Truck accidents can be a terrifying and overwhelming experience that can lead to many fatalities. According to the research, there are approximately 388,000 truck accidents in the United States every year, making up for 6.5% of the overall accidents in the country. More than half of these semi-truck crushes end up hurting the car occupants instead of truckers.
So, even if you end up surviving truck accidents with minor injuries, you’ll stall have medical bills to pay and will have to participate in a complicated, legal battle to obtain the necessary compensation. In this case, it is vital to know what steps to take to protect yourself from the situation physically and financially.
- Be Careful as to What to Say
When a truck driver is at fault, they will often involve the trucking companies, which will lead to their insurance provider or owner reaching out to you to make a settlement offer. This benefits them, as it avoids costly and lengthy lawsuits that could taint their reputation. While a quick settlement might be tempting, don’t sign anything just yet.
Of course, you can listen to their proposition; however, gently let them know that you will need to contact your lawyer first. Thereafter, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who has the legal tools and knowledge to assist you in handling each step that comes your way.
A trusted attorney can help you to understand your rights as an accident victim and how to fight for them. They are familiar with the rules and legislation pertaining to your state or city and the typical reasons why truck accidents occur. With this information, truck accident law firms will provide a suitable attorney to handle your case and assist you in better comprehending why the incident occurred and how to present your case in court.
With an experienced commercial truck accident lawyer working for you, your involvement with the insurance companies, investigators, or adjusters will be reduced. And what’s better than avoiding these stressful situations to focus on healing and getting your life back on track?
- Contact the Police
The sensible action to take if you are in a truck accident is to notify local law enforcement, even if you have sustained minor injuries. Why? Because the impact of minor injuries is not always noticeable. So if you strain your neck, the inflammation and swelling may take hours before you start feeling the actual pain. But filing an official report is the most appropriate method to substantiate your claim and add minor details like muscle injuries to build your case.
The truck driver may suggest not involving the police but do not agree to such requests, as it can lead to financial and legal difficulties in the future. Filing a police report can only be avoided when there are no injuries and minimal car damage.
- Exchange Information with the Other Driver(s)
After informing the police, it’s best to compile information in case of another driver involved in a hit-and-run and to help with the investigation. It’s vital to collect the following contact information from others involved in the accident and potential witnesses.
- Name, phone number, address, and email address of all witnesses and victims
- Model, License/VINs of vehicles
- Property Damage or injury information
- Information of responding police department, tow truck, and ambulance service
- Details of the accident; time, date, and location
- Conditions of road, weather, and lighting conditions, if it happened at night
- Insurance information and policy number
Moreover, take the name and contact information of the driver’s employer (if they are not the sole owner of the truck) because the company may be responsible for your damages.
- Engage with Witnesses
If a person sees or observes the accident from afar in any way, it makes them a witness to the accident scene. It can be an occupant of one of the involved cars, a witness, or an occupant of a nearby, unrelated vehicle. You can just ask witnesses what they saw and, if they saw something, whether they would be willing to make a statement about it.
You don’t have to take their witness statements, but witness testimony is significant for a truck accident claim, so it’s better to ask just for their name and contact information. This is because witnesses often leave when they see the emergency response team has got it under control, and it gets difficult to track them down.
A name, phone number, or email address is all you need to pass that information on to your lawyer or police if they are conducting an accident investigation.
- Take Pictures of the Scene
If it’s safe, capturing photographic evidence can be vital to building up an authentic accident case and preserving the scene. Moreover, if you are injured, take pictures of your injuries or write down any changes to document the updates, so pictures can tell how bad your injuries were and how long it took before they healed.
The photographic evidence can provide more details that might have contributed to the accident, such as a broken traffic light or overgrown bushes that may have limited the driver’s field of vision.
Use your phone or camera to take the following pictures/videos of the scene:
- The entire scene of the accident including both mid-range and close-up shots from all angles.
- Any identifying landmarks, signals, and signage nearby to show the exact location
- License plates – these can help identify owners later.
- Vehicle positions before they are moved.
- Damage to your vehicle
- Signals and signage.
- Seek Medical Treatment
Being involved in a truck accident may involve serious and life-threatening injuries. If you or anyone involved in the vehicle have sustained major injuries, dial-up 911 right away and get the emergency medical help needed. But if it doesn’t require immediate treatment, you should still consult a medical professor to identify minor pain or injuries. If you don’t, it may invalidate your ability to seek compensation for your medical bills, as it might be difficult to demonstrate that it was due to the accident.
Who knows, you might have internal bleeding. Such injuries can only be identified by a doctor. Moreover, request a thorough medical checkup at a hospital or your doctor’s office, even if you were evaluated by an EMT on the scene.
Getting involved in a truck accident can be a horrifying experience, but knowing what to do once you’re in this situation can make a difference. Prioritize health checkups, avoid making statements without the help of a lawyer, report the accident to your insurance company, preserve evidence, and consider consulting with an attorney to protect your interests.
Following these steps can help you navigate the aftermath of a truck accident with greater confidence and ensure you receive the appropriate support and compensation you deserve. Drive safe and keep your eyes on the road!