The strength of a truck accident case doesn’t rely only on the details of the crash – it also depends on the efforts of the plaintiff and his or her attorney during settlement negotiation or litigation.
Building a strong accident claim takes gathering evidence, interviewing eyewitnesses, hiring experts to testify, retaining a good attorney, and other important steps. Here’s how to build the strongest case possible after a truck accident, straight from the desk of an experienced Florida truck crash lawyer:1. Don’t Admit Fault
In the moments following the initial collision, what you say to the truck driver and to other parties matters. Do not apologize for the accident or say anything that could be construed as an admission of guilt. Be polite and remain calm, but do not admit fault for the crash.
Wait for police to arrive, investigate the accident, and assign fault on their own. It is not up to you to admit fault or to place blame on anyone at the scene of the crash. If you’re afraid to say anything, stay quiet until police arrive. Make sure to give the police your side of the story, so that it becomes part of the official record.
2. Preserve and Gather Evidence
The evidence you gather and preserve from the scene of the accident and in the days following can go a long way toward proving your claim. Collect information such as where the crash occurred, which directions both vehicles were heading, how the collision happened, the truck driver’s name, and your police report number.
Take photographs of the scene if possible, making sure to capture any property damage and personal injuries. Call on an attorney for assistance preserving the all-important black box evidence from the truck’s electronic data logging system.
3. Create a Crash Folder
The more organized and detailed your crash evidence, the stronger your case. Do your truck crash lawyer a favor and keep all documents and information relating to the accident tidily stored away in a folder or file in a safe location.
Your folder should include copies of your police report, medical records, hospital bills, treatment recommendations, insurance claim information, correspondence with insurance companies, letters from your employer about missed work, and any other documents that relate to your accident.
4. Talk to Witnesses
There are a few ways to obtain eyewitness statements. At the scene of the accident, make sure you or a friend jot down the names and contact information of anyone who was involved in or who witnessed the crash. If you can obtain signed or recorded statements from the witnesses at the scene, do so while the memories are still fresh in their minds. If you cannot do this, police should do it for you.
Another way to get eyewitness evidence is by contacting them later, after you’re released from the hospital and in touch with a truck accident attorney. Eyewitness statements of how the truck driver was operating the vehicle and what caused the crash can significantly help maximize your damages during a lawsuit.
5. Work with a Trusted Truck Crash Lawyer
The main component in building your case will be your truck crash lawyer. Your lawyer is the person who can tactfully handle the accident discovery phase, which typically involves interrogating the opposing party in the lawsuit.
Your lawyer is also the one who has resources to reconstruct your accident, if necessary, as well as conduct an in-depth investigation into what caused the crash. A lawyer will have access to experts who can help build your case, such as:
- Truck accident investigators
- Crash reconstructionists
- Medical and injury experts
- Trucking industry experts
- Specialists in the subject at hand, such as in roadway maintenance
- Forensic engineers
The resources, tools, knowledge, and skilled professionals a lawyer puts you in touch with is priceless. Only a lawyer can build the strongest possible case for you – a case that will stand up to scrutiny and analysis in front of a judge or jury.
Working with a lawyer can help you understand if your claim has merit in Florida, determine the value of your case, name the defendants, collect proof of fault, obtain important records and documents, and ultimately win your case. Follow these five steps to build your case and go home with the best settlement award or jury verdict possible.
To learn more about truck accidents, read our A Comprehensive Guide for Truck Accident Victims.