Victims may not feel sure about what to do after a truck accident, but these steps can help you ensure your health, protect your passengers, and defend your legal rights. Understanding how to proceed immediately after your truck accident can help you to gain the confidence you need to overcome the disorientation and fear you may feel. A lawyer can make sure you do not have to manage the process on your own.
If you or a loved one suffered emotional or physical losses in an accident, taking these actions can help you stay safe and get a head start on your truck accident case.
Move to Safety if Possible
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), over 60% of all traffic collision fatalities in 2018 occurred as a result of multiple-vehicle crashes. Sometimes, especially on highways and busy roads, people driving behind an accident when it occurs do not have the time to avoid colliding with the vehicle in front of them. These chain reaction accidents can cause substantially more serious and fatal injuries.
If at all possible, moving to safety immediately following a truck accident can help prevent a multiple-vehicle accident that could cause further injuries to you and your passengers. If you cannot move to a safe location right away, turning on your hazard lights can help other drivers see you and realize the situation. Do not try to leave the scene or chase another driver who flees.
Check for Injuries
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that approximately 450,000 accidents involving large trucks occurred in 2017. Because large trucks weigh up to 30 times more than passenger vehicles and have a greater ground clearance, they present a greater risk to occupants of passenger cars than to the driver of the truck. For this reason, injuries occur commonly in accidents with large trucks.
As soon as you have moved to a safe place, check yourselves and your passengers for injuries. If anyone needs medical attention right away, call 911 to have an ambulance sent to the scene. Try to be as descriptive as possible when you describe the injuries to the 911 dispatcher and provide them with all of the details they need. Even if you do not have any obvious injuries, you should have a medical evaluation as a precaution.
Report the Accident to Authorities
If you called 911 for an ambulance, police will also arrive at the scene. If you did not have injuries to report to 911, be sure to call right away to inform authorities of the accident, no matter who you believe holds responsibility for causing it. Accidents involving large trucks often involve many factors, and a police report can help you or your lawyer establish liability for the accident and seek financial recovery for any damages you suffered.
Collect Information from Involved Parties
Once you have moved to a safe location, determined if you or passengers have any injuries, and reported the accident, approach the other involved parties if you can do so safely to exchange insurance and contact information. This information includes names, license numbers, company names, and phone numbers. Everyone involved in the accident likely feels shaken up, so be sure to avoid blaming others or taking responsibility for any part of the accident so the other parties cannot attempt to use your statements against you later.
Gather Evidence from the Scene
If you feel well enough, you can start to collect evidence from the scene by taking notes, photos, and videos with your phone and speaking with witnesses of the accident. A lawyer can help you use this information to build your case if you plan to seek compensation for your injuries. Types of evidence you can gather include:
- Photos and videos of the scene, including skid marks and debris
- Photos of injuries
- Photos of property damage
- Witness testimonies and/or contact information
Do not handle any physical evidence on the scene unless authorities give you clear permission to do so. They may use it to determine important factors that can help establish liability, such as the speeds traveled by the vehicles involved and the circumstances of the accident.
Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC
If you suffered any type of loss or injury as the result of the accident, a lawyer can help you through the claims process so you do not have to deal with the complexities of the legal system on your own. Insurance companies can present a challenge in truck accident cases as they work for a profit and often try to avoid providing victims with the compensation they deserve. At Ben Crump Law, PLLC, our attorneys know how to push back against the unethical tactics they use and fight for fair results for you.
It may feel intimidating to figure out what to do after a truck accident, but we can ease your burden by handling your case on your behalf. Call us today at (800) 235-0444 to discuss your case with our legal team.