Car accidents involving passenger cars and commercial trucks are some of the worst injury crashes we see.
The sheer mass of a commercial truck (18-wheeler, semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or other “big rig”) makes the impact to a passenger car massive.
Very often, the injuries to those in the passenger car are catastrophic or even fatal.
While passenger car crashes can, of course, also cause catastrophic or fatal injuries, they do so far less than crashes involving commercial trucks.
But accidents involving commercial trucks are not the same as car crashes involving only passenger cars. The trucking industry is a highly regulated field. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) govern all aspects of trucking. The FMCSRs cover licensing and training of truck drivers, working conditions and hours, how commercial trucks are maintained and when, and far more.
Not only do truckers and trucking companies have to comply with all Florida state traffic and safety laws, they must also comply with all FMCS regulations.
What all this means, then, is that the steps you need to take after an auto accident with a commercial truck are not necessarily the same as what you need to do after a passenger car-only accident.
Steps to Take After a Crash with a Commercial Truck
Seek Medical Care
For any accident, calling 911 and seeking medical care after an accident — even if you do not think you are hurt—should always be your first step.
The stress of having been in an accident can keep symptoms or pain from presenting for days or even weeks. This means that you may indeed be seriously injured—you just don’t realize it.
Another reason to seek medical care is to document your injuries so that you can recover for your medical costs. If you have to file a claim to recover for your injuries, but you never went to see a doctor (or you did go, but did not follow the doctor’s instructions) this can affect your personal injury case in two ways.
First, you may lose valuable medical payment benefits and, second, you may not be able to prove your injury claim.
The prevailing wisdom posits that if you really were injured, you would have sought medical care. So, the thinking goes, if you did not go to the doctor, or didn’t follow the doctor’s instructions, you probably were not seriously hurt.
Investigate Beyond Witnesses
In passenger car accidents, one generally exchanges information with the other driver, and perhaps gets witnesses names and a police report.
While that may be sufficient for car crashes, you need to do more if you are involved in a commercial truck accident.
You will need to gain access to trucking logs, the “black box” and other documentary evidence.
This is because gathering and preserving evidence is far more critical in a truck accident case.
Trucking accidents often involve massive medical costs. They also generally include a number of violations of the federal regulations. To reduce their liability as much as possible, most trucking companies immediately send out investigators, lawyers, and other personnel to the accident scene.
Gathering and preserving the evidence in these cases is essential because trucking companies are legally allowed to destroy many of the documents needed in a personal injury case (e.g., trucking logs, maintenance records, etc.) after a very short period of time—generally 6 months.
Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer
Probably the most important step you can take (after seeking medical care) is to contact a Florida commercial trucking accident attorney.
Commercial trucking accident cases are complicated cases. In addition to considerable damages, they involve complex laws, many potential defendants, issues surrounding evidence, and specific procedures that must be followed.
An experienced big truck accident attorney can help get you the compensation you deserve and make the process easier for you so you can concentrate on healing.
Commercial Truck Accident Attorney in Orange Park, Florida
If you are injured in a commercial truck accident, experienced Florida commercial truck accident attorney, John Fagan, is here to help. Our practice is dedicated to helping accident victims. Contact us here or simply call our firm at: 777-JOHN. We serve clients throughout Florida. Our main office is in Orange Park, but we have consulting offices in Palatka, Middleburg, Keystone, Starke, Gainesville, and Ocala.