Win Your Case: The Steps You Should Take After a Truck Accident
Did you know that most vehicular accidents occur on Fridays? Maybe it’s because people are in a hurry to start their weekend – or to spend their paycheck. Whether an accident occurs on a Friday, a Sunday (the day with the fewest crashes), or any other day, it can be an incredibly frightening experience.
That goes double if you are involved in a crash with a commercial truck.
One thing that can help you in the wake of any accident is knowing what actions to prioritize. Read on to learn about the steps you should take after a truck accident.
After a Truck Accident: Taking It Step-By-Step
No matter what, the most important step to take in the wake of a truck accident is to assess your injuries and those of any other victim. If anyone has been seriously hurt, call 911 immediately to request ambulance service.
1. Move Your Vehicles Out of Harm’s Way
Once you have established whether anyone has been injured, it’s also crucial to ensure the safety of other motorists. Either move your vehicle to the shoulder of the road or set up emergency flares to alert other drivers to the accident scene.
Before you move your car, snap some photos of the accident scene. These may come in handy later on.
2. Report the Accident By Calling Police
Call 911 or local authorities to report the accident. It’s the law, and having a police report may be invaluable in the event that you go to court down the line. Once a police officer has interviewed all parties, she will fill out an accident report and give you a copy.
3. Be Careful What You Say
While you are waiting for the authorities to arrive, do not engage in an argument or even idle chit-chat with the truck driver. It’s especially important that you do not admit any sort of fault.
The only reason to communicate with other drivers involved in the crash is to gather their contact information and their insurance information. Make sure that you write down or take pictures of:
- The names, addresses, and phone numbers of all parties
- Drivers’ insurance policy information
- The license numbers of all vehicles
- The name of the truck driver’s employer
Once you have acquired that information, return to your vehicle or step to the side of the road to await police.
4. Document as Much as Possible
You should also take pictures and video of the accident scene. Get shots of the vehicles involved, especially any damage they have incurred. Skid marks and debris on the road should be captured as well.
If there are inclement weather conditions that may have impacted the crash, take video or pictures to document them. Similarly, get footage or snapshots of any irregularities like potholes, broken guardrails, etc.
Were there witnesses to the accident? It’s important to take down their contact information as well. You may also want to interview them – on camera if possible – to get their take on what happened. Just remember not to engage with or debate them.
5. Seek Medical Attention
Once the police have come and gone, and you have driven your car home or made arrangements to have it towed, the next step is to get yourself checked out by a medical professional.
Do this even if you don’t think you have sustained any injuries. There are plenty of injuries that might not be immediately apparent, such as internal bleeding or whiplash. And getting a physical evaluation performed now can be invaluable if you end up going to court over the accident.
Head to the emergency room, an urgent-care clinic, or your primary care physician’s office at your soonest opportunity. Any passengers in your car should do the same.
Keep receipts for any treatment, medication, or assistive devices that are required for your injuries. Maintain a detailed log of doctor’s visits and other appointments.
6. File Your Insurance Claim
You are required to let your insurer know of the accident within 7 days. You should apply for accident benefits no later than 30 days after your accident.
Your insurance company will walk you through this process.
7. Contact a Personal Injury Law Firm
Again, this is a precaution you should take even if you don’t think legal action is necessary or likely to happen. It simply makes sense to protect your rights under the law.
Personal injury lawyers will offer you a free evaluation before they take your case, so there’s no harm in making an appointment to see a lawyer. During that consultation, you and the lawyer will decide together whether or not to bring legal action.
If someone else was negligent, and that negligence caused or contributed to your accident, you may have grounds to bring a civil suit for damages. This negligence doesn’t have to be limited to the truck driver or his employer, either.
Vehicle manufacturers, roadway authorities, parent companies, even bartenders who may have served the driver may all be held responsible if the court finds they were negligent in some way that contributed to your injuries.
Let’s face it: a truck accident can be terrifying and traumatic. If you emerge from a crash relatively unscathed, thank your lucky stars. You should ensure your safety and well-being, now and for the future, by visiting a health care professional and an lawyer.
Questions about personal injury law or the possibility of seeking damages after a vehicular accident? Mazin & Associates, PC is here to help. Feel free to call us at (416) 625-2122 or contact us via our web form — and get started on the path towards being made whole once again.