You’ve been in a serious truck wreck, now what?
You were in a bad accident with a commercial truck. You’re really hurt and cannot return to work because of your injuries. Maybe the insurance company from the truck that struck your car is already calling you. Maybe an adjuster for the trucking company has already shown up on your doorstep.
Today I wanted to share these seven steps to help you get started on your path to healing and protecting your legal rights. You can always call one of our lawyers for free advice as well, at (248) 353-7575. We are happy to answer any of your legal questions.
- Contact police and seek medical attention: Be sure to report and document any areas of pain, even if at the time they seem minor or less important compared to your more serious injuries. This is important to protect your No Fault insurance benefits (PIP benefits) if you later need to undergo expensive medical treatment for these injuries.
- Document the truck accident: It’s crucial to obtain contact information for any passengers and witnesses involved in the truck accident, if your injuries allow you to do this. Often a police officer will miss or fail to include an eyewitness on the police report. And this is critical: If you have any suspicion that the truck driver or company will not be accepting 100% responsibility for the crash, you should strongly consider contacting an experienced truck accident attorney so that a download of the EDR or “black box” can be done before it is (again, often quite deliberately) erased by the trucking company. This can show speed and braking and other important proofs in proving why the truck caused the crash.
- Consider retaining an experienced Michigan truck lawyer quickly: Truck companies can very legally destroy critical evidence that may have been important in your case after only several months. Again, it’s important that you speak with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible — before important records are intentionally (and legally) destroyed.
- Notify your car insurance company immediately: In Michigan, there’s a strict one-year time limit to notify your own car insurance company of a truck accident, in order to receive your No-Fault insurance benefits. Also, there’s a three-year time limit to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver’s insurance company for a pain and suffering lawsuit.
- File an application for No-Fault benefits, even if the injuries seem minor: The form is required to receive five important No Fault benefits: Medical expenses, wage loss, replacement services (help around the house), mileage to medical appointments and attendant care (nursing services). You can use the form available through your auto insurance company.
- Check your auto insurance policy for very specific notification requirements: In addition to the above deadlines, many Michigan auto insurance policies require even more strict notification requirements, such as 30 days notice for hit-and-run accidents. Unlike statutes, Michigan insurance insurance carriers can change their policy filing requirements at any time.
- Never sign a release or give a statement to an insurance claims adjuster: Too many people rush into signing adjusters’ documents without having the language reviewed by an attorney. Therefore, they may lose their right to sue the negligent truck driver and the trucking company for accident-related injuries.
For more detailed information on each of these steps, please take a look at our Michigan Auto Law checklist on “What to Do After a Truck Accident.”