Fresno Truck Accident Lawyer
When a commercial tractor-trailer or big rig collides with a smaller vehicle, the damage to the smaller car (and whoever is occupying it) can be devastating. For example, a semi-truck collided head-on with an SUV on Highway 180 near Fowler Avenue in East Central Fresno. The driver of the SUV was pulled out of his vehicle before it exploded. Unfortunately, the driver later died from his injuries. The driver of the semi-truck was not hurt.Disturbing Truck Accident Statistics
The deadly collision described above is not some anomaly. Fatal crashes between commercial trucks and other vehicles are pretty standard. According to CNBC, a truck accident occurs about eleven times a day in the United States, and close to four thousand drivers and passengers are killed each year in these collisions. To make matters worse, an additional one hundred thousand individuals suffer severe injuries in truck wrecks yearly in the U.S. Furthermore, deadly truck wrecks have increased since 2009.Steps You Should Take After a Big Rig Crash
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a wreck caused by a large tractor-trailer, you probably have grounds to pursue a personal injury claim against the truck driver and their employer. The truck companies know this, so they act swiftly after being alerted to an accident involving one of their vehicles. In a matter of hours, the scene of a severe truck wreck can be inundated with the truck company's claims adjusters, investigators, and attorneys. You must take some necessary steps after the collision to protect your claim.
- Call 911 and Seek Medical Care - The first step is to alert the police and seek immediate medical attention for your bodily injuries. The health and well-being of you and any occupants in your vehicle are paramount. If you, or a passenger, are able, try to collect some evidence and pertinent contact information. For example, you should try to get the commercial driver's license number and insurance information from the truck operator. You should also try to get the name of the truck company.
- Collect Witness Information - If you can, try to collect the contact information of any witnesses who saw the Fresno truck accident occur, including their full names and cell phone numbers. You should also try to determine if there were businesses near the accident scene that may have recorded the collision on their video surveillance camera system. Many gas stations and convenience stores have outdoor cameras monitoring their parking lots and may have picked up the accident.
- Take Photos of the Crash Scene - If you or a passenger can, take photographs of the collision scene. With the advent of cell phone cameras, you should be able to take a relatively clear picture of the accident scene, including the damage to your vehicle, any skid marks on the road, any stop signs or street signals, etc. You should also take pictures of any visible wounds you suffered.
Reach out to a Fresno truck accident attorney to determine your options. Below is a video explaining how soon you should contact an accident attorney.Dealing with the Insurance Adjuster
Shortly after the accident, likely within 24 to 48 hours, do not be surprised if you receive a call from an insurance adjuster for the truck company. Under any circumstances, do not agree to give a recorded statement without first speaking to an accident attorney. This always happens – an adjuster calls the victim and acts friendly. They try to make you feel at ease and request that you give them a summary of the accident via a recorded statement. This is a tactic used by insurance companies to try and mitigate their potential liability exposure. They may wind up twisting or misusing your words to make it sound like you were not seriously injured or that the collision was your fault. You must first speak with an experienced Fresno truck accident lawyer. Having an injury attorney by your side will help ensure your statements to the insurance company are precise, accurate, and beneficial to your case.Fresno Truck Accident FAQ
Do I need to seek medical care after a truck accident, even if my injuries are minor?
You should seek timely medical treatment after the collision. You also need to follow the instructions provided by your doctor. This is extremely important because if you ignore a doctor's instructions or blow off rehabilitation visits, it sends a red flag to the truck company insurance adjuster and could weaken your injury claim in front of a jury. They may think, "well, if they didn't go to treatment for their injuries, they probably were not hurt that bad." So, remember, follow your doctor's advice.
What is the procedure for filing a truck accident injury claim?
Many accidents involving commercial trucks occur on interstate highways. This is how most tractor-trailers and big rigs haul consumer goods and other items from point A to point B. When someone is hit by a big rig, they may be traveling from one state to another and not residing where the collision occurred. This leads to an important question – where should a truck accident injury lawsuit be filed? In most personal injury cases, the lawsuit is filed in the city or county where the actual incident occurred. Also, the suit would be filed in court rather than in federal court. However, a truck accident case can wind up in federal court or in a court of a different state. A federal court claim is possible when a truck accident involves parties residing in different states, and the amount of damages being pursued exceeds $75,000, or if a violation of federal law occurred in the collision. So, for example, if you resided in Fresno and were hit by a commercial truck whose company is based in Seattle, Washington, and your lawsuit is seeking damages totaling $500,000. A federal court could have jurisdiction over the case. It is also possible that when a claim is filed in state court, it will eventually be "removed" from that court and sent up to federal court. Jurisdictional issues are some of the most complex aspects of personal injury litigation. Having an experienced Fresno truck accident attorney on your side makes sense to help guide you through this process.
Fresno, CA Trucking Accident Attorney
Were you hurt in a trucking crash in Fresno County, CA? Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer at AutoAccident.com to protect your best interests. Call (559) 377-7676 or (800) 404-5400 to get started today and receive free, friendly legal advice on your personal injury case.
Editor's Note: updated 10.24.23 Image by Jeff Chabot from Pixabay sb [cs 1122]