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A trucking accident may have left you with serious or debilitating personal injuries. In Orange County, you have the right to review your legal options with an attorney, often free of charge during an initial consultation. During this meeting, your Orange County personal injury lawyer will explain the next steps to take. You and your lawyer will need to determine the most appropriate course of action to obtain fair compensation for your damages if a negligent party caused your wreck.
Taking the right steps after your crash can strengthen your case.
California law requires those involved in an auto accident to call 911 and report the accident if it caused personal injuries (even minor ones), death, or property damage exceeding $1,000. Most trucking accidents meet this threshold, as the size and weight of a commercial truck striking a passenger vehicle can obliterate the latter. Most vehicles sustain much more than $1,000 in damages, on top of its passengers suffering major injuries.
Calling 911 creates an official record that the crash happened, and sends police officers to the scene to investigate and gather evidence. Give police officers your side of the story when they arrive. Do not admit fault or appear apologetic about the accident. Be honest with the police officers, but stick to the facts. Do not speculate about who or what caused the crash unless you know for sure.
If you are able, start building your case from the scene of the accident. You or a trusted friend or family member should get the name of the truck driver and trucking company, the trucker’s insurance company, the license plate number, and the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses. Photos and videos of the scene, property damage, and personal injuries are also helpful to build your case. Get your police report number as well.
Request an ambulance during your initial 911 call if you or someone else at the scene has any personal injuries. If you do not believe you need an ambulance, at least visit a doctor or emergency room soon after your trucking accident. Prompt medical care can find and treat any injuries you may not know you have, such as internal organ damage or a brain injury. It can also show an insurance company that you took care of your injuries right away.
California is a fault-based insurance state. You will call the at-fault party’s insurance company to file your claim. You should also call your own insurance company, as it will want to know about any accidents involving your vehicle. When speaking to the other side’s insurance company, state the facts but do not admit fault. Only answer the questions asked – do not go into more detail than necessary. Keep the conversation to a minimum. The claims adjuster will be looking for ways to minimize your payout.
Trucking companies have substantial resources to fight accident claims. Their insurance companies and legal teams will do everything they can to avoid liability and escape paying you for your damages. Hiring a lawyer of your own to represent you in the aftermath of a truck accident can level the playing field, and prevent others from taking advantage of you during the claims process.
Contact an Orange County truck accident lawyer as soon as you can after a truck accident in Orange County. Your lawyer can preserve important evidence, such as the truck’s black box, and begin planning your case against the correct defendant. Your lawyer can also take over insurance company conversations and settlement negotiations, fighting for a higher amount than you likely could receive alone. Hiring an attorney to handle your truck accident claim can allow you time to focus on healing.