Serious car accidents are often some of the most traumatic experiences that people go through in their lives. This is especially true when the other vehicle involved in your collision is a large truck. Accidents involving commercial trucking vehicles are almost always serious and often result in one or more fatalities.
Even if you survive a truck accident with relatively little damage done, you are still likely going to have bills to pay, as well as a complicated battle to recover the compensation you need. It is critical to know the steps you should take to put yourself in the best position, both physically and financially.
Steps to Take Immediately After a Truck Accident
Safety should be your top priority after an accident. If you are involved in a collision with a large truck, if possible, the first thing you should do is to pull your vehicle off the road and turn off the engine. By clearing the roadway, you decrease the chances of secondary accidents. By shutting off your engine, you minimize the likelihood of a fire breaking out.
Once you have stopped your vehicle, you should check yourself for injuries, as well as any passengers in your vehicle. If you are badly injured, you should call 911 to have an ambulance sent to your position.
Whether you should remain in your vehicle or not depends on two main factors. If your car is off the road and there appears to be no risk of fire, staying inside might be a good option, but if not, it will likely be best to leave. The other thing to consider is whether your injuries will make moving dangerous or not. Many injuries can make movement hazardous.
Aside from potentially exiting your vehicle, you should not take any other immediate action if you are seriously wounded. Wait for medical assistance to arrive and follow any directions you receive.
What to Do If You Aren’t Seriously Injured
If you aren’t seriously injured, and neither is anyone else in your vehicle, you should go check on anyone else involved in the collision. If anyone is seriously hurt, call 911 and follow any directions you are given.
If there are no serious injuries, and no immediate threat, you should still call 911. Local police need to file an official accident report, and you should be checked by medical professionals, even if you feel fine.
While you wait for the professionals to arrive, you should exchange insurance information with the truck driver, as well as any other drivers involved in the accident. However, it is best not to discuss the accident further with any potentially liable parties.
In addition to exchanging insurance information, you should also gather as much information from the scene as possible. Take pictures, record information on a notepad or your cell phone, and collect contact information for any potential witnesses.
File a Police Report
In almost every accident case, a police report must be filed by law. A police report can only be avoided in cases where nobody was hurt, and the damage to the vehicles involved was negligible.
The driver of the truck or another vehicle may suggest not involving the police or your insurance companies and simply handling things off the books. Do not go along with this plan. You could find yourself in a difficult legal and financial situation if you attempt to proceed in this manner.
Get Checked Out By Medical Professionals
You should be aware that not all injuries will manifest immediately after an accident. Adrenaline will be coursing through your system and can mask many pains you may feel later. It is important to get checked at the scene of the accident by paramedics. However, you should also go to the hospital to get checked out by a doctor as well.
Contact Your Insurance
After a truck accident, you will also need to notify your insurance. It does not matter whether you will be filing a claim with them or not.
Consult a Lawyer
Contacting an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident will help to put you in the best position to recover fair compensation for your damages. The sooner they can get to work investigating your accident and building your case, the better.
Who Is Liable for My Damages?
There are many parties who could hold a level of fault after a truck accident. Commonly liable parties include:
- The driver of the truck
- The trucking company that owns the vehicle
- The truck manufacturer
- A repair company that is responsible for servicing the truck
- The company that loaded the truck
- A third party driver whose actions initiated the crash
Liability can be very difficult to determine in these cases, and all of these parties are likely to try and shift the blame upon one another.
An Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You Build Your Case
An experienced truck accident attorney will know all the ins and outs of a truck accident lawsuit. They can help you to identify the liable party and build your case against them. Large trucking companies have plenty of experience fighting claims made by drivers injured in accidents with their trucks.
It is critical that you hire someone who knows all the tricks that they are likely to try to use against you. At the Morelli Law Firm, we have helped countless drivers to recover fair compensation after trucking accidents. Contact us today by phone or through our online contact form to schedule a free case evaluation.