5 Things You Should Do After a Truck Accident
According to the National Safety Council, Texas had 643 fatalities in 2020 caused by commercial truck drivers, the most of any state in a single year. Trucking Statistics estimates that one person is injured or killed in a truck accident every 16 minutes in the United States. An overwhelming majority of fatalities were occupants of smaller vehicles.
Even if the accident is not fatal, you can sustain severe injuries and a wrecked car, truck, or SUV from an accident with a commercial truck. The most minor accident involving a commercial rig is still a big deal. You need to know what to do after a truck accident to ensure you or your loved ones receive the appropriate compensation.
In this post, we explain the five things you should do after a truck accident. But first, let’s look at the types of accidents you might experience or witness and the typical types of injuries sustained in these crashes.
Types of Accidents
The deadliest type of commercial truck crash is a head-on collision. The smaller vehicle is often smashed beyond recognition, and the victims are severely injured or killed. Usually, a head-on crash is caused by driver fatigue or a medical issue, although it could also be due to driving under the influence or distracted driving, including by a laptop or cell phone.
Rear-end accidents are caused by a big rig crashing into the rear end of another vehicle. It’s possible the truck will drive entirely over the car. The truