Frequently Asked Questions - What To Do If I Am Hit By Semi Trailer?
If you are involved in an accident with a semi-trailer, you are likely to be injured. A semi-trailer versus an automobile accident can cause severe damage not only to you but also to your vehicle. Semi-trailers are extremely large compared to regular vehicle and even the smallest accident can cause big damage. The first thing you need to do after you are hit by a semi-trailer is called the police. Getting an accident report is the best thing you can do. It not only gives you all the information you need for the semi trailer’s insurance company and owner, but it also helps the insurance companies determine what happened and who was at fault. If the police officer can not determine who was at fault for the accident, they will state so on the crash report and the insurance companies will have to fight it out to determine who is liable for the damage and what payments they are responsible for. Some semi-trailers these days are equipped with dash cameras so determining liability will be no question.
Semi-trailers are very large and sometimes they are not able to see smaller vehicles in their mirrors. Because of this, the most common type of semi-trailer versus automobile accident is a sideswipe accident. Semi-trailer drivers are trying to merge into the next lane and can sometimes not see a smaller vehicle in the lane next to them and they just merge over into the next lane. This can cause your vehicle to be pushed into oncoming traffic, pushed into the vehicle next to you, or even crushed between the semi-trailer and the guard rail. Another common type of semi-trailer versus automobile accident is a rear-end accident. Semi-trailers take longer to stop than regular vehicles so if traffic ahead suddenly stops, sometimes semi-trailers aren’t able to stop in time, causing them to slam into the vehicle in front of them. This is usually the worst type of accident as the impact can be severe due to the speed and the weight of the semi-trailer.
After an accident with a semi-trailer, if you’re injured, it’s a good idea to be transported right away by ambulance to the nearest hospital. If you’re transported by ambulance, you are seen immediately, opposed to going on your own and having to wait in the emergency room for hours to be seen. Once you get to the hospital, the emergency room physician will examine you and you will most likely be sent for x-rays or CT scans to rule out any fractures. If you do end up having any fractures or serious injuries, you will be treated and held for observation. When you are able to be discharged, you will be referred to your physician or to a specialist, depending on your injuries. When you are asked how you will be paying the hospital bill, always be sure to give them your own auto insurance information to the bill.
If you are worried about your medical bills, don’t be. Per Florida law, anyone who has an automobile insurance policy has to have $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection coverage. Florida is a No-Fault state, which means that your insurance company has to pay up to $10,000 in medical coverage, no matter if you are at fault for the accident or not. This coverage is mandatory in the State of Florida and is used to cover 80% of your medical bills, 60% of any lost wages, prescription, and mileage reimbursement, no matter if you are at fault for the accident or not. Even though your medical bills are paid at 80%, you still have a 20% balance left over that is your responsibility. If your doctor is nice enough, they may be willing to waive the balance at the end if you discuss it with them prior to starting treatment. There is a cap of $10,000 so once that $10,000 is all used up, there will be no more payments or reimbursements to you.
If you are hit by a semi-trailer, you must report the accident to both insurance companies in a timely manner. If you don’t your claim could be thrown out due to untimely reporting. Both insurance companies will ask you for a recorded statement. You only have to give a statement to your own insurance company. If you wish to provide the semi trailer’s insurance company with a statement, you can opt to provide a non-recorded statement. If you do not give your own insurance company a statement, they can deny your benefits. Per your insurance policy that you signed, you have to cooperate with them at all times during the claim.
Chances are if you’re hit by a semi-trailer, you are going to be injured. Whether it’s a small injury or life-threatening. Typically, rear-end accidents can cause whiplash-type injuries. This occurs when your head and neck are thrown forward and then backward in a whipping motion. Another serious injury you can sustain when you are hit by a very large vehicle such as a semi-trailer is an injury to your spine. Spinal injuries are severe as they can be permanent and often require surgery. It is more typical to be able to undergo surgery when you are hit by a semi-trailer as they quite often have very large insurance policies. The more coverage there is, the more treatment you can get for your injuries. If you hire an attorney to represent you for your injuries, your attorney will go over the insurance policy with you and discuss all of your medical treatment and will let you know what type of treatment you can have, based on the insurance limits. If you do require surgery, it’s always best to discuss the recommendation with your attorney before proceeding, so that you know what’s in store for you once the surgery is over and it comes time to settle your claim.