If you’ve been injured in an accident due to the negligence of a truck driver and/or trucking company, South Dakota law allows you to file a claim and seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. There are important steps you should take after your truck accident in order to get the award you need and deserve.
Stay at the Scene, Call 911, and Report the Accident
Truck accidents are likely to cause serious injuries, so your safety is the first thing to think about. Remember that a truck might be carrying cargo that is flammable or toxic. Move away from it if you can, get to a safe spot, and call 911. Doing so should bring emergency medical technicians and the police so that you can report the accident. An official police report proves the accident happened. It’s the first step toward collecting fair compensation for your damages.
Don’t leave the scene without reporting the crash or make a deal for a cash settlement with the at-fault driver. If you do, you could lose your right to seek further compensation even if you suffer serious health problems later as a result of the accident. Remember that the severe injuries often caused by truck crashes aren’t always noticeable at first. You might have injuries that you won’t even know about until you get medical attention.
Gather Evidence, Take Photos, and Get Contact Information
If you are physically able to, take photos or videos of:
- The accident scene.
- Your damaged vehicle.
- Your injuries.
- Any other evidence such as skid marks and damaged guardrails or telephone poles.
Try to get contact information from any witnesses at the scene. If it’s dark and/or you don’t have a pen, make an audio recording of this information on your phone, including every detail you can remember about the crash. Pictures, recordings, and eyewitness testimony from the scene could help your case significantly.
Once you’ve taken photos of your vehicle, don’t be in a rush to get it repaired. It might need to be inspected in its damaged condition during the course of the investigation.
Get Medical Attention as Soon as Possible
Some injuries aren’t immediately noticeable to a truck accident victim. A doctor’s exam and X-rays can reveal problems you might not know you have. Getting medical attention right after the accident documents your injuries, and following your doctor’s orders prevents you from being blamed for ignoring medical advice and making your condition worse.
Keep a journal of your treatment and pain and suffering, and keep or photograph:
- Crutches or canes.
- Empty prescription bottles.
- Medical equipment.
- Other aids that are/were part of your treatment.
Tell the Truth After a Truck Accident
Be honest with the police and your lawyer and fill out all forms truthfully. Do not hide pre-existing conditions or exaggerate your injuries. Any evidence of dishonesty could hurt your claim and keep you from getting fair compensation. Don’t withhold any information from your lawyer, and don’t discuss your case with anyone but the police and your attorney.
Don’t Admit Fault After Being in an Accident
Speak honestly but minimally to the police, sign only the documents they require, and read those documents first. Don’t talk to the other driver except to exchange insurance information. If the driver appears to be fatigued or under the influence of any substance, though, report your impression to the police when you speak to them.
Don’t admit any fault to anyone, and don’t speak to insurance adjusters. Refer them to your lawyer. Finally, don’t post anything about the accident or your injuries on social media. Doing so could hurt your case.
Contact Our Experienced Sioux Falls Truck Accident Attorneys
If you’ve been injured in a South Dakota truck crash, an experienced truck accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 601-306-4100 to schedule a free consultation. We take cases on a contingency fee basis, so you pay no attorney fees until we win your case.