Being involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler or other large commercial truck can be an awful experience for everyone involved.
If you are struck by a large truck like a tractor-trailer, you will very likely suffer severe injuries due to the truck’s sheer size compared to the size of passenger vehicles.
The accident’s aftermath can be extremely overwhelming, and it can be hard to know what to do.
However, the steps you take after being injured in a truck accident are critical for protecting your ability to recover from your injuries and receive fair compensation.
So, what should you do first after a truck accident?
Our truck accident lawyers will explore that question in the article below.
The first thing you should do after a collision with commercial vehicles is call 911.
After you’ve called for help, the police and other first responders will come to the accident scene.
When they arrive, they will immediately start investing the accident.
Please answer all of their questions, but don’t say too much, and don’t give your opinion.
Only state the facts that you are sure of.
The police will use the information they’ve gathered to create an accident report.
Get a copy of the police report as soon as you can.
Truck accident claims can get complicated, and having a police report can make things easier.
Police reports are generally inadmissible in evidence, but they contain crucial information your attorney can use to investigate your collision.
The police report will generally include:
- Eye witness statements
- Statements from the involved parties
- Sketch of the accident scene
- Contact information for each involved driver and witnesses
- Police officer’s opinion about who was at fault
Experienced truck accident lawyers will review the accident report and work with experts and investigators to help determine liability.
The insurance company representing the truck driver and trucking company will use aggressive defense tactics to blame your accident on you instead of the truck driver.
If this happens to you, you need an experienced truck accident attorney to help protect you from aggressive insurance adjusters.
Your experienced truck accident lawyer will start building your case with the police report to recover fair compensation for your losses from the truck driver, another third party, and the trucking company.
Exchange Information At The Scene
The next thing you need to do at the scene of the crash is exchange information.
But you don’t need to reveal details about your insurance policy, and definitely don’t say anything that could be taken as an admission of fault.
Collect the following information from the truck driver:
- Names, phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses of all drivers, occupants, and witnesses. Obtain information of both the truck owner and the driver’s employer, as they may not be the same entity.
- Where the accident occurred.
- Company name, policy number, and phone number for all insurance companies covering drivers involved in the accident.
- The police report number, phone number, and the officers’ name and badge number. This information helps your attorney obtain necessary documentation and evidence about the truck collision after the scene has been cleared.
If you can, and you haven’t been severely injured, you should take pictures of the scene.
Once you’ve contacted law enforcement, you should start your own investigation.
Use your phone to take pictures and take note of:
- What may have caused the crash
- Crash debris
- Property damage
- The layout of the road
- Traffic patterns
- Weather conditions
- Take note of your initial feelings
- Record testimony from eyewitnesses
Your personal injury claim will benefit from everything you gather at the scene.
Snap pictures from multiple angles and distances.
Trucking companies and insurance providers may try to bury evidence and bully accident victims.
Documenting everything will help you win a fair settlement.
What You Shouldn’t Say After A Commercial Truck Crash
Immediately following the collision, you might feel angry that the truck driver caused an accident.
However, you should do your best to keep your emotions under control because being unpleasant to the other drivers won’t get you anywhere.
More often than not, however, people tend to say things we don’t mean or that we regret once we’re agitated.
Your insurance claim will benefit if you keep a cool head after an accident.
Keeping a clear head will allow you to choose your words wisely to avoid saying something that might hurt your case down the road.
Never admit fault or liability. Don’t even say sorry.
Even if it seems blatantly obvious that the wreck was your fault, keep it to yourself.
Don’t lie. Just don’t talk about the details with anyone except your lawyer.
Even if you are responsible, there might be other factors that could reduce your liability, and an experienced lawyer will find and highlight these factors.
The police will do their best to recreate the crash.
They’ll ask everyone involved for a statement but never admit fault.
It’s better not to say anything at all than to make statements that might later damage your claim.
Get Medical Care As Soon As Possible
As soon as you can after the crash, you should be evaluated by a medical professional even if you don’t feel injured.
Trucking accidents often cause severe injuries due to the extreme force of the massive vehicle hitting your car.
Some people know right away that they’ve sustained injuries and need to seek medical attention.
However, some accident injuries have delayed symptoms, and you may think that you walked away from the truck accident injury-free.
Even if you are sore the next day, you’ll think you’ll be fine.
Sometimes, though, you will realize that you’ve sustained more severe injuries than you initially believed.
Many injuries may not show up immediately due to the adrenaline from the accident masking your initial symptoms.
Some people even suffer severe injuries like broken bones that they don’t recognize until the next day.
Truck accident victims who seek medical attention immediately are more likely to make a complete physical recovery and full financial recovery.
Your medical records will help show when your injuries occurred and that they were caused by your truck crash.
Failing to seek prompt medical attention will allow the truck driver’s insurance company to argue that your injuries occurred at another time or that they aren’t severe.
Medical records showing treatment immediately after the accident kill this argument and establish when your injuries occurred.
Talk to Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers
Truck drivers must report the collision to their employer and submit it to post-accident substance abuse testing after truck wrecks.
If they don’t do this, they can have their licenses revoked or suspended and be ordered to pay fines.
Once the driver has notified their employer of the accident, the trucking company’s insurance provider will immediately send investigators to the accident scene to start building a defense case.
You will likely be contacted by an insurance company representative that will try to get a statement from you or ask you to sign a medical release.
This is why you need an experienced truck wreck lawyer on your side.
Don’t give a statement or sign anything without the legal guidance of a lawyer.
Your lawyer will handle communications with the insurance companies to prevent you from making critical errors that could harm your case.
Working with a truck accident injury lawyer will make you more likely to receive adequate compensation, allowing you to focus on your physical recovery.
Your attorney also won’t let the insurance company push you around and ensure you receive a reasonable settlement.
If you’re ready to discuss your case with a team you can trust, Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is here to help.
Schedule a free consultation to get started.