Due to the disparity between the size and weight of large semi-trucks versus passenger vehicles, collisions involving commercial trucks are more likely to cause catastrophic injuries and substantial property damage. If you are involved in an accident with a large truck, you need to understand what actions to take to preserve your ability to recover compensation if the truck driver or a third party was at fault. Scroll down to learn what to do after a commercial vehicle accident.
What to Do After a Commercial Vehicle Accident
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, your mind will be racing and it can be difficult to know what to do. However, the actions that you take post-collision are also crucial and can help you build a strong case of liability. So stay calm, and take deep breaths. Afterward, you can use the evidence you’ve collected to decide if you ought to file a claim against the trucking company or other parties that are responsible for causing the accident.
Call 911 and remain at the scene.
If you can safely move, immediately call 911. Stay at the accident scene and wait for help to arrive. If you leave the scene of the accident, you could be criminally charged even if the accident was the truck driver’s fault. Check yourself, your passengers, and the truck driver for injuries. If someone is injured, administer first aid until the emergency responders arrive.
Seek medical attention.
Go to the hospital or schedule a prompt check-up immediately after the collision, and keep in mind that some injuries do not show symptoms until several hours or days later. If you wait to go to the doctor, the insurance company will likely dispute that your injuries were caused by the accident. Getting prompt medical care increases the likelihood that your injuries will be identified and linked to the accident. After you receive a diagnosis, be sure to follow all of the doctor’s instructions regarding your treatment.
Exchange information with the truck driver if you are able.
After a collision, you are required to exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers involved, including commercial truck drivers. Ask the driver for his or her license and insurance information, and share your own in return. You should also take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the truck.
Use your phone (or a camera if you have one with you) to take pictures of the truck’s license plate and company markings as well as the accident scene. It is best to take as many pictures as possible to capture the scene, tire marks, weather conditions, traffic signs, and other relevant evidence. Photographs of the immediate aftermath of a collision can help accident reconstruction experts determine the cause of an accident later.
Get information from witnesses.
If other people witnessed your accident, ask them to wait for the police to arrive so that they can give statements to the officers. Ask each witness for his or her name and contact information, and write them down for reference. This can help your attorney locate the witnesses and get their statements about what they saw. You should likewise write down everything that you remember about the accident as soon as possible, making sure to be detailed and thorough.
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
Even if you believe that the truck driver was clearly at fault, litigating truck accident claims can be difficult. Commercial truck accidents can have multiple causes, so multiple parties may share fault. In addition, commercial trucking carriers are required to carry insurance with high policy limits – and due to the amount of money that may be involved, insurance companies often aggressively defend against commercial vehicle accident claims.
Your lawyer will want to review the evidence that you collected at the accident scene. He or she will likely file a motion asking the court to order the trucking company to preserve any information it has about the collision, including electronic logging device data, safety records, and other important information. By gathering a variety of evidence, your lawyer can help you build a strong case. Plus, when you retain a lawyer, he or she can deal with the insurance company so that you can work on recovering from your injuries and moving on with your life.
Contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook
If you have been seriously injured in a commercial vehicle accident, taking the right steps in the minutes, hours, and days that follow can help you protect your right to recover compensation. Consult an attorney as soon as possible after the collision to ensure that you’re on the right path and to help you avoid making mistakes that could harm your claim. Contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook today for a free consultation by calling 479-783-8000 or sending us a message online.