Unfortunately, mistakes and accidents happen. With the number of packages being delivered each day on the rise, more people are getting involved in accidents. Large delivery trucks can travel thousands of miles every day. While on the road, drivers may need to stop unexpectedly, experience a shifting load, back up without looking or fail to notice something in their blind spot. Most delivery drivers also work rain or shine, making them vulnerable to sudden weather changes or poor road conditions.
No matter what the reason for the accident is or who is at fault, you need to act quickly afterwards. Even if you don’t have any noticeable injuries, you should secure a Texas personal injury lawyer and seek medical attention right away. If you are wondering what else you should do after a vehicle accident, use this detailed guide to learn more.
How Delivery Truck Accidents Happen
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the majority of vehicle crashes in the state are a result of failing to yield, speeding, running red lights, following to closely, or driving under the influence. Delivery truck drivers have several other issues they need to watch out for, such as unsecured or shifting loads.
The size of the truck may also create additional hazards for the driver. Large, 16-foot trucks with up to 18 wheels can be difficult to maneuver in tight areas. This makes backing up into roads or alleyways more difficult. Many large trucks also require large turns, causing them to cross into sidewalks, bike lanes, or shoulders.
Because many drivers are also behind the wheel for several hours per day, they are especially prone to fatigue or distractions. To help combat this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has specific regulations for property-carrying drivers, including a 14-hour a day drive limit and mandatory 30-minute driving breaks.
What to Do If You are Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident
The immediate steps you should follow after a delivery truck accident are similar to the ones you would take in every other accident. Factors like liability, insurance coverage and the extent of your injuries shouldn’t affect your immediate actions.
Step 1: Contact Emergency Services
The first thing you should do in an accident is to call 911 and report the incident. The operator will then send police officers and emergency medical professionals to the scene. It is crucial that emergency services are the first call you make, as you or the driver could be seriously injured.
While you shouldn’t speak to the driver about the details of the accident, you should get their name and insurance information. Get the name of the company the driver works for. Be sure to note the time of the accident in case you need to prove it occurred during working hours. Always be careful about what you say!
If you are able to do so, take pictures of the accident. Get photographs of the vehicles from multiple angles and any other damage in the area, such as tire marks in the road or guard rail dents. Take photographs of the truck’s license plate so that you have the number handy.
Once the police arrive at the scene, they will ask you a few questions so that they can create an incident report. Be sure to get a copy of the report or the information you need to obtain one. You will need this report to file a claim with your insurance provider.
Step 2: Get Medical Attention
Large trucks can hit hard! Always prioritize your health in an accident! If you feel dizzy or are having difficulty moving, don’t strain yourself. Wait for a trained medical professional to assist you!
Many people make the mistake of not seeking emergency medical attention because they are worried about the cost. Unfortunately, the longer you wait, the more complicated your medical condition can get. You may plan on driving yourself to your family doctor to save some money, but that might not be possible if your condition worsens or your vehicle can no longer be driven.
Even if you “feel fine” immediately after the impact, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. You may not feel immediate pain after the impact and several injuries, such as fractured bones, may not affect your movement right away, especially as the adrenalin kicks in.
A physician will be able to evaluate your condition and make recommendations on your next steps. They may monitor your condition, prescribe medication, and do thorough testing for broken bones, concussions, or other injuries.
Step 3: Contact a Personal Injury Law Firm
You should consult an attorney as quickly as possible. While you may not be able to discuss your situation at the scene of the accident, it is best to call them as soon as you are able. Make sure the attorneys you choose to work with have experience helping victims of large truck accidents.
If you were the victim of a vehicle accident in Humble, Kingwood, or Atascocita TX, the personal injury lawyers at PM Law Firm may be able to assist you. They can guide you on your next steps.
Step 4: Contact Your Insurance Provider
You should contact your insurance provider within 24 hours of your accident. While you should ideally speak to an attorney before discussing the accident with any insurance agents or adjusters, you do not want to wait too long, especially if you sought medical attention. While the statute of limitations in Texas is two years from the date of the accident, it is usually best to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible so you can get any immediate benefits you are entitled to. For example, your insurance policy may include a rental car or allow you to repair your vehicle right away.
Determining Liability in Delivery Truck Accidents
There are several factors that can affect liability in vehicle accidents. When it comes to Texas law, the biggest factor is what the delivery driver was doing and if they were the cause of the accident. Usually, the driver and their employer are both liable for the incident, as vehicle condition and driver training often play a role during the accident. Because the accident is a direct result of the driver’s work, the employer is liable for the worker’s well-being as well as any property damage or personal injuries they may have caused.
In some unique cases, the driver may be more liable than their employer. For example, independent contractors are often given more flexibility in their role and may own the vehicle they are using for work. If the employer supplies a vehicle in poor working condition and it was a direct cause of the accident, they may be more at fault than the driver.
Because an accident could leave a bigger impact than a typical motor vehicle crash, commercial drivers are required to have special insurance coverage. The business that employs the delivery driver will also have their own insurance to cover incidents that exceed the driver’s personal insurance.
Determining who is liable and which insurance will help you with medical bills, lost wages, or property damage can be difficult. Remember, companies are responsible for hiring drivers with proper training and maintaining their company vehicles. Your personal injury attorney will be able to determine liability and the options you have available.
What Can You Receive Compensation for After an Accident?
One common question victims of truck driving accidents have is what kind of compensation they can receive after the incident. It is almost impossible to provide the victim an estimate, as several different factors are taken into a settlement. Your attorney will help you track the costs related to your accident, such as medical expenses and lost wages.
Some other types of compensation may include:
- Physical or emotional pain and suffering
- Permanent medical issues
- Changes in earning capacity
- Property damage
Your attorney will help guide you through the process of tracking and reporting your expenses. Any paperwork you receive related to your accident they should get a copy of. They will also clarify which types of compensation they are attempting to obtain on your behalf.
Contact a Delivery Driver Personal Injury Lawyer in Texas
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident with a delivery driver, you have the right to understand your options and seek compensation. Regardless of your circumstances or who you think is at fault, you should contact an experienced local attorney to assist you.
At PM Law Firm, we leverage our experience to provide expert legal assistance in a variety of situations. We are always happy to help guide Humble, Kingwood, and Atascocita residents through difficult times with our compassionate, effective assistance. Contact us today to learn more about how our personal injury lawyers can help assist you with personal injury or insurance claims.