If you’re involved in a motor vehicle traffic accident involving a commercial vehicle or a large truck, it can have a devastating impact on your life. Commercial trucks can cause catastrophic personal injuries and property damage, so you need to know what to do at the scene of a truck accident.
Being involved in a commercial truck accident can leave you confused and not thinking clearly. Despite all this, it’s essential to know a few things you should always do after a tractor-trailer accident.
What are the First Few Things you Should Do at the Scene of a Truck Crash?
The moments after the initial impact are often the most dangerous, especially if the motor vehicle accident involved large trucks. The hazards that you must look out for are many. But remember that the size of the truck obstructing the roadway can make it challenging for passing motor vehicles to observe survivors.
Depending on what cargo the truck is carrying, and if there has been an associated spill, the road conditions can also make roadways dangerous for other vehicles on the road. Also, if there are any blind spots and potentially harsh weather conditions, be cautious, because survivors of the initial truck accident can be struck by passing motor vehicles.
Following a truck accident, remain calm as you determine whether you and the others involved in the accident are injured. If it is safe to do so, stay in your vehicle and turn your hazard lights on. Don’t move injured people because it can worsen their injuries.
Stay At The Accident Scene
Leaving the accident scene in some states constitutes a hit-and-run. Thus, following a truck accident, remain at the scene until the police and medical help arrive.
If you’re in traffic, move your vehicle to safety if you can. If you’re already in a safe place, don’t move your car. This allows you to preserve the evidence of what caused the crash and the damages and truck accident injuries resulting from the wreck.
Seek Medical Treatment
You must seek medical attention after an accident, no matter how you feel. Although truck crashes typically cause catastrophic bodily injuries, your adrenaline could prevent you from noticing an injury or feeling pain.
If you don’t receive medical care at the scene of the crash, or you aren’t immediately transported to the hospital, you must visit a doctor as soon as possible after the accident.
A doctor should check you to establish the injuries you sustained if any. Not seeking medical care or following through with the recommended treatment can interfere with your ability to seek financial compensation for your personal injuries later.
Identify Other Parties Involved in the Crash
If you’re not injured after the truck accident, identify damage to the truck and other vehicles involved in the wreck.
The truck driver may be liable for the crash, but the trucking company may also be liable for your bodily injuries or the damage to your car.
This information is vital in ensuring all potentially responsible parties are held accountable for their role in causing the crash.
Exchange Information with the Other Drivers
Communicating with all parties involved in the accident is critical. To recover the financial compensation you’re eligible for, you must know basic things about the driver who was responsible for the crash.
At the crash scene, collect the following information:
- The names and contact information of other parties involved;
- Their insurance company and policy number
- Their driver’s license number.
- Relevant information about the trucking company.
- This information is crucial to the outcome of your personal injury claim. Ask anything you think is relevant, you can never go wrong by gathering too much information following your truck crash.
Take Videos, Photos, and Audio for Evidence
Immediately after the truck accident, the accident scene provides the best opportunity to capture as much evidence as possible to prove that you suffered bodily injuries and property damage because of another party’s negligence.
Also, this is the best time to build your truck accident claim. Take as many photos of the damage to all motor vehicles involved as you can, take pictures of any significant landmarks or intersections, and capture skid marks and other details that can help tell the story of what caused the truck accident.
Videos are the best form of evidence available because you can pull still images from your videos.
Also, video narrations or audio recordings from your videos can offer a better solution than just an image. As soon as you can, record an audio account of everything you remember from the truck crash. Having all of this evidence at your disposal is essential because details change or are forgotten over time. Often, truck accident lawsuits take months or more to settle. So preserve your evidence safely, share it with your truck accident attorney, and make backups.
Check for Truck Accident Witnesses
Remember to check for witnesses at or near the truck accident scene. Collect witness statements yourself, or you can ask eyewitnesses for their contact information. This way you'll get more details about the truck collision from the witnesses in the future.
These witnesses can testify on your behalf. Often, having eyewitnesses can make or break a personal injury lawsuit.
Further, the accident report provided by the responding police officer may include eyewitness statements as well.
If possible, collect this information from witnesses:
- Their name and phone number,
- Driver’s license number,
- Vehicle registration number,
- Name of insurance provider, and
- Motor vehicle insurance policy number.
What Are Some Things You Should Never Do at the Scene of a Truck Accident?
Whatever you do, following the truck crash, don’t accept liability. Don’t even say sorry, even though it seems innocent.
A witness might have seen the other driver texting while driving. Maybe a stoplight had malfunctioned and was marked for repair. Even if you think you might be partially liable, take some time to ask all the right questions, and stay calm.
Also, after the accident, an insurance adjuster will contact you. Be cautious about what you say to the insurance company representative following the truck accident because anything you say can be used against you.
If possible, speak with a truck accident lawyer before talking to an insurance adjuster. Your truck accident attorney will advise you on what to say. Often, truck accident lawyers handle all the communications with the insurance adjusters themselves. If the insurance adjuster asks for a written statement, decline until you have spoken with your truck accident attorney.
You must cooperate with the insurance company, but this doesn’t mean you give them an official statement.
What Should I Do in the Days Following a Truck Crash
Days after the truck accident:
- Get a copy of the police report prepared by the responding police officers,
- Get a property damage valuation from your insurer,
- Document all visits with doctors and other medical professionals and keep a journal of any pain or symptoms you experience.
Also, get copies of all medications, test results, treatments, and any other relevant medical records:
- Document any out-of-pocket expenses you incur,
- Keep a record of days of missed work or other activities which you can’t take part in because of the accident, and
Don’t accept a settlement offer from the insurance carrier before consulting with an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Who Can Be Sued in a Truck Accident Claim?
In a truck or tractor-trailer accident case, the trucking company, the commercial truck drivers, or the owner of the truck/trailer can be sued. Often, however, the company responsible for loading the truck, or even the company responsible for the contents of the truck, can be liable as well.
However, every accident case is unique, so the best way to determine the legal action you should take is by speaking with an experienced truck accident lawyer. At CCAL, we offer a free initial consultation, so contact us today at (312) 300-2515 for a free case review.
How Much Does a Truck Crash Lawyer Cost in Illinois?
Whether you were involved in a crash with a truck while driving your passenger vehicle or if you’re a truck driver injured because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve financial compensation.
At CCAL, our Chicago personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means you’ll pay us once your personal injury claim is successfully paid out. This is essential because defendants, such as truck companies and insurance companies, can afford to hire the best legal representation.
The “contingency basis” type of payment system allows you to have the best legal representation, which ensures you receive compensation for all your damages, your personal injuries, medical bills, time lost from work, vehicle repair or replacement costs, pain and suffering, enabling you to piece your life after the devastating wreck.
Call Our Experienced Chicago Truck Crash Attorneys Today for Legal Advice!
If you have suffered truck accident injury or property damage after a trucking accident, you need help from a personal injury law firm that’s used to handling personal injury claims involving trucking accidents and trucking company insurers. At CCAL, we have decades of experience in helping victims of truck accidents recover the compensation they deserve, and we can help you too.
Our Chicago auto accident lawyers will present the facts of your case and prepare a defense strategy to protect your interests, not those of the trucking company. To schedule a no-cost initial consultation, call our Chicago law office today at (312) 300-2515.