A truck accident can be a harrowing experience for the victim. The National Safety Council (NSC) notes that just over five thousand people died from large truck accidents in 2019. Large trucks aren’t the only ones that could cause death and destruction, however. Even smaller pickup trucks can kill people in an accident. Truck accidents are impossible to predict. From one moment to the next, things change and your find yourself in a dangerous situation quickly. Surviving on the road means being prepared for any eventuality. This preparation doesn’t stop at just your own safety. In many cases, drivers need to be aware of their own vehicles and those of the drivers around them. You need to protect yourself in the event of an accident. Physical protection would entail seeing a doctor and getting medical care for your wounds. Legal protection may require you to seek out a skilled truck accident lawyer to help bring the at-fault parties to justice. However, if you’re in a truck accident, there are a fer things that you should prioritize as soon as the incident occurs.
1. Stay At the Scene
It’s tempting to leave the accident scene because you don’t want to be involved in anything. However, it’s in your best interest to stay at the accident scene until police officers arrive to take your statement. Ideally, you should call 911 as soon as you can after the accident. The police officers will prepare an accident report that will cover the pertinent issues related to your commercial truck accident.
Don’t move your vehicle from its position of rest if possible. Turn on your hazard lights to show that your vehicle is stalled. The police may need to include it in their report, and that information might be crucial later. Officers that arrive at the crash scene will most likely ask you a few questions to figure out the circumstances of the accident, and have a frame of reference for their future inquiries.
2. Seek Medical Attention
This action is high priority after a crash. You don’t know whether you have severe injuries as yet, so there’s no telling what sort of medical care you’re going to need. Seeking medical attention means going to a medical professional and having them diagnose your condition. A truck crash can lead to several injuries that may not become immediately apparent. Bodily injuries such as scratches and lacerations are the smallest of the fallout from truck crashes, but they aren’t the only things that show up.
Catastrophic injuries are likely to occur, as well as internal bleeding, neck injuries, traumatic brain injury, and a slew of other life-threatening injuries to go with the minor injuries you may already have. Even if you don’t experience any pain immediately after the trucking accident, get yourself checked out as soon as possible. It could save you pain and suffering in the long term.
3. Exchange Information
Which insurance company do you need to contact to resolve this issue? Who’s the name of the other driver? Which company are they driving for? All of this information is crucial in dealing with a truck accident. A truck driver may not want to share all this information with you, or might not even have access to some of it. Trucking companies try to handle this between themselves and their own insurance company. However, the driver is expected to report the crash to his or her superiors so that they’ll know to expect a truck accident claim.
Critical information you need to get from the other party includes:
- Driver’s License Number
- Registration number of the vehicle
- Name, phone number, email address
- The company they’re working with
- Contacts within the company for a direct follow-up
Take note of the driver’s outfit and ask them if they seem to be displaying a different logo from the company they’re driving with. Most truck drivers won’t lie to you, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry.
4. Snap Photos
Smartphones today almost all come with cameras, and this is one of those occasions where they come in handy. The photos you should focus on taking include things like:
- Damage to your passenger vehicle
- Landmarks nearby so you can show where the accident occurred
- The accident scene as a whole
- Personal injury you may have gotten and the injuries of anyone else in the car
Photographic evidence is a crucial part of any personal injury claims. An experienced attorney will tell you that it’s better to have that information than be wanting for it. Pictures of your bodily injuries can prove how long it takes for your injuries to heal from the time you got them.
5. Watch Your Words
You obviously want to be compensated for something like this, but an insurance claim might go out the window if you say the wrong thing. It’s not just about admitting fault at the scene of the accident either. Chances are that the insurance adjuster for the other side will reach out to you after the accident When they do, it’s important to deal with them at arms-length. Don’t admit blame, and if possible, don’t talk to them at all. What should you do instead then?
6. Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
A truck accident attorney is the point-person for all your dealings with the other side and their insurance companies. If you’ve been a truck accident victim, you know all too well how frantic the first few days after the incident can be. Many individuals were hospitalized during their first few days after the accident, and then had to deal with adjusters asking them about the commercial vehicle accident. Insurance companies in particular enjoy taking advantage of victims of truck accidents when they’re in this situation. That’s why you should take the earliest opportunity to lawyer up and start preparing a truck accident lawsuit.
Unlike a regular car accident, these types of accidents can leave long-lasting physical and mental scars on anyone involved in them. A legal team for the victim in this case would perform their own accident investigation to figure out if the trucking company was at fault. They are likely to seek out witnesses such as the commercial driver or any emergency responder that got to the scene of the incident early on. These eyewitnesses are critical to forming a picture of the incident and figuring out which party was at fault in the crash.
An experienced truck accident lawyer might seek fair compensation in a settlement out of court. Most cases don’t get to trial because the insurance company prefers to settle beforehand. If the case does go to trial, additional evidence such as medical records to prove the extent of injuries might become crucial to proving the case.
Why You Need an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
Let’s be honest – dealing with a truck accident isn’t a walk in the park. This type of accident can lead to long-term damage that you need to deal with. A qualified attorney will be able to perform the investigations and figure out if you have a valid legal claim against the truck companies. It’s always better to go with an experienced lawyer in these cases. Contact Porter today to schedule your first consult with us. Let’s get you the justice you deserve.
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