If you’re involved in a traffic accident involving a large truck or commercial vehicle, it can turn your life upside down.
Commercial trucks can cause catastrophic damage, so you need to know how to react if you’ve been involved in a truck accident.
Being involved in an accident with a commercial truck can leave you flustered and not thinking clearly.
Despite this, it is essential to remember a few things you should always do after an accident with a tractor-trailer.
Stay At The Scene of the Accident
Leaving the scene of an accident in some states could constitute a hit and run.
You should always remain at the scene until the authorities and medical help can arrive.
If you’re in traffic, move your car to safety if possible.
If you’re already in a safe space, leave the vehicle in the position where it came to rest after the crash.
This gives you the best chance to preserve the evidence of what caused the wreck and the damages and truck accident injuries resulting from it.
Seek Medical Attention
Always seek medical attention after an accident, no matter how you feel. Even though truck accidents typically cause catastrophic injuries, your adrenaline could prevent you from feeling pain or noticing an injury.
If you don’t receive medical attention at the crash scene, or you’re not immediately transported to the hospital, you need to visit your doctor as soon as possible after the accident.
A medical professional should check you to determine what injuries you have sustained if any.
Not seeking medical treatment or following through with treatment recommendations could interfere with your ability to seek compensation for injuries later.
Identify Other Parties Involved
If you’re able to after the accident, try to identify marks or signs on the truck and other vehicles involved in the accident.
The truck driver may be at fault, but the company they drive for may also be liable for your injuries or the damage to your vehicle.
This is vital information for ensuring all potentially liable parties are held responsible for their role in causing the accident.
Exchange Information with the Other Parties
Communication with all parties is critical following an accident.
In order to begin fighting for your right to compensation, you need to know some basic things about the driver who was responsible for the accident.
At the scene of the accident you should exchange the following information:
Name, address, phone number, and address
Their insurance provider and policy number
The driver’s license number.
Relevant information about the truck driver’s employer.
All this information will be critical when it comes to the outcome of your claim.
Ask anything you think is relevant, you can never be worse off for having too much information following your truck accident.
Take Photos, Videos & Audio for Evidence
The crash scene immediately after the accident will provide the strongest opportunity to capture as much evidence as possible to prove that you were harmed due to the truck driver’s negligence.
It’s also the best time to start building your personal injury case.
Take as many pictures of the damage to all vehicles as you can, take photos of any intersections or significant landmarks, and pay attention to skid marks, and the other details that will help tell the story of what led to the accident.
Videos are usually your best form of evidence available since you can pull still images from your videos.
Audio recordings or video narration from your videos can also offer a beneficial and more thorough solution than just an image.
As soon as you can, and the sooner, the better, record an audio account of everything you remember from the accident.
Having all of this evidence at your disposal can be critical, as details tend to change or can be forgotten over time.
Truck accident lawsuits can sometimes take months or more to reach their conclusion.
Keep your evidence safe, share it with your attorney, and always make backups.
You will need to refer to them as you move forward with legal action.
Check for Witnesses
Always check for witnesses at or near the scene of the commercial truck accident.
You can collect witness statements yourself, or you can ask for their contact information so you can get more details about the accident from them in the future.
These witnesses may help your case by testifying on your behalf. In many instances having eyewitnesses can make or break a personal injury case.
The accident report provided by the responding officer may include eyewitnesses interviews as well.
If possible, gather these items from each of the witnesses:
- Phone Number
- Driver’s License Number
- License Plate Number
- Insurance Carrier & Name of Agent
- Insurance Policy Number
Don’t Make Any Statements About The Crash
Whatever you do, after the accident, never say the words, “it was my fault.”
Don’t even say sorry, no matter how innocent it may seem.
A witness may have noticed the other driver texting. Maybe a stoplight wasn’t functioning correctly and was marked for repair.
Even if you think you might have been partially responsible, take some time to ask all the appropriate questions, and give yourself a chance to get in a calm state of mind.
You’ll also be contacted by an insurance adjuster after the accident.
Be very careful what you say to the adjuster after your truck accident because anything you tell them can be used against you.
You should always speak with an attorney before talking to an insurance adjuster.
Your attorney will advise you on what you should and should not say. They will often handle all the communications with the adjusters themselves.
If the adjuster asks for a recorded or written statement, decline until you have spoken with your attorney.
You should cooperate with the insurance company, but you do not need to give an official statement.
The Most Important Thing You Can Do
Perhaps the most important thing you can do after a truck accident is to contact an experienced truck accident attorney.
Having a truck accident lawyer on your side offering you legal advice is strongly advised, especially if you are unsure if the other person caused the accident.
The laws surrounded truck accidents are very complex, especially those involving commercial trucks. You need the help of an attorney.
The trucking company will, without a doubt, hire specialized attorneys to minimize their liability.
You should also have an advocate fighting on your behalf.
Your truck accident attorney will take the necessary steps to investigate your accident and handle communications with the other parties and insurance companies involved in the accident.