Commercial vehicle accident

What to Do After a Commercial Vehicle Accident

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Commercial vehicle accidents are jarring events that can leave individuals in a state of shock and confusion. The aftermath of such incidents can be both physically and emotionally overwhelming. At J&Y Law in Los Angeles, we comprehend the intricate nature of personal injury cases stemming from commercial vehicle accidents. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with an in-depth roadmap of the crucial steps to take after a commercial vehicle accident. Empowered with this knowledge, you can protect your rights, preserve evidence, and confidently navigate the legal complexities involved.

Facts About Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Before delving into the steps to take after a commercial vehicle accident, let’s take a closer look at some key facts that highlight the significance and complexity of these incidents:

1. Frequency of Commercial Vehicle Accidents: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in the United States, commercial vehicles were involved in over 5,000 fatal crashes and more than 100,000 injury crashes in a recent year. These numbers underscore the serious impact of these accidents on individuals and their families.

2. Severity of Injuries: Due to their size and weight, commercial vehicles often cause more severe injuries in accidents compared to collisions involving smaller vehicles. Victims of commercial vehicle accidents are more likely to experience life-altering injuries and require extensive medical treatment.

3. Complex Liability Issues: Unlike accidents involving private vehicles, commercial vehicle accidents often involve intricate liability issues. Liability might rest with the driver, the company owning the vehicle, the manufacturer of faulty parts, or even the company responsible for maintenance.

4. Regulatory Oversight: Commercial vehicles, such as trucks and buses, are subject to various regulations and safety standards imposed by federal and state agencies. Compliance with these regulations is crucial, and violations can significantly impact liability determination in case of an accident.

5. Multiple Parties Involved: Commercial vehicle accidents frequently involve multiple parties, including the driver, the vehicle owner, the employer, manufacturers, maintenance providers, and even government entities responsible for road maintenance. Determining the responsible party can be a complex task.

6. Long-Term Implications: The aftermath of a commercial vehicle accident can lead to not only immediate medical expenses and property damage but also long-term consequences such as ongoing medical treatments, rehabilitation, loss of income, and emotional trauma.

Now that we have a better understanding of the gravity and complexity of commercial vehicle accidents, let’s proceed with the steps to take after such an incident.

1. Prioritize Safety and Seek Medical Attention

The immediate aftermath of a commercial vehicle accident demands your utmost attention to safety. If your condition permits, move yourself and others to a secure location away from oncoming traffic. Carefully assess the state of your health and the well-being of others involved in the accident. If there are injuries, call for medical assistance immediately. It’s important to remember that some injuries might not manifest immediately, so seeking a medical evaluation even for seemingly minor discomfort is crucial.

2. Contact Law Enforcement

Irrespective of the magnitude of the accident, involving law enforcement is essential. The responding officers will create an official accident report that could serve as a pivotal piece of evidence in your personal injury claim. Cooperate fully with the police and provide them with accurate details about the accident. However, refrain from admitting fault or speculating about the causes of the accident.

3. Gather Comprehensive Evidence

The quality of evidence you gather at the accident scene can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Utilize your smartphone to capture photos and videos of the accident scene, including the extent of vehicle damage, road conditions, any skid marks, traffic signals, and any visible injuries. If there are witnesses, collect their contact information, as their testimonies could prove invaluable. Additionally, exchange insurance and contact details with all parties involved in the accident.

4. Notify Your Insurance Company

Notify your insurance company promptly about the accident, providing them with accurate and detailed information. While communicating with your insurance provider, stick to the facts and avoid accepting blame or making speculative statements. Your insurance company will guide you through the claims process, which can involve initial compensation for medical expenses and property damage.

5. Consult a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney

Engaging the services of an experienced personal injury attorney, such as those at J&Y Law in Los Angeles, is a critical step. Commercial vehicle accident cases often entail intricate liability issues, multiple parties, and complex legal procedures. A proficient attorney can assess the nuances of your case, determine liability, and provide you with the guidance needed to navigate the legal process while securing just compensation for your losses.

6. Safeguard All Evidence

The preservation of evidence is pivotal for constructing a robust case. Keep all documents related to the accident, including medical records, accident reports, correspondence with insurance companies, and communication with other involved parties. These documents will play a pivotal role in establishing the extent of your injuries, the damages sustained, and the financial losses incurred.

7. Grasp the Complexity of Liability

Assigning liability in commercial vehicle accidents is often intricate due to the involvement of various parties. These can include the driver, the vehicle owner, and even the employer. Determining liability might hinge on factors such as driver negligence, vehicle maintenance, or manufacturing defects. Your attorney will diligently investigate the circumstances to identify the responsible parties.

8. Consider Long-Term Impacts

Beyond immediate medical expenses and property damage, commercial vehicle accidents can lead to long-term damages. These could encompass ongoing medical treatments, rehabilitation costs, loss of income, and the intangible toll of pain and suffering. An adept attorney will take all facets into account to ensure comprehensive compensation.

9. Negotiation and Settlement

Your attorney will embark on negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company representing the at-fault party. This process involves presenting evidence, calculating damages, and steadfastly advocating for your rights. Although most cases are resolved through negotiation, your attorney should be prepared to escalate to court if a just settlement cannot be reached.

10. Preparedness for Litigation

Should negotiations fail, your case might progress to litigation. This entails filing a lawsuit, undergoing the discovery process, and presenting your case before a court. With a skilled personal injury attorney by your side, you can navigate the litigation process confidently, ensuring you are adequately prepared and represented.

Los Angeles Vehicle Accident Attorneys

Dealing with the aftermath of a commercial vehicle accident can be challenging, but it’s not a journey you have to undertake alone. Equipped with the right knowledge and supported by experienced professionals like those at J&Y Law in Los Angeles, you can effectively manage the complexities, secure your rights, and strive for just compensation. By prioritizing safety, collecting evidence, seeking legal representation, and comprehending liability intricacies, you can regain a sense of control over your situation. Remember, you’re not just pursuing compensation; you’re on the path to recovery and justice. Contact us today.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.