Mistakes to Avoid with a Winchester Semi-Truck Accident

Semi-trucks haul freight into Winchester regularly, often pulling up to loading docks to unload groceries, furniture, and other consumer goods. When these trucks collide with pedestrians or motorists, devastating injuries result. At Correll Law Firm, our Winchester truck accident lawyer can swoop in to protect your legal rights. Truck accidents are enormously expensive and leave painful injuries. You deserve a legal representative on your side who can negotiate an effective settlement for your medical bills and other damages. Give us a call, 540-535-2005. Our firm is happy to extend a free consultation to anyone who asks.

Do Not Wait to Call a Lawyer

Large trucking companies spend a lot of money to fight off claims. Many of them have private investigators who will immediately descend onto an accident scene to collect evidence. While you are being bundled into the back of an ambulance, these investigators are:

  • Photographing the accident scene
  • Speaking to witnesses and asking detailed questions about what they saw
  • Inspecting the truck and your vehicle
  • Talking to the truck driver about what happened
  • Preserving data from the truck’s “black box”

You need an attorney on your team who can engage in evidence collection, too. For example, a witness might say they saw a trucker run a red light. The trucking company talks with them but refuses to share their name with you. You need a lawyer to track down people, as well as search for surveillance video which might have captured the crash.

There’s also a risk the trucking company will hide evidence. For example, they should give the trucker a drug test after most wrecks. If the test comes back positive for drugs, there’s a risk they’ll bury the result.

The sooner you call a law firm, the better. Our founder, Beau Correll, can immediately put the trucking company on notice to preserve relevant records. We can also request access to the most relevant evidence, such as data from the truck.

Remember Not to Overlook Evidence at the Scene

Not every accident victim is immediately paralyzed. You might be badly shaken but nonetheless able to exit your vehicle. If so, it’s a big mistake to not preserve evidence.

Here are some things your attorney wants to know:

  • How did the trucker act immediately following the crash? Many truckers are intoxicated, high, or fatigued. Was he stumbling around? Did his breath smell of alcohol? Did he throw a joint in the gutter?
  • Did beer bottles or paper coffee cups come tumbling out of the cab along with the trucker?
  • Was the trucker holding a cell phone when he exited the cab? That might be a sign he was texting and driving.
  • Did witnesses observe the accident? Try to speak with them and ask for a phone number, along with a name. Your lawyer can interview them later.

Avoid Giving Any Recorded Interview

The trucking company or its insurer might call you up at home and ask for a recorded statement. You should not answer any questions until you meet with a lawyer.

Here’s why. Virginia still recognizes contributory negligence. Under this legal doctrine, any negligence on your part—even the tiniest bit—will result in a complete loss of compensation. Because if you are even 1% to blame, you’ll get nothing!

It is too easy to slip up and blurt out something you really don’t mean. For example, you might admit to looking at your phone before the accident or coming to a “rolling stop” at the intersection. Any mistake like this could result in a complete loss of all compensation, regardless of your injuries.

We will meet to go over what happened. Then, after we understand the facts, we can share your version of events with the other side. You should never give the other side information to use against you.

Refuse to Accept Any Settlement Until Meeting with Us

Trucking companies hire aggressive insurance companies which are focused on paying as little as possible. They drive a hard bargain. If you get a settlement offer, you can be sure it’s not generous.

Let us review the proposal before you accept. Our firm has negotiated countless settlements, and we understand how much insurers can pay for income loss, property damages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and medical care. We will fight to increase the amount offered.

Never Diagnose Your Own Injuries

It is important for accident victims to show they did everything possible to get better. You should go to the hospital after the accident, even if you think you feel fine. You want to begin building an evidentiary record for your case.

Also, if you don’t think you’re improving, then you should see a doctor for a second opinion. Don’t simply stop seeking treatment or decide you can take some over-the-counter pain pills. You should continue to attend physical therapy.

Medical care is expensive—we get that. But we can seek financial compensation in a settlement to cover the costs of treatment. If you stop seeing a doctor, then you might obtain less in a settlement.

Don’t Post About Your Accident on Social Media

This is another way to let something slip that you might regret later. Also, even posting pictures of yourself after the accident could prove to be a goldmine to the insurance adjuster assigned to your case. They might use the photos to argue you don’t look injured or that you traveled away from home.

We recommend that you turn your account settings private and don’t accept any friends. There’s no reason to really talk about the crash on social media.

We have seen insurance adjusters try to gain access to social media accounts. The less said online, the better.

Reach Out for More Tips

A Winchester truck accident lawyer can help in the weeks and months after a crash. At Correll Law Firm, we’ll work to find relevant, helpful evidence that lets us reconstruct how the accident occurred. Then we’ll use this evidence to push for a meaningful settlement for your case. Call 540-535-2005 for assistance.