Next Steps When in a Commercial Vehicle Accident

Over 415,000 auto accidents each year involve commercial vehicles. If you recently have been involved in one such crash in Georgia, you likely are wondering what next steps to take.

From documenting the scene to finding a commercial vehicle accident attorney, there’s a lot to accomplish. Read on to learn how you can begin the process of seeking compensation for injuries and property damage.

Seek Medical Attention if Necessary

Regardless of whether or not you’ve sustained post-crash injuries, the first thing to do is call 911. If you need medical attention, make sure that you tell EMS. They will take you to the hospital so you can get your injuries looked at and stay safe and healthy.

Visible injuries like burns, large bruises, broken bones, and head injuries require immediate medical attention. Joint tearing and tissue damage also necessitate an ER trip. Many people also need to go to a hospital if they’re experiencing joint stiffness and (most commonly) whiplash.

Document Everything

If you don’t have any injuries, you still need to call 911 and file a police report. Be calm and tell them your location. At this point, you’ll want to document everything.

This will involve:

  • Taking contact information from the other driver
  • Making note of the exact accident site (street names, which side of the road the collision happened on, etc)
  • Taking the other driver’s license plate
  • Getting the other driver’s insurance information
  • Making note of what commercial company both you and the other driver work for (whose property you were driving)

You’ll also need to take photos of:

  • Any injuries that you sustained
  • Property damage to your vehicle
  • The other driver’s vehicle (so they don’t try to claim more damage than there is)
  • The precise site of the accident
  • The positions of both vehicles post-collision
  • Street names and road signs
  • Weather conditions during the accident

This information will give you something concrete to show to the Georgia commercial vehicle accident attorney you hire.

Avoid Common Mistakes

It’s also important that you say nothing that could make you look guilty. Even a simple apology to the other driver could cause you serious issues. Also avoid saying that you’re not hurt – injuries could become evident later, and you don’t want a rash statement to stop you from getting compensation.

Whatever you do, you also don’t want to make any social media posts. Saying the wrong thing could get you in serious trouble, even if you just post a simple “I’m okay” or a photo.

Insurance agents and opposing lawyers could find these posts and use them to minimize your stress or injuries. They may even think that you weren’t taking the accident seriously because you managed to post despite immediate stress. This could then stand in the way of getting you as much compensation as possible.

Find a Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney

At this point, many websites will tell you to call your insurance agency. Don’t do that yet. You need to have a top-notch lawyer to help you communicate with them effectively.

If you try to call the insurance company on your own, the agent might trip you up. They know how to get you to say things that make the accident sound like it was your fault or it wasn’t so bad. After all, they want to pay you the least compensation possible!

The first step toward finding a commercial accident lawyer is talking to the company that you drive for. Since you were driving a vehicle that they own, they may have certain requirements for the attorney that you hire. In fact, they may already have hired someone to represent you.

If not, do your research to find a top-notch lawyer. Make sure that you find someone local with 25+ years of experience. It’s also important that they specialize in truck accidents and commercial vehicle crashes.

Read online reviews, check out online forums, and get all the information possible. You want to make a confident, well-informed decision.

Ask the Right Questions

Once you think you’ve found a lawyer, it’s time to schedule a consultation. Ask important questions like:

  • How much experience do you have?
  • Have you worked with cases like mine before?
  • How much time will you dedicate to my case?
  • What are your rates?
  • How do you expect payment? Do you take contingency fees, an hourly rate, or a flat fee?
  • Can you tell me about a time you succeeded in a commercial vehicle accident case?

If you like the answers you get, you can then begin working with the attorney ASAP.

You also will want to find out how much compensation the lawyer thinks you can reasonably get. They can give you unbiased figures with a professional and well-informed perspective. They also can tell you what kinds of damages may be available, including:

  • Compensation for medical bills
  • Funds to make up for wages you lost because of the injury
  • Temporary or permanent disability
  • Damage to the vehicle (for either you or the company that owns it)
  • Compensation for pain and suffering

Communicate With Insurance Agents

After you hire an attorney to help you, they’ll file your commercial accident claim. They’ll try to get you compensation that likely includes:

It’s important to note that Georgia is a “fault” state when it comes to auto insurance claims. You’ll need to prove that the other driver is negligent while you took appropriate measures to prevent the accident.

Georgia also has modified comparative negligence. If you were 30% at fault for the accident while the other driver was 70% responsible, you can recover more damages than if it was a 40/60 fault ratio. You can likely recover some compensation assuming that you are less than 50% at fault.

Your attorney will help you prove fault, which is the first step toward recovering damages.

After examining the evidence, taking eyewitness statements, and visiting the accident site, your lawyer will begin negotiating with insurance agents. They’ll work to get you the most compensation possible by professionally arguing your case. Experienced lawyers have likely even worked with your insurance agent before, so they’ll know exactly what to do. 

Work With a Commercial Vehicle Accident Law Firm

Now that you know what to do after involvement in a commercial vehicle accident, it’s time to find a Georgia lawyer to help you get the best possible compensation. 

Scholle Law is committed to using our 25+ years of experience to help you file a claim and negotiate with insurance companies. We’re excited to hear more about your specific case, so contact us to schedule a free consultation with a commercial vehicle accident attorney.