Here is a list of what you do if you are in a collision with a commercial vehicle in Texas:
- See a doctor
- Gather any evidence from the scene that you can
- Talk to a truck accident lawyer about your case
- Talk to no one about the case but your attorney
Seeing a Doctor After a Commercial Vehicle Accident
No matter what kind of accident you were in or how you feel afterward, it is always a good idea to see a doctor. In many cases, you will want to go to the hospital in an ambulance, especially if you sustained an injury:
- To the head
- That is bleeding a lot
- That causes you to lose feeling in any part of your body
Even if you don’t accept emergency medical care at the accident scene, you should still allow your primary care physician to assess you. They can help you rule out invisible injuries.
After seeing a doctor:
- Comply with any and all treatments they say are necessary for the period of time that they recommend
- You can use your medical records as evidence in your lawsuit
- Your lawyer can ask your doctor if they would write a statement confirming your injuries and how they happened (you can use this statement as evidence)
Gathering Evidence for Your Commercial Vehicle Accident Case
If you suffered a catastrophic injury, do not stay at the scene to collect evidence: go to the emergency room immediately. If another party in your vehicle walked away without injuries, you can delegate the task of gathering evidence to this other party. Your attorney or a responding police officer can also help.
You (or someone else) should try to:
- Take photos of the damaged vehicle, your injury, and the environment
- Take video footage of all of the above
- Get the other driver’s name and contact information
- Get witnesses’ names and contact information
Your Health Is Your Number One Priority
Do not worry or feel bad if you did not collect any evidence from the accident scene. You should always prioritize your health after a collision, and you should never risk your life just to take a photo or talk to the other driver.
Even if you collect no evidence yourself, your lawyer can often collect the same or similar information for you at a later date. This would allow you to file a lawsuit even if you were unconscious or had to go to the hospital after the accident.
Hiring a Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney
Of all the things to do after you are in a collision with a commercial vehicle in Texas, hiring an attorney is among the most beneficial. You should therefore take the time to make sure you hire a qualified lawyer that you feel comfortable with.
The law firm you hire should:
- Answer all of your questions in a way that makes you feel safe, satisfied, and comfortable
- Have experience with commercial vehicle accident cases
- Have experience with either personal injury or wrongful death cases, depending on what type of case you need to file
- Talk to you about their fees and pay structure upfront (you can ask about this if they do not bring it up themselves)
You Have a Limited Time to File Your Case
When it comes to finding a lawyer, you have no time to lose: Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 gives accident survivors (or the families of accident victims) two years to start a case. Otherwise, you may sacrifice your right to compensation.
The sooner you hire a lawyer to help you with your case, the sooner your lawyer can take action, such as:
- Investigating the cause of the accident and identifying the at-fault parties
- Calculating how much compensation the at-fault party may owe you
- Negotiating with all involved parties, including the vehicle’s driver and owner, and any representatives they hire
- Determining whether the commercial vehicle driver broke any laws, including Texas state laws or federal laws imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
- Taking the at-fault party to court, if litigation is the best path for your compensation
Who to Sue for a Commercial Vehicle Accident
In a commercial vehicle accident case, the at-fault party could be any one of or a combination of these parties:
- The vehicle driver
- Their employer
- A truck or truck part manufacturer
- The truck’s mechanic
- A third-party motorist
- The cargo loading company
- The fleet owner
- A municipality
These types of cases can quickly turn complicated, making it even more beneficial for you to consult an attorney as early as possible.
You should also remember that commercial enterprises have more money and more experience with lawsuits than the average person. They might try any number of tactics to undermine your rights. An attorney can protect you from these tactics.
Who to Talk to After a Commercial Vehicle Accident
People may express curiosity about your accident, including:
- The police officer who responds to the accident
- The doctor or doctors who treat your accident injuries
- The attorney you hire to fight your case for you
- Reporters who are doing news stories about the accident
- Insurance companies who are investigating the accident
- Your friends, coworkers, and neighbors
Of these, you should only speak to the first three: the police officer, the doctor, and the lawyer. Even then, be cautious when responding to the police officer. Provide short, factual answers when they arrive at the scene. Do not speculate as to the cause of the accident, and do not agree to speak with them at a later date until you have consulted with an attorney.
When an insurer calls you for information, tell them to talk to your lawyer instead. Do not agree to an interview, a settlement, or anything else without receiving legal guidance.
Why do You Have to Watch What You Say?
The at-fault party’s insurer can use any statements you make about the accident against you, even if it is in a social media post or a text to a friend. They could take a light-hearted or innocuous statement and make it seem like you admitted guilt or exaggerated your injuries.
To protect your right to compensation, only speak freely about your injuries with your doctor and your lawyer.
Commercial Vehicle Accidents Can Be Debilitating
Domingo Garcia understands the devastating impact that traffic accidents can have on entire families. If you don’t know what to do after a commercial vehicle hits you in Texas, call us right away. Our team can provide answers through a free case review.