Mistakes to Avoid After a Commercial Truck Accident in Texas
Being involved in a commercial semi-truck accident can be a traumatic and confusing time. Knowing what steps to take after an accident is crucial for protecting your rights and access to compensation. However, many accident victims unknowingly make mistakes that can negatively impact their ability to recover damages. This article outlines the five most common mistakes made after a Texas commercial semi-truck accident and how to avoid them.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident with a commercial truck in Texas, call Oberg Law today at 972-682-9700 for a free consultation with a Texas truck accident attorney. Protect your rights and explore your legal options with our legal guidance.
What if You are Hit by a Semi-Truck
Commercial semi-trucks, also known as 18-wheelers or big rigs, weigh 20-30 times more than passenger vehicles and can cause catastrophic damage in accidents, especially when speeding or driving recklessly is involved. According to data from the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2021 there were over 22,000 crashes involving commercial vehicles in the state, resulting in 585 fatalities and over 6,000 injuries.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a commercial semi-truck in Texas, you may be eligible for compensation for damages like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering costs, and more. However, failing to avoid key mistakes in the aftermath can negatively impact your ability to recover the maximum compensation you deserve. Keep reading to learn the five most costly errors made after semi-truck crashes in Texas and how to steer clear of them with help from an experienced semi-truck accident attorney.
Mistake #1: Failing to Seek Medical Attention Immediately
One of the biggest and most common mistakes accident victims make is not getting prompt medical attention following a semi-truck collision. The sheer size and weight of a loaded 18-wheeler means truck crashes typically inflict major trauma on passenger vehicles and their occupants.
However, shock, adrenaline, and even lack of pain due to serious injuries can fool victims into downplaying their harm. Failing to get examined and treated right away causes issues like:
Undiagnosed injuries worsening over time
Gaps in medical records and treatment damaging the personal injury claim
Pre-existing conditions being blamed for symptoms
No matter how fine you feel after a truck accident, it is critical to get checked out at an emergency room or urgent care clinic as soon as possible. A prompt medical evaluation creates vital documentation of any injuries sustained which directly supports and strengthens an injury claim.
Equally importantly – early diagnosis and treatment gives you the best chance of making the maximum recovery from crash-related harm. Put your health first and do not hesitate to get medical help right away following an 18-wheeler collision. Having an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer can help advise you on next steps regarding medical care.
Mistake #2: Failing to Report the Accident Properly
Knowing who to notify and what details to provide is another common stumbling block for those unfamiliar with commercial truck accident protocol. Underreporting crash specifics or failing to follow notification procedures properly can negatively impact your ability to access compensation.
Here is who needs contacted after a Texas semi-truck accident, what information to provide, and accident reporting best practices:
Local Police – Alert law enforcement to generate an official accident report documenting important factors like vehicle positioning, citations issued, sobriety check results, etc.
Trucking Company – Request name and contact details for trucking firm the semi was registered with from police or truck driver. File formal incident notification directly with the motor carrier.
Your Auto Insurer – Alert your insurance provider no matter who seems at-fault. Failure to do so risks denial of a claim later on for lack of cooperation or notification.
When speaking with officials or reporting, key details to note include: license plate and company info and markings on the truck, driver name with license and insurance info, photos of damages and injuries (if possible), police report number, exactly what happened before/during the wreck, witnesses present, and any statements made by the truck driver admitting fault or explaining what occurred.
An experienced semi-truck accident attorney can provide guidance on properly reporting a crash to strengthen an injury claim and help overcome disputes the truck driver or motor carrier’s legal team may create to avoid paying victims. Having legal representation from the start of an accident claim puts you in the best position to maximize compensation in settlement negotiations or court.
Mistake #3: Posting About the Crash on Social Media
Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and more are ingrained into everyday life for many now. So naturally, your first instinct may be to vent about the accident or even post pictures of vehicle damage or injuries online. However, this common misstep can end up sinking your injury claim!
Here are risks posed by discussing or depicting crash specifics on social media:
Admitting Partial Blame – Statements can be interpreted as acceptance of fault even if unintended.
Inconsistencies – Normal memory gaps/errors in posts can be used by insurers to discredit or accuse exaggeration or dishonesty.
Damaging Character Assassination – Photos, comments, other online history can be used unfairly against you.
Breach of Privacy – Explicit permission needed from others (like passengers) before posting images or details involving them.
To avoid social media missteps following an 18-wheeler collision, refrain from discussing the crash publicly online whatsoever without guidance from a legal representative. Restrict profiles to private settings temporarily if warranted. An experienced semi-truck accident lawyer can help safeguard online reputation and ensure statements and images do not jeopardize injury claims.
