What To Do After a Truck Accident
Truck accidents are highly serious in nature. While in a car vs. car accident, you may hear words like “fender bender” or “minor cosmetic damage,” these phrases rarely apply when a large commercial semi-truck makes contact with a small passenger vehicle.
The legal team at Trucking Injury Law Group advises all truck accident victims to prioritize health and safety first. Even if you are not sure of the extent of your injuries (or whether you have been injured at all), make the right choice and schedule a checkup with your primary care physician. Hidden injuries masked by adrenaline are quite common after a traumatic vehicle crash.
If you are fortunate enough to have the physical ability to act on your own behalf, we also recommend you follow the recommendations below. Similarly, if you are acting on behalf of an injured loved one, it’s important to know what to do after a truck accident.
These simple steps can prove tremendously helpful in preserving your or your family member’s rights and legal options.
Call the Police
Call 911 to summon police and emergency responders. Give the dispatcher your location and describe the accident, the number of vehicles involved, and any apparent injuries. Do not leave the accident scene until help has arrived.
Receive Medical Attention
Allow yourself and any passengers to be examined by emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Follow all medical recommendations they make. If it is advised that you proceed to the emergency room, do so right away.
If you are cleared at the scene, schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor as soon as you get home. If you notice any troubling symptoms before your appointment time, go to an ER or urgent care center.
Much of the most critical evidence in a truck accident case is only available in the moments following a crash. Once road cleanup crews, weather, time, and trucking companies eager to obscure evidence have acted, it may be too late to secure vital proof of the accident’s cause.
Keep in mind that these types of evidence can provide a huge benefit to your case:
- Photos of the crash site, including lighting, weather, traffic conditions, the position of the vehicles, vehicle damage, injuries, skid marks, damage to nearby objects, and any other contributing factors (such as a large pothole or broken traffic light)
- Videos showing the driver’s behavior (especially in drunk driving cases)
- A statement and contact information for eyewitnesses
- A copy of the police report made by the responding officer
- Medical records and bills documenting all care and treatment you received
- Information about the driver and their employer
Obtain Driver Information
Make sure you obtain information from the truck driver, including:
- Contact information
- Trucking company they work for
- The truck company’s location and contact information
- Commercial driver’s license (CDL) number
- Insurance carrier and policy number
- Truck license plate number
A law enforcement officer can help make sure you get this information from the truck operator. If there are other involved drivers, take down their names, contact, licenses, and insurance information as well.
Avoid Discussion of Liability
The minutes following a collision is not the time to discuss fault. There are too many unknowns at this point to make an accurate assessment of the cause of the crash.
Anything you say during this time can be seen as an admission of liability, even when you don’t have all the information yet. Be polite but brief. Stick only to the basic, factual details of the crash. Avoid phrases like “I’m sorry,” or “I didn’t see you,” or “It was an accident.”
Although this is an emotional time for everyone involved, do your best to focus on safety and avoid any discussions about what caused the crash. Those determinations will be made later.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Almost all insurance companies have a clause making it mandatory for you to report any motor vehicle crash in which you are involved. Check the terms of your policy if you’re not sure how long you have to report the accident. It’s usually best to do it as soon as you can.
Stay Away From Social Media
A major event has happened in your life. One of your first instincts may be to share updates with friends and family on social media.
However, those who know and love you aren’t the only ones reading your posts after a truck accident. Insurance adjusters can use anything you say online as evidence to discredit your claim, prove your liability, or call into question the severity of your injuries.
It doesn’t matter if the post is completely unrelated to the crash. Even something as innocent as a picture of your backyard can be used to show that you’re physically capable of more than you claim to be. It’s best to stay away from your social accounts altogether until your case is closed.
Consult With a Truck Accident Lawyer
Finally, enlist the expertise of an experienced attorney who specializes in trucking accident claims.
A truck accident case is much, much more complex than a typical car accident.
We highly recommend that you at least meet with an attorney for a consultation on your rights, options, and the merits and challenges of your case before deciding how you want to proceed.
At Trucking Injury Law Group, we provide 100% free consultations to truck accident victims. Contact our office to set up a no-obligation meeting with a board-certified trucking injury attorney.