The timeline for your truck accident claim begins the moment the accident happens. This means you must document the accident and remember that other people are documenting it, too.
Therefore, keep this in mind: At some accident scenes, people run up to the injured parties and ask if they are OK. If this happens, do not apologize for anything to anyone, something hurt people sometimes do out of habit. We’ve all done it before: Someone bumps into you, but you apologize. On the scene of a serious accident, this can backfire. Apologies can come back to hurt your claim, even if you only apologized out of habit rather than sincerity.
Next, if you can function with any level of normalcy, the first thing you need to do is call 911. You want to establish a record of the accident, injuries and damages. If you can’t call, request that someone else call.
Next, if you can move without hurting yourself or worsening injuries, you need to use your phone to take photos of the accident. Do not rely on insurance to take reliable photos. Insurance companies often hire photographers to take shots that invalidate your claim. Capture the whole scene as well as both vehicles. Don’t wait to get photos because someone may move the truck. Do not move your vehicle. Leave everything as is. If you cannot take photos, ask someone you trust to do it for you.
Talk to witnesses. Make note of their names and contact info, and write down their statements. You can try to video their statements with your phone, but always write down the info as a backup. Again, if you need help with this, get it.
Do not refuse medical treatment. Go to the hospital and get checked out. Besides ensuring you do not suffer from internal injuries, it’s wise to follow accident procedure protocol.
After the Accident
Pennsylvania law stipulates that filing a truck accident claim must occur within two years of the accident. Considering this time restriction, while you file a truck accident claim, you’ll also want to request other deadlines that insurance expects you to meet.
However, what if you don’t file a claim within two years, yet discover an injury after two years have passed? Even though a Pennsylvania personal injury claim must be filed within two years of the injury date, Pennsylvania law also recognizes something called the Discovery Rule, specifically Rule 4002: Agreement Regarding Discovery or Deposition Procedure.
In layman’s terms, this rule means that in some instances, the filing of a truck accident claim may be allowed after two years, contingent upon the fact that the injury wasn’t discovered at the time of the accident. Brain injuries can take time to develop, for instance. This is why it’s good to go to the hospital after an accident, to help show that you have always followed protocol and are not just trying to get money from the trucking company by creating false claims of a delayed injury.
Before the Accident
Trucking accident law is very complex and includes not only state law, but also a wide range of federal laws. We understand that a proper investigation of how the trucking company handled these laws will factor into your case significantly. Therefore, we will begin investigating how they operated before your accident.
If it is determined that the company pushed the driver to work without proper rest or violated any other safety precautions in regards to hiring, training or work conditions, it could mean that they not only accept responsibility for the driver’s mistake while on the job, but they are also negligent in a way that contributed to your accident. This is direct negligence and can affect your claim greatly.
Cordisco & Saile LLC have handled many Pennsylvania trucking accidents, so we know the devastation that trucks can bring upon other vehicles. If this is your first time hiring a lawyer, you may want to peruse our free eBook, Not Another Bad Lawyer. If you have been hurt in a Bensalem trucking accident, call Cordisco & Saile LLC for a free consultation at 215-642-2335.