Mistake #4: Accepting Early Settlement Offers
After a devastating semi-truck wreck, victims and families are often left scrambling to cover costs for medical bills, property damages, lost income from missed work and more. So when the truck driver’s insurer dangles a quick settlement offer promising prompt cash in hand, it can seem like the financial lifeline you desperately need.
However, accepting one of the first compensation offers extended before completing medical treatment, vehicle repairs, or a full assessment of all damages is almost always a huge mistake. Why? Because early settlements end up being significantly less than the case is truly worth the majority of the time.
Rushing to close an injury claim also prevents victims from utilizing legal counsel to fight for maximum compensation accounting for all current and future crash harms. Instead of panicking and grabbing what seems like fast money, consult an experienced semi-truck accident attorney before engaging in a settlement.
Reality is – what first appears a generous offer is usually only a fraction of what can be gained for suffering, medical costs, lost wages, and pain once negotiating power of legal representation enters the picture on your behalf. Patience and pressing pause on settlements is key.
Mistake #5: Waiting Too Long to Hire a Semi Truck Accident Attorney
Attempting to handle a commercial truck accident claim yourself without trusted legal counsel equipped to battle sophisticated insurance carriers is the final critical error we see far too often. Texas imposes strict deadlines of usually 2 years or less for taking legal action after a crash.
However, gathering police reports, crash investigation findings, medical records, proof of insurance details, employment payment data, and all other documentation vital for claims can take substantial time. Starting this process immediately with help from a semi-truck accident lawyer adept at these procedures is essential not only to avoid lawsuits being barred by missing legal cutoffs, but also for accurately demonstrating and proving the full scope of damages warranted compensation.
An attorney knows what evidence substantiates injury claims, alternate routes for recovery when insurance disputes arise, realistic value ranges for various accident harms, and how to apply maximum pressure for ideal settlements. We have seen firsthand the profound financial difference legal representation from day one makes for injured victims and grieving families versus attempting a claim alone. Simply put – there is too much at stake not to have a truck crash lawyer firmly in your corner from the very start.
How an Experienced Semi-Truck Accident Attorney Can Help After a Big-Rig Crash
As reviewed above, commercial truck collisions involve key intricacies, unique reporting procedures, special evidentiary rules, and strict legal deadlines. Attempting financial recovery without guidance from a legal representative well-versed in these complexities often leads to serious shortfalls in compensation or lost claims entirely.
Instead, partner immediately with an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer following any 18-wheeler wreck injuries. Here are just some of the invaluable ways we leverage our focused big-rig accident experience to help Texas victims:
Conduct thorough independent investigations questioning all details and factors related to the collision circumstances and who or what may be at fault – no assumptions made.
Utilize our legal team’s strong working rapport with insurers to promote cooperation and extract maximum settlements efficiently.
Valuate and account for every possible current and future medical expense, property damage bill, lost income stream and other monetary and non-economic harm stemming from the semi-truck crash when seeking recovery.
Skillfully negotiate top-dollar settlements, yet remain fully prepared to take the case to court if offers do not adequately match actual damages incurred.
Help clients find trustworthy doctors, recoverable income sources while out of work, mental health resources, temporary transportation options and more as needed following an 18-wheeler wreck.
1. Should I talk to the trucking company or insurance company before speaking to an attorney?
No. You should not provide any kind of recorded or written statement before consulting with an experienced truck accident attorney, as anything you say can be used against you later.
2: How soon after the accident should I seek medical attention?
You should seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you don’t think you were seriously injured. Some injuries don’t show symptoms until days or weeks later. Getting checked quickly will document your injuries for your claim.
3: What key evidence should I try to preserve from the scene?
Try to take photos of the scene, damage to vehicles, skid marks, position of vehicles, street signs or signals, weather conditions, and anything else relevant to how the crash occurred. These could help show fault later.
4: Should I post about the accident on social media?
No. Avoid posting about the accident or your injuries on social media, as the insurance company can use it against you. Social media posts can easily be taken out of context.
5: How soon after the accident should I hire a truck accident attorney?
You should consult with an experienced attorney immediately so they can start working on time-sensitive aspects of your case, like preserving evidence and contacting witnesses. An attorney protects your rights.
Choosing a Personal Injury Attorney in Texas
If you were injured in a Texas trucking accident, contact our experienced attorneys today for a free case review. Don’t jeopardize your claim by waiting. Call us at 972-682-9700 for a comprehensive legal consultation, or visit Oberg Law to learn more about how we can help you get the justice and compensation you’re entitled to. Take the first step today – we’re here to support you every step of the way.