Truck accidents are very different from most typical passenger-vehicle collisions. Multiple parties are often associated with one commercial truck, which will all try to distance themselves from assuming liability.
Victims of truck accidents are often unfamiliar with the trucking industry and might be confused as to how to proceed with filing an insurance claim. It is important you follow these steps when dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident.
You should remember that the parties and insurance companies involved in a truck accident are not on your side. If you have been in a severe truck accident, you should only interact with a third-party after you have consulted with an experienced attorney.
What to Do at the Accident Scene
Immediately following the accident, you should make an effort to preserve any evidence and trace of the collision that may help to support your claim.
However, if you or a loved one is seriously injured, you should immediately seek medical attention. If and when it is safe to do so, take the following steps:
Contact Law Enforcement After the Crash
You should contact law enforcement as soon as possible. If anyone has been injured, inform the dispatcher that medical care needs to be sent along with the first responders.
The responding officer will create an accident report that should properly assess the collision and provide details as to who was involved and what caused the crash.
It may be in your best interest to request a copy of the accident report, which can be used as evidence for your claim.
You should be truthful and concise in any statement you make to a law enforcement officer. Only provide the facts as you know them and never speculate or admit fault regarding the accident.
One of the easiest and most important pieces of evidence to obtain are photographs of the accident.
You can use your cellphone’s camera to take pictures of the vehicles and parties involved, as well as any traces of tires or debris on the road.
Some items you may want to photograph are:
- The license number and tag of the truck and its trailer
- Any identifying factors on the truck and trailer, such as company name or logo
- Skid marks on the road that show the truck’s and your vehicles’ driving pattern
- The tires of the truck and its trailer
- All vehicles involved in the collision
- Conditions of the road
You should not limit yourself to the number of pictures you take if you are able and uninjured. There are several factors you could photograph that may become an important piece of evidence in your claim.
As with any vehicle collision, you should exchange contact information with all parties involved. This should include the:
- Truck driver’s name, address and contact information
- Truck driver’s commercial driver’s license
- Truck driver’s insurance information
- Company’s name, details and contact information
- Company’s insurance information
If there were any witnesses to the accident, you should ask for their names and contact information as well. They may be able to provide insight into the collision that can be used by a truck accident attorney to help your claim.
Other parties associated with the truck might also send representatives to the accident scene to take pictures and talk to witnesses directly after. You should identify and avoid any party associated with the truck’s driver or his or her employer.
Dealing with the Aftermath of a Truck Accident
Once you have been released by law enforcement, there are crucial steps you should take after a truck accident to protect your claim and avoid liability.
Seek Medical Care
The first thing you should do after a truck accident is seek medical attention. Even if your injuries are minor, or you believe you were unharmed during the crash, you should consult with a medical practitioner.
Some injuries, like whiplash, appear several hours or days after an auto accident and can cause serious complications if left untreated.
Consulting with a medical practitioner also establishes a timeline for your claim that insurance companies will use to assess its value.
Write Down Your Memory of the Truck Accident
An effective method to recount auto collisions is to write down all of your memories of the events that took place before, during and after the accident.
You should do this as soon as possible while the thoughts are still fresh in your mind and include information such as:
- The conditions of the road before the accident
- The weather
- The number of people involved in the collision
- What the driver of the truck said to you following the collision
- The responding law enforcement officer’s name
- The behavior and condition of the truck driver
Any information you can provide may prove to be helpful when building a case to prove liability with the insurance companies.
Once you have a solid understanding of the events that occurred during and after the collision, you should call your insurance provider to report the accident.
You will need to provide a detailed description with evidence that supports your claim and shows that you were not at fault for causing the collision.
However, you should only speak with your own insurance company and distance yourself from others. The only time you interact with another party’s insurance company should be after you have consulted with an experienced attorney who can advise you on what to say and do.
Consult with a Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accident claims can become complex legal cases that require investigating multiple parties involved in the accident.
Do not hesitate to contact Henness & Haight for a free, no obligation consultation after you or someone you love has been in truck accident.
We have represented numerous victims of negligence for more than two decades and continue to provide our services on a contingency fees basis. This means all legal and investigative work comes at no upfront charge to you. We only ask for payment if we recover damages for your claim.