After a truck accident in Atlanta, you should seek medical attention, report the accident to the authorities, and consult a truck accident attorney. The next step is to file an insurance claim and, if necessary, consider a lawsuit. You can also work to secure evidence, though your lawyer can assist you with this task. Above all, remain calm and never hesitate to ask questions.
Get Medical Care After an Atlanta Truck Accident
The first step is always to seek attention for your injuries. In some cases, you can’t trust what your body is telling you. Adrenaline can keep you going even if you’re hurt. Check-in with a doctor as soon as possible.
Taking Care of Yourself Also Takes Care of Your Future Claim or Suit
Receiving medical care has multiple purposes beyond just safeguarding your health.
Seeing a doctor:
- Provides another record of the accident
- Establishes documentation of your injuries
- Creates evidence of losses
- Proves not just injuries but also pain
After getting hit by a truck, you may think there’s no way someone will question that the accident happened or that you were hurt.
However, trucking companies are armed with attorneys and insurance representatives eager to get out of paying you a penny. They will use any tactic they can to discredit you. Fighting a trucking company can mean more than just providing documentation of your injuries, but it’s a good start.
How to Talk to the Truck Driver After the Accident
After any motor vehicle accident, exchange this information with the driver if possible:
- Insurance information
- License plate number
- Driver’s license number
- Contact information
- Employer details
What is different in a truck accident compared to a passenger vehicle collision is the employer information. Truck drivers are typically employed by trucking companies, and if the accident occurred on the clock, your case will involve the company and its insurer.
Even if the driver is a contractor, you can still obtain information about the company that contracted them. While some companies avoid liability for driver actions by contracting instead of employing them, some actions could still leave the company liable.
Report the Truck Accident to Relevant Authorities in Atlanta
According to state law, you must report any accident involving:
- Injury of any person
- Death of any person
- At least $500 in property damage
Accidents involving large trucks likely fit these requirements. The size of a truck equals a greater risk of serious damage, injuries, and fatalities. A between two passenger vehicles might just cause a fender bender, whereas the same accident with a truck could cause significant injuries.
Consequently, one thing you should do after a truck accident in Atlanta is to report it to the local authorities. Stay at the scene until they arrive, even if the other driver does not.
While you aren’t going to face the same consequences for not reporting an accident to insurance, you will likely violate your policy, which can give your insurer a reason not to help you. If you don’t uphold your end of the agreement, they won’t uphold theirs. Report the truck accident to them, too.
How to Report an Accident to Insurance
When reporting a truck collision to an insurance company, you don’t have to provide them with anything beyond your:
- Contact information
- Insurance information
- Vehicle information
- Time and date
They might make you believe you have to tell them more. You don’t. They will ask questions, but you don’t have to answer them. Keep things brief and to the point.
You Can Report the Crash to a Lawyer at Any Time
The insurance adjuster is protecting their employer, but a personal injury attorney protects you. You can consult a lawyer at any point after a truck accident to help represent you and your interests.
When researching possible representation, look for:
- Someone with experience in truck accident cases
- Case results and client testimonials
- Free case reviews for you to ask questions
- Peer reviews and accolades from within their field
- Whether they have taken a case to court
Once you find a good fit, your lawyer can handle all communication going forward with police, insurers, trucking company representatives, and other attorneys.
Secure Evidence of the Truck Accident
Even if your case only involves an insurance claim, you still need evidence. An insurer may dispute the severity of your injuries, what happened, or whether the accident is covered. You and your team can mitigate or avoid these problems by preserving evidence as quickly as possible.
Evidence From the Scene
At the site of the collision, collect:
- Photos of the accident, angle of impact, and where vehicles ended up
- Pictures of road conditions, traffic, and weather
- Contact information for eyewitnesses
- Physical evidence that seems relevant
This only applies if you are physically able to gather evidence at the time of the accident. Truck collisions can leave victims completely unable to do anything at the scene. That’s okay.
Later, you or your lawyer can still obtain:
- Photos and video from witnesses
- Video from traffic cameras or nearby businesses
- The police report, including photos and citations
These sources can provide evidence from the scene that could still prove useful in an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
You can continue to preserve evidence while you go through your injury recovery. Medical costs can make up a significant part of your request for damages, so try to keep documentation that can demonstrate what you suffered, how badly you suffered, and how long you suffered.
You and your attorney can gather:
- Hospital bills
- Tests and imaging
- Specialist visit records
- Doctor’s notes and recommendations
- Treatment plans
- Prescriptions for medications
- Receipts for over-the-counter medications
- Medical equipment documentation
- Receipts for out-of-pocket costs
- Diagnoses from experts
- Progress reports and evaluations
For example, if you broke your leg, Healthcare.gov estimates that it could cost up to $7,500. You could collect X-rays, bills for setting the bone and putting on a cast, records of visiting a doctor for follow-ups, a prescription for painkillers, payment for crutches, and progress reports from a physical therapist to prove your losses.
