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A traffic accident can happen anytime and anywhere, but when it involves a large truck, the impact can be devastating, even deadly. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in one recent year, large truck and bus accidents cost the lives of 160 people in North Carolina, 122 in South Carolina, and 204 in Georgia.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, you could be left with serious injuries and expensive bills, unsure of what to do next. The Melonakos Law Firm is here to help. We provide compassionate legal representation to victims of 18-wheeler accidents in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. Our knowledgeable attorneys can demand compensation and accountability on your behalf while you focus on your health and recovery.
We can explain what to do following a tractor trailer accident to protect your health and improve your prospects of recovering compensation. If you have any questions, contact The Melonakos Law Firm today for a free consultation with an experienced truck accident attorney.
After a truck accident, your mind is probably racing. The first thing to do is report the accident to the appropriate law enforcement agency by calling 911 or contacting the local police department or state police. In both North Carolina and South Carolina, a driver must report any accident involving injury or death to a person or total property damage of $1,000 or more. Georgia has the same rule concerning injuries and deaths but lowers the property damage requirement to $500.
Beyond the legal requirement to do so, you should report the accident because the responding officer will complete an accident report, which is critical evidence in your truck accident case. This report will document who was involved and their injuries, the vehicles involved and damage to those vehicles, the weather and road conditions, whether any drivers appeared under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and other pertinent facts that may illuminate the cause of the crash and who is at fault.
You should always seek medical attention after a truck accident, even if you don’t feel as though you’ve been hurt. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent. For example, a victim suffering internal bleeding or a traumatic brain injury may seem fine at first, but their condition can deteriorate rapidly in the hours following the accident.
Furthermore, seeing a doctor will create a record of your injuries and their association with the truck accident. These medical records will be crucial evidence in your truck accident case. It can be difficult to get to a doctor quickly in South Carolina or know which doctors are best at caring for injury victims without a personal injury lawyer’s help. If you don’t know where to go, give us a call and we can help get you to great healthcare providers who can treat you for your injuries and know how to properly document your injuries for potential litigation.
Make sure you write down as many details as possible about the truck and driver. The trucking industry is complex and involves multiple independent and semi-independent entities, including drivers, carriers, loading companies, maintenance firms, and manufacturers. Not all of these entities may be obvious at first, but any of them could be completely or partially at fault for the accident. It’s important to write down as much identifying information as possible so that your lawyer can investigate their role in the crash.
While at the accident scene, gather as much evidence as possible. This may include:
Whether you’re speaking to the police officer, the truck driver, or eyewitnesses, be careful about what you say. Answer the police officer’s questions honestly, but do not hypothesize about things you do not know as fact, such as the reason for the other driver’s actions.
While you might be tempted to apologize for the accident, don’t. An apology could be interpreted as an admission of fault. Nevertheless, be courteous and show concern for others’ health and safety.
The truck driver or carrier’s insurance company may contact you shortly after the truck accident. They may claim to be checking on you, which seems harmless, but remember that insurance companies lose money by paying out claims. They have a vested interest in protecting their profits. The insurance company could use your words against you to justify offering a settlement that does not fully compensate you for your losses. Therefore, when speaking with the insurance company, do not say, sign, or agree to anything. Instead, inform them that they should talk to your lawyer.
A truck accident can be overwhelming, especially if you’re left with serious injuries and substantial expenses. That’s why you should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible, as they can handle the process for you so you can focus on your health rather than jumping through bureaucratic hoops.
An experienced truck accident attorney from The Melonakos Law Firm can help you during this difficult time by:
If you were injured in a truck accident in South Carolina, North Carolina, or Georgia, contact The Melonakos Law Firm today. One of our experienced 18-wheeler crash attorneys can explain your legal options and how we can help you demand the compensation you deserve.