People commute every day without giving much thought to who they’re actually sharing the roads with. Drivers and passengers alike are immersed in at-a-glance traffic apps, co-dependent on smart-vehicle technology, and even view public transportation as an opportunity to feel 100% safe.
The truth of the matter is, that there are nearly 3,700 deaths every single day from vehicle collisions. Worse still, is the realization that commercial trucks and car crashes have the greatest potential for serious injury or death. A commercial trucking accident can easily result in a fatality.
A trucking accident is one of the most traumatic situations that can happen in life. The slow-motion moments before the inevitable impact, the sound-shattering noise with the white-out silence that follows, and the daze of what just happened precede the critical moments after the wreck that leaves everyone in dazed, confused, and in shock.
Knowing 10 critical steps to take after a trucking-auto accident can help keep your life from unraveling mentally, physically, and financially.
10 Steps To Take After A Truck Accident
- Safety First, 9-1-1
When an accident happens, the first thing to do is to get everyone the attention that they need. Call 9-1-1, and follow standard emergency first-aid protocol. If possible, get everyone out and away from the wreckage.
- Stay Put
You must stay at the scene of an accident. Get out your phone camera and start recording everything. If you have flares and can warn oncoming traffic safely, do so. Wait for the police and ambulance in a safe area, but while you wait, remain calm.
- Exchange Information
Never give anyone the benefit of the doubt, even though you’ve just gone through a terrible situation together. Take pictures of license plates, insurance cards, and drivers licenses, to avoid fraudulent information that can cause more work down the road for your truck accident attorney.
- Take Pictures at the Scene of the Accident
Record damage to all vehicles, and the area of the accident. Document skid marks, broken glass and especially injuries. Make certain to get your face in the recording for authentication. When you hire a truck accident attorney, having any record of admissions-of-fault will help your case exponentially. At the time of an accident, those involved will usually be more apt to apologize, or volunteer at-fault information.
- File an Accident Report
Talk to the police when they arrive, and make an official accident report.
- Remember, There are No Minor Incidents
When it comes to car accidents, always call the police and document even a minor accident. Some jurisdictions will not send a police officer to the scene unless there is bodily injury. If a policeman does not come, the information and evidence you gather at the scene will be even more important to your case.
- Talk to Witnesses
Ask third-party witnesses to also wait for the authorities, and when possible capture pictures of their contact information and record a witness statement. If the other driver denies liability, and it comes down to your word against theirs, a statement from a witness is crucial.
- Seek Medical Treatment
Always get medical attention following an accident. Don’t make excuses. Internal injuries and conditions like whiplash are only diagnosed by a physician and may require costly treatment and follow up visits. If you delay seeking medical treatment, insurance companies will consider the “gap in treatment” to support their position that you were not actually hurt in the accident.
- Continue Treatment and Keep Notes
It takes a lot of time after a trucking accident to get compensated and have this major life event put behind you. Expect continuing medical treatment appointments that follow injury progression and recovery. Keep a notebook on details that you can remember. You never know when timeline notes can be of significant value to a case.
- Hire a Reputable Truck Accident Lawyer
An experienced truck accident lawyer will give you smart options and take on insurance negotiations for you so that you can focus on healing and getting your life back together. It’s never a good idea to talk with an insurance adjuster yourself because they have experience and the upper-hand to take advantage of you and deny your claim entirely. An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to negotiate a favorable settlement on your behalf, and will prevent you from getting pushed around by insurance adjusters.
A special thanks to Chudleigh Law P.C. for their insights into trucking accidents.