Some injuries and their corresponding treatments will generate significantly more paperwork, providing additional evidence of your expenses. Don’t get overwhelmed. Your lawyer can catalog everything for you.
Evidence of Income Losses
While medical evidence can demonstrate what damages you need for past and future medical care, you might need additional evidence to show what damages you need for past and future income losses.
Your legal team can help you collect evidence of days you missed while recovering, changes to your ability to work, and long-term projected losses.
That might come through:
- Pay stubs
- Employment records
- Work history
- Employer testimony
- Coworker Testimony
- Expert testimony
Using the broken leg example, you could have required extensive surgery and physical therapy. That made you miss weeks of work, reflected in your work history and corroborated by your employer. This can illustrate what you deserve for missed pay.
Maybe the injury made it so you can no longer stand for long periods, affecting your ability to return to the same job. Your doctor and coworkers can confirm this information, while your pay stubs can show a change to a different position with lower pay. This documentation can illustrate what you deserve for reduced earning ability.
A Lawyer Can Procure Other Evidence
To help link your injuries and losses to the truck accident, your attorney can work to assemble evidence like:
- Transportation logs from the driver
- Dash cam footage from the truck
- Employment and driving history for the driver
- Hiring and training practices by the company
- Type of cargo the truck was carrying
- Drug and alcohol testing for the driver
These can all point to a negligent action by the driver or the trucking company. Violations of hours-of-service, tailgating, negligent hiring and training practices, improperly loaded or stored cargo, and drunk driving—your attorney can help demonstrate any of these careless behaviors through the evidence above.
Avoid Common Pitfalls After an Atlanta Truck Accident
What not to do is just as important as what to do after a truck accident in Atlanta. To protect yourself from having your claim questioned, try to avoid the following.
Posting on Social Media
Adjusters might check your Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or other accounts to see if your behavior is consistent with your injuries and your version of events. They might twist something to use it as a reason to undervalue or deny your claim.
Giving a Recorded Statement
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to give a recorded, official statement to insurance. All you must provide are the basic facts when you report the crash. Everything else can come through your attorney.
Adjusters will check up on whether you continue receiving care for injuries. If you skip appointments, they might start to question the validity of your injuries.
This is a frustrating situation. You shouldn’t have gotten hit by a truck. You shouldn’t have to deal with the truck driver’s insurers or attorneys. You shouldn’t have to constantly prove that you’re hurting physically, emotionally, and financially.
However, losing your temper when talking to adjusters, trucking company representatives, or other parties will not help your case. Adjusters may feel less inclined to cooperate with you if you come off as agitated. Try to remain calm and polite.
That doesn’t mean you should act like a pushover. If you’re feeling frustrated, bullied, intimidated, or short-changed, your lawyer can handle the situation. Not only can your legal team stand up for you, but they can also utilize their knowledge of the law, the process, and truck accident cases to find new ways to tackle a problem.
Agreeing to Anything Without Seeing It in Writing
Did the insurance company make you a verbal offer over the phone? Did they make it seem like an offer has a time limit? Did they try to pressure you into accepting something without fully explaining the terms?
These tactics aim to get you to agree to less than your case is worth. You always have a right to see something in writing, take the time to review it, and ask for help from an expert to make sure you understand what you’re signing.
You Can File a Lawsuit for a Truck Accident in Atlanta
After a truck crash, you can file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit in Atlanta. Typically, according to state law, you have two years from the date of the accident or wrongful death to file, but several factors can change this deadline, so check with your attorney.
Filing a lawsuit does not mean you are guaranteed to go to trial. It also doesn’t mean negotiations are over between you and the other party. It just means you take an additional step to receive the damages you think you deserve. Maybe the insurance company didn’t agree about liability, they underestimated what your injuries are worth, or you simply can’t agree on terms.
A lawsuit can initiate better negotiations or, if all parties still can’t agree, leave the verdict up to a judge and jury. Your lawyer can walk you through the steps between filing a lawsuit and going to trial so that you understand where your truck accident case is headed.
Learn Your Rights After an Atlanta Truck Accident
The best thing you can do after a truck accident in Atlanta is to acquaint yourself with your rights as an accident victim. Drivers, trucking companies, and insurers will exploit what you don’t know. Talk to a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, look over your insurance policy terms, research the state’s laws, and don’t let anyone take advantage of you.