8 Steps to Take After a Truck Accident in Washington State
- Get medical help. If you are injured, call 911 for emergency medical help. Even if at first you don’t think you are hurt, see a doctor as soon as possible. Many injuries don’t show symptoms for 24 hours or more after the trauma that caused them. A doctor’s exam will also document any injuries you have, which may be evidence if you pursue a legal claim later.
- Take a moment to calm yourself. You want to proceed in a business-like manner after an accident involving a truck. Don’t make accusations or get into an argument with the truck driver or anyone else involved. Make sure you don’t say anything to blame yourself.
- Report the accident. Call the police and your insurance company. Washington State law requires you to report an accident to the police if there is $700 worth of damage or more, which is highly likely in a truck accident. Some insurance companies penalize their insureds for not promptly reporting an accident. When you talk to police and insurance company representatives, answer their questions truthfully, but do not volunteer information or offer opinions. Do not indicate any fault for the accident.
- Document the accident scene. If you can, take photos or video of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, injuries, road conditions, skid marks, spilled cargo, etc. Get any information you can about the truck, especially a company name and location. Take down names and contact information for witnesses, including your passengers. Later, write down your memory of how the accident happened.
- Follow doctor’s orders. Once you see a doctor, do what he or she says regarding treatment (if you disagree with specifics of a treatment plan, you should get a second opinion). In general, let the doctor admit you to the hospital if he or she advises, take prescribed medications, get physical therapy, etc.
- Save documents related to the accident. Start a file for everything connected to your accident, especially receipts for medical care and medication. Get a copy of the police’s accident report. Save any documents about missing work. If you have to hire help for tasks such as housework, yard work or transportation because of your injuries, note it and its costs. Record progress and setbacks during your recovery. Note any special occasions or family obligations you miss because of your injuries. Anything connected to your accident or injuries could be evidence of your losses or pain and suffering.
- Protect your rights. Especially if a large trucking company employed the driver or owned the truck involved in your accident, you are likely to hear from an insurance company soon after the accident. An adjuster may even show up at the accident scene. Be careful what you say, and do not ever sign anything presented to you by an insurance company without legal advice. Also, you have the right to see the physician of your choice after an accident. Don’t let an insurance company (even your insurer) tell you otherwise.
- Get legal help. You should call a truck accident attorney who is experienced in Washington State as soon as possible after a truck accident. Once you have engaged a lawyer, you can turn all dealings with insurance companies over to your attorney. Also, there is evidence to be gathered after a truck accident that can be lost forever without prompt action. The Mariano Morales Law investigates commercial truck accidents to identify all parties who may be held liable for the full extent of our clients’ injuries and losses. Then we press hard for maximum compensation for those who have been injured.
Contact a Yakima Valley accident lawyer at Mariano Morales Law today. Call us now or use our online contact form. We’ll provide an initial legal consultation at no charge to you.