What Should You Do After a Crash in a Work Vehicle?
Posted in Car Accident on April 8, 2020
Getting hurt in a crash that wasn’t your fault is a traumatic event. You may suffer serious injuries that result in expensive medical bills and a long time away from work. If you were driving your own vehicle, or riding in a vehicle owned by a family member or friend, the process of getting compensation may be fairly cut and dry—you get a lawyer, file a claim against the at-fault party, and wait for your settlement check to arrive.
However, the process can be muddled if your crash occurred in a work vehicle. Suddenly potential liability may be spread among multiple parties, including your employer. In addition, your injuries may be more severe, especially if you were driving a vehicle that contained or was hauling potentially dangerous cargo. Because of the increased complexities of these types of crashes, it’s vital to have an experienced Nashville auto accident lawyer on your side from day one.
Take these Steps Right Away to Protect Your Health and Rights to Compensation
Many of the steps to take after a work-related auto accident are the same as the steps you would take after any other type of crash. They include:
- Call 911—Calling 911 right away means police will be dispatched to the scene to create an accident report and paramedics will soon arrive to administer aid to injured victims. Never assume that someone else already called 911. Waiting to call can waste valuable seconds that could save someone’s life.
- Get medical attention—Whether you get medical treatment at the scene of the accident or you visit your own doctor or the hospital, it’s important to get checked out and treated for any injuries. Doing so not only helps you recover faster and rule out internal injuries, but it also creates an official record of the injuries you suffered during the crash.
- Get contact information from others at the scene—Get the names, phone numbers, email addresses, and insurance information from other drivers, including people in other vehicles or even the driver of the vehicle you were in if a coworker was behind the wheel at the time of the crash.
- Document what happened—Memories can fade just hours after events occur, especially when they’re traumatic. If you’re able to do so, take pictures of the crash scene before vehicles are moved or cleaned, and write down what happened. Those pictures and your memories can be valuable when it comes to piecing together what happened in the moments before and after the crash.
- Report the crash to your employer—Tell your employer about what happened, especially if you were driving a work vehicle or were on the road to complete a work-related task.
- Call an experienced law firm—Work vehicle crashes are complex and require years of experience with auto accident and workers’ compensation laws in Tennessee. At Matt Hardin Law, we know what you’re going through, and we can help protect your rights to the money you deserve.
The sooner you get in touch with an attorney, the better. Evidence can quickly disappear after a crash, which can make it difficult to prove who was at fault for the crash. In addition, the sooner you get in touch with us, the sooner we can begin building your claim—and that means the sooner you’ll get compensation for your medical bills and lost wages.
Things to Consider after a Work Vehicle Crash
When the legal team at Matt Hardin Law listens to your story to begin building a claim on your behalf, we’ll look at the following facts:
- Were you driving your own vehicle or a company vehicle? Claim-wise, there can be important differences between crashes that occurred in personal vehicles used for work duties and crashes that occurred in company-owned vehicles.
- Were you driving to or from work, or were you on the clock? Another aspect of your claim that must be considered is why you were on the road at the time of the crash. We’ll want to know where you were commuting to or from work or whether you were driving as part of your job duties and thus “on the clock.”
- Were you driving the vehicle or were you a passenger? Fault must be established in all auto accident claims, especially in Tennessee, which is a “fault state.” If you weren’t driving a work-related or personal vehicle but were injured in a crash, it’s unlikely you could be considered at-fault in any way. However, if you were driving, you could be considered partially at fault.
- Were you driving a commercial vehicle? Just as there’s a big difference between driving your personal vehicle and driving a work vehicle, there’s also a difference in the type of work vehicle you were driving. Commercial vehicles, including those that require special permits or licenses to drive and operate, are subject to different rules and regulations than ordinary passenger vehicles.
- What is your level of fault, if any? Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence system means that anyone who is found to be 51 percent or more at-fault for a crash may be unable to recover any compensation. Fault below that percentage results in decreased compensation.
- Was the crash caused by a dangerous work vehicle? It’s up to employers to ensure that any vehicles they make their employees drive as part of their job duties are safe and roadworthy. When they fail to perform routine maintenance tasks, such as inspecting and repairing tires and brakes, they can be held liable if accidents occur.
- Was another driver or vehicle involved in the crash? Not all crashes involve other vehicles. If you were driving your personal vehicle, lost control, and hit a tree or other object, it’s unlikely to be anyone’s fault but your own. However, that may not be the case if you were driving a work vehicle, as maintenance issues could have caused you to lose control.
When you contact us about a vehicle accident that happened in a work vehicle or while you were performing work-related duties, we’ll ask questions to learn the information above. The more information we can glean about what happened, the stronger your claim will be when it’s time to ask the insurance company for a settlement check.
Get the Experienced and Dedicated Legal Representation You Deserve
Work-related crashes can be straightforward, or they can be highly complex. Either way, it’s essential to have an experienced law firm on your side from day one. Both your employer and the insurance company may want to deny you the money you deserve, whether it’s a personal injury settlement, a workers’ compensation claim, or both.
Don’t trust your claim to just any law firm. Get in touch with the Nashville car accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law today—we have the experience to get you the results you deserve.