Millions of people each day rely on companies such as UPS and FedEx to ship important letters, packages, and other items promptly. However, as with any other vehicle on the road, there is a chance that they may be involved in a truck accident. Let’s look at what you should know if you are in an accident with a commercial truck and the specific steps you should take in the immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle wreck.
What Should You Do Immediately After the Truck Accident?
Your top priority should be to assess the situation and get yourself to safety as quickly as possible in the moments after impact. The first thing you’ll want to do is check for signs of serious injuries such as a broken leg or a concussion. You’ll also want to ask any passengers in your car if they are experiencing any pain or discomfort.
It’s worth noting that symptoms of whiplash, internal bleeding, or other injuries may not present themselves right away. Therefore, you must seek treatment after a truck accident even if you think that you’re okay.
If you can do so safely, you should move your vehicle to the side of the road, a parking lot, or any other location away from oncoming traffic. If you notice any signs of a fuel or fluid leak, get out of the car as there may be a high risk of an explosion.
The final step you need to take in the moments after a truck accident is to call the police. An officer will take a statement, help with the process of exchanging insurance information and call an ambulance if anyone at the scene needs immediate medical attention. This person will also compile a police report that you will need to send to your insurance company as quickly as possible. Ideally, you’ll notify your insurance company of the crash no more than 24 hours after it takes place.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident Involving a FedEx or UPS Truck?
In most cases, the company that owns a commercial vehicle is liable for what its drivers do. This is because of a standard called vicarious liability, and it says that whoever owns a car or truck is responsible for the actions of anyone who is permitted to operate it.
Therefore, if a UPS truck collided with your car, UPS would likely be the defendant in your case. If a FedEx truck collided with your vehicle, FedEx would likely be the defendant in your case. However, the driver may also be liable for damages if they acted in an incredibly reckless manner.
It’s also possible that the driver will be held liable if a company truck is being used for personal reasons. For example, if an individual was driving a UPS truck to pick up groceries for dinner, that person may be responsible for covering any losses you incur due to their actions.
Was the Truck Accident the Other Driver’s Fault?
To obtain compensation in a personal injury case, you’ll need to prove that the UPS or FedEx driver was the one who caused the collision to happen. In California, a comparative fault system is used to determine who was responsible for an accident. In such a system, both the plaintiff and defendant can bear responsibility for causing a wreck.
Let’s say that you are deemed to be 10% liable for your injuries. In such a scenario, any financial award that you receive will be reduced by 10%. Many factors may be considered in a car accident case involving a commercial vehicle.
For example, if you were going too fast for road conditions or were on a cellphone when the crash occurred, you’ll likely be partially liable for any damages that you incur. The same may be true if you were impaired by drugs or alcohol before a wreck or took other actions that violated your duty of care to others.
Other Elements to Consider When Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim
You’ll need to establish multiple elements if you want to obtain a favorable outcome in a personal injury case. First, you’ll need to show that the defendant took action that disregarded their duty of care.
You will also need to show that these actions directly led to your injuries. This is one of the reasons why it is essential to seek medical treatment after a crash, even if you don’t believe that you have been seriously hurt. Doing so makes it possible to obtain current medical records that can create a link between the defendant’s reckless behavior and a concussion or broken bones.
Finally, you’ll need to prove that you incurred a financial loss. If a defendant’s actions didn’t result in such a loss, they don’t rise to the level of negligence from a legal perspective. In a truck accident case, financial losses could include the cost of medical bills, replacing items damaged in the wreck, or lost wages.
What Types of Damages Might Be Available in a Truck Accident Case?
You will likely be entitled to reimbursement for actual damages in a truck accident case. Actual damages are any losses you have already incurred, such as medical bills or vehicle repair costs. Lost wages are also considered actual damages, and in most cases, this is the easiest part of a financial award to calculate.
In addition, you may be entitled to compensatory damages such as lost future earnings. These damages are harder to calculate because you are mostly guessing how much you would have made in the future based on your current level of professional and educational achievement.
Finally, you might receive cash to help pay for mental anguish caused by a crash. For instance, you may be paid to see a therapist, obtain medication, or cover other costs designed to help you overcome problems such as nightmares or a fear of driving after an accident occurs.
When Must You File a Personal Injury Claim?
In most cases, you’ll have two years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit. However, it is worth noting that you don’t have to resolve the matter within two years to retain your right to sue. If you hire an attorney, they will likely sue on your behalf, even if your goal is to resolve the matter outside of a courtroom.
However, some exceptions may extend the statute of limitations in your case to more than two years. For instance, the statute of limitations clock will toll if you don’t immediately identify the accident as the source of your injuries. The clock will also toll if you are outside of the state where the accident occurred.
If you are in a coma, are declared clinically insane, or are otherwise mentally unfit to take legal action, the statute of limitations will be tolled until your situation changes. Finally, if you are a minor when you are hurt in an accident, you will have two years from the date you reach the age of majority to file a lawsuit.
Refrain From Talking About Your Case Whenever Possible
In the aftermath of a car crash, you are under no obligation to talk to the police or the truck driver that collided with your car. Furthermore, you are under no obligation to speak to the insurance company that represents the other driver. However, you will be required to make a statement to your own auto insurance provider as a part of the claims process.
It’s generally in your best interest to craft this statement with the assistance of an attorney. They may help ensure that you don’t say anything that might be used against you during the legal process. Ideally, you will submit a written statement instead of an oral one as it’s generally easier to avoid making mistakes that might expose you to liability in your case. It’s important to point out that the other driver’s insurance company is entitled to receive a copy of any oral or written statement that you make.
It is also worth noting that anything you say or your attorney is kept confidential. Therefore, it’s usually in your best interest to be as open and honest with this person as possible. Doing so will make it easier for your legal adviser to help you obtain a favorable resolution to the matter.
If you are involved in an accident caused by a UPS or FedEx truck, it’s crucial to take action as quickly as possible. Doing so may make it easier to preserve your rights while also ensuring that critical evidence is available for use during settlement talks or at trial. An attorney may be able to help you obtain, preserve, or otherwise use any photos, videos, or records that may be relevant in your case. Legal counsel may also take other steps that may help you obtain the resources needed to maintain a reasonable quality of life after a crash.