Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
Being involved in an accident involving a large commercial truck can be a terrifying experience. Many victims are seriously injured and confused in the aftermath of the accident.
However, many victims do not realize the steps they take in the aftermath of a truck accident can have a significant effect on their ability to recover compensation for the accident. Following the seven steps below can help you defend your rights and begin building a strong case against the party responsible for the accident.
If you were injured in a truck accident, our experienced Macon truck accident lawyers may be able to help you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. We can discuss your legal options during a free, no-obligation consultation.
1. Stay at the Accident Scene
Do not leave the scene of a commercial truck accident. Instead, move your vehicle to a safe location away from oncoming traffic and turn on your hazard lights to help other drivers see your vehicle. If you have cones, reflectors or flares, put them behind your vehicle to alert other drivers and help prevent another accident.
2. Report the Accident
As soon as it is safe to do so, report the accident by calling 9-1-1. A law enforcement officer will be sent to investigate the accident scene and prepare a report. The report will include basic information about the crash, along with comments from you and the truck driver and the officer's opinion about what happened and who is at fault. This report will be important evidence in your injury case so make sure to ask the officer how to obtain a copy.
3. Seek Medical Treatment
You should always seek medical treatment quickly after an accident, even if you do not feel like you suffered an injury. Truck accidents often cause victims to experience a surge of adrenaline that can mask signs of an injury in the minutes, hours or days after the crash.
Seeking medical treatment helps you to establish the connection between your injuries and the accident. Delaying your medical treatment can negatively impact your health and your claim because the insurance company may argue you were not injured in the accident and are exaggerating your injuries.
It is also important to follow the doctor’s orders when it comes to treating your injury. This can help improve your chances of making a full recovery and help preserve your claim. Many personal injury claims fall apart simply because the accident victim refused or failed to continue treatment requested by doctors.
4. Collect Information About the Truck and Driver
In the immediate moments after an accident, it is important to gather as much information as you can about the truck, truck company and truck driver, including:
- Name of the trucking company
- Phone number for the trucking company
- United States Department of Transportation number on the truck
- License plate number
- Truck driver’s name
- Truck driver’s contact information
- Insurance information for the truck
Collecting this information will help us not only with investigating the driver and trucking company, but also other entities that may have liability for the crash. One of the main differences between truck accidents and car accidents is that there may be multiple parties at fault for a truck crash, not just the driver.
5. Get Witness Information
If there were any witnesses who saw the accident, write down what they saw and ask them for their names, phone numbers and addresses. Witness accounts can often be powerful pieces of evidence because they provide an objective perspective on the accident. Our attorneys can review these accounts and contact witnesses if we have more questions about their comments or other aspects of the accident.
6. Take Pictures
If possible, try to take as many pictures of the accident scene as possible. The accident scene will likely be quickly cleaned up for the safety of other motorists, so important evidence can disappear or be destroyed. Take pictures from different angles to show different perspectives.
When you take pictures, try to capture the following:
- Damage to your vehicle
- Damage to the truck
- Traffic signals and signs near the accident scene
- Debris or damaged vehicle parts on the roadway
- Skid marks
You should also take pictures of your injuries. Take pictures of how they looked after the accident as well as how they develop over time. It may be some time before there is a settlement or court decision in your case, so these pictures can provide an accurate depiction of your recovery.
7. Speak Wisely
It is important that you understand that any statements you make to the other party or insurance company may be used against you. Information may be used to deny your claim or lower your settlement. That is why you should avoid giving your opinions about what happened or agreeing to anything offered by the insurance company.
Your Macon personal injury lawyer can handle these communications to protect your interests throughout the legal process. An attorney can review offers from the insurance company and explain what steps to take to protect your best interests.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer
Truck accident cases are often complex, involving multiple parties with competing interests. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you level the playing field. Trucking companies and related parties are well-prepared to handle these cases, so it is important that you have a legal advocate on your side who can help you maximize your recovery.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys offer a free, no obligation review of your claim. We can help determine which parties are responsible for your injuries and hold them accountable.