While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
If you get into an accident with a truck driver, you should be aware of the fact that you will not get much farther than the exchange of information. There are some valid reasons for that. Trucking companies already have lawyers on retainer for accidents, and drivers are informed that they should not say anything else at the scene of an accident except for insurance information.
If you expect to get any further with the bills for your medical care and your car repairs, you will need to do the following.
Hire a Trucking Accidents Lawyer
First and foremost, you are going to need your own trucking accidents lawyer. With the trucking company's own lineup of legal aid, you do not stand a chance of managing this case in court on your own. You need a lawyer to navigate the twists and turns your case may take. Additionally, with a lawyer of your own, the trucking company will see that you are serious about your lawsuit, and may choose to settle out of court to avoid the publicity and/or the court fees associated with the hearing.
Get the Police Reports
It does not matter if you had insurance or did not have insurance. You should have called the police and gotten a report of the incident. A semi truck can kill people in a passenger vehicle and you are lucky to be alive. A lack of car insurance is the least of your concerns given the amount of damage to your vehicle and the injuries you incurred. Gather the reports from the police and give those to your lawyer.
If You Went to the Hospital or Saw a Doctor, Get Those Reports Too
Your injuries need to be documented and the cost to get help for those injuries need to be itemized so that you can make requests of the court. Your lawyer will pursue that in a motion against the trucking company such that it is hard, factual evidence that you suffered in the accident and that the driver and trucking company should pay. When there is solid documentation, most trucking companies cannot ignore it and will comply with a settlement or a court ruling (if it goes that far).
Estimates for Damages to Your Vehicle
Estimates for damages to your vehicle are also the responsibility of the trucker and trucking company. To make sure they hand over the cash, provide them with three estimates for the damages. In a settlement situation, the average of the three estimates is what you will get, since that is usually what a judge will do in court as well.