Having a great attorney after a truck accident in Missouri can be the best way to make sure everything goes smoothly and you get the settlement you deserve. But there are also things you can do to protect your case and document your claim right from the start, before you even call an attorney.
An accident with a large commercial vehicle like a semi truck or a tractor trailer can be extremely stressful, and the aftermath can be hectic. Legally, the process is much different from dealing with a regular auto accident, so you should not delay in contacting an attorney who specializes in handling truck accident cases. Because trucking companies and their insurance companies usually have their own significant legal resources with which to fight your claim, the situation can seem very frustrating and can drag on.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are in place to guide and regulate the trucking industry. So there are additional rules that the trucking industry must be in compliance with. Attorneys who handle these cases understand the rules that trucking companies must follow and what factors commonly contribute to truck accidents. For instance, driver fatigue, speeding, defecting equipment, brake malfunction, faulty vehicle parts, improper loading, and many other issues.
Because of how complicated these cases are, it can be almost impossible to negotiate a fair settlement for yourself and your family without the aid of an attorney. Being informed about what expectations are placed on those in the trucking industry can help to gauge whether negligence occurred and there are further damages you can ask for.
What you should avoid:
You may be tempted to settle with the trucking company directly in order to avoid some of the hassle and so that you can receive your settlement as soon as possible and move forward with your recover. This, however, is rarely a good idea. Settling with the trucking or insurance company right off the bat will probably leave you with a much smaller settlement amount than if you continued with the negotiation and had an attorney on your side, taking the case to litigation if necessary. After an accident with a large commercial vehicle, a representative will probably send you a settlement offer and advise you to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. Obviously this is in their best interests. The settlement amount they offer is usually the smallest amount they think they can get away with paying. Accepting this would mean you probably would not receive enough money to cover all of the expenses (current and future medical expenses, vehicle damage, wage losses, physical therapy, pain and suffering, etc.) you incurred after the accident.
What you should do
- Take pictures of the damage
- Call the police
- Make notes about the details surrounding the accident
- Get the contact information of witnesses
- Document everything - medical expenses, insurance estimates, etc.
- Contact an attorney
- Do not accept or sign any offers that the trucking insurance company sends you
If you have been involved in an accident and have questions about how to get the best settlement possible, contact a Missouri truck accident attorney as soon as possible.