Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
Answers you can trust from attorney Mark Morse
Truck accidents are some of the most frightening and overwhelming crashes on our roads. The sheer size of a commercial truck means these collisions often cause devastating injuries - and that's only the beginning. In the wake of that accident, you're up against the trucking company and their insurance carrier, and they won't give you the information you need. Why would they? Their priority is to reduce their own liability, not to help you.
That's why you need an accomplished truck accident lawyer on your side. The Law Office of Mark B. Morse, LLC has been helping victims of truck accidents for over 25 years. Founding Attorney Mark Morse, a longtime leader in the legal field in Rhode Island, has the answers you need.
- What do I need to do at the scene of a truck accident?
- Do I really need to contact an attorney?
- Can I sue the trucking company after an accident?
- The trucking company is located out of state, and they won't return my calls. Can a lawyer help?
- I keep getting calls from the trucking company. What should I do?
- Should I accept a financial offer from the trucking company?
Remember that these questions and answers are intended for general informational purposes, not as legal advice. While this information may give you an idea of what to expect, you should consult an attorney before taking action. Attorney Mark Morse would be honored to discuss the specifics of your case with you. Call (401) 831-0555 today for a consultation.
As with any accident, remain at the scene - unless you need to seek emergency medical attention - and make sure it is safe. Call the police, as the report they prepare will be a key piece of evidence if you later need to file an insurance claim.
Get contact and insurance information for the truck driver and the trucking company, including the trucking company's corporate name. You'll also need the name and badge number of the investigating police officer as well as contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
The trucking company will send investigators to the scene quickly to collect evidence, so you need to take immediate action as well. Use your camera or smartphone to take pictures of the accident scene, including damage to your vehicle, the truck and any other property, as well as skid marks, visible injuries and any other evidence.
Your next steps should be to see a doctor right away - even if you feel fine - and contact us. The sooner you start the process of getting better after the accident, the easier it will be to recover.
Absolutely, and you need to do so as soon as possible after the crash. The trucking company will take immediate action to protect their assets and reduce your liability - which means it will be difficult for you to get the compensation you need. One of the distinctive things about truck accidents is that some of the most critical evidence, such as the truck's Hours of Service (HOS) log and "black box" data, is actually the trucking company's property. You need a lawyer to take immediate action to stop the trucking company from hiding or destroying that evidence.
In most cases, yes. If the truck driver was a direct employee of the trucking company, a legal principle called respondeat superior makes the trucking company vicariously liable for the driver's actions while on the job. However, many truckers are independent contractors, and in those cases, this doctrine may or may not apply. It depends on the degree of supervision exercised by the trucking company.
The trucking company may also be directly liable for the accident, depending on their actions. For instance, they may have pressured the driver to drive at an unsafe speed in order to meet an unrealistic delivery deadline. They may have failed to conduct a background check and hired a driver with a history of reckless driving.
Establishing liability in the aftermath of a truck accident can be difficult. That's why it's so important to retain an experienced attorney to investigate your accident as soon as possible.
Our law firm has dealt with this situation many times, and it's not difficult to resolve with an experienced attorney on your side. Unfortunately, many out-of-state trucking companies whose vehicles are involved in accidents in Rhode Island think they can hide from injured Rhode Island motorists. They assume that if they ignore you for long enough, you'll simply go away.
Attorney Mark B. Morse knows how to take legal action to hold out-of-state trucking companies accountable and bring them to the negotiating table - or to court. In some cases, we may need to retain a local attorney in the trucking company's home state to pursue legal action. When we do so, we split our fee with the other law firm, so you won't have to pay more.
Some trucking companies take a different approach and stay in constant contact with the victim. They'll try to convince you that they're on your side and that they just need more information to process your claim. The reality is that they're looking for information they can use against you. Their goal is to protect their assets and reduce their liability, not to give you fair compensation for your injuries.
If you're getting calls from the trucking company or their insurance company, politely decline to answer their questions and hang up the phone. Then, call us. Once you retain the Law Office of Mark B. Morse, LLC to handle your case, we'll reach out to the trucking company and tell them to direct all further questions to your attorney. From that point forward, you'll have Mark Morse handling negotiations and protecting your legal rights while you focus on getting better.
Not without talking to an attorney first. If the trucking company makes you an offer, especially if it's soon after the accident, they're probably trying to "lowball" you and get you to settle your claim for much less than you need. Unfortunately, once you accept money from the trucking company or their insurance company, there is very little an attorney can do.
That's why it's so important to contact the Law Office of Mark B. Morse, LLC before making any decision on a financial offer from a trucking company. We can review their offer with you and determine whether it actually covers the full cost of your accident. In most cases, the amount they offer is much less than they're actually willing to pay, especially when they learn that you have an accomplished attorney on your side.