be fluids spilled upon the roadway, whether coming from your own vehicle, or the truck. Most people just think of fuel (gas or diesel), when they think of spilled fluids on the road. But there are a lot more, such as transmission fluid and antifreeze. These fluids are actually hazardous materials, and fire and police units are specifically equipped with absorbants such as speedy dry, which will stop these chemicals from getting into drains, and potentially the water supply.
The police and fire units will help get traffic shut down, or at least routed around the accident scene. This will make it safe for you to begin to take pictures and to document the accident. It will make it easier for you to communicate with the other driver, and to exchange insurance information.
Step 3 – Get Medical Treatment
It is very common for people to think they are OK after an accident, even if they are not. Generally this is because of the adrenaline coursing through your body, which is released after a traumatic incident to help your body cope. At the scene of an accident, you will more likely than not be evaluated by emergency medical personnel. If they want to take you to the hospital to get you checked out, let them. They are trained professionals, and their job is to ensure that injured people get to more comprehensive medical evaluations. This is done in the emergency room.
Once the adrenaline wears off, most people will find that they have aches and pains that they didn't realize they had period these can get worse as the day goes on, especially after you've tried to lay down. If this happens, you should go to an urgent care center. If the pain is too severe, then you should go back to the emergency room.
We cannot stress this enough: you need to get checked out by a medical doctor.
This does not mean going to the chiropractor that you've seen once every few months for mild back issues. Chiropractors are competent professionals, and many of them are fabulous people. However they are not medical doctors, and there are certain traumas that they are not trained to diagnose or evaluate. Even if a chiropractor is ultimately the person who treats you, a medical doctor at the hospital, the urgent care center, or even your primary care doctor's office is the one who should be giving you a comprehensive evaluation, from top to bottom, and front to back, to make sure that there are no other injuries.
Step 4 - Call A Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer
Calling an experienced Virginia truck accident attorney is very important, and the sooner you do it, the better off you will be. As soon as you have been involved in the accident, the insurance company has immediately dropped what they are doing and begun to investigate the case. Their job is to pay you as little money as possible, if any at all. Everything you do, and some things that you do not do, they can and will use to minimize the value of your case.
It is also important to remember that the insurance companies do not want you to call a lawyer. The insurance companies know that after a certain amount of time, camera footage is overwritten. As time passes, witnesses' memories start to fade. If you wait too long to engage an attorney, some of the evidence that you need to prove your case can be lost. You don't want that to happen! You need to contact Blaszkow Legal right away so we can set our team of attorneys, staff, and investigators to work in proving the negligence of the other driver, and protecting your rights.
Virginia, like Maryland and DC, is a jurisdiction that practices contributory negligence. This means that if a person making the claim is even 1% responsible for their accident, they cannot recover, as a matter of law. It is the plaintiff's burden of proof to prove that the person at fault for the accident did actually commit the negligence that is being claimed. The plaintiff has to prove this to a preponderance of the evidence, and we usually say that means 51% more believable than not. However, all the insurance companies - and their defense lawyers -have to prove, is that you, the person who is injured, are only 1% responsible for the accident. If they are able to do that, you lose the case completely.
You need to call an experienced truck accident lawyer who knows all of the tricks that the insurance companies and their lawyers will use against you. The sooner you have an attorney fighting on your side, the sooner you will be protected, and the better off you and your claim will be.
Call Blaszkow Legal today for a free truck accident consultation: 703-879-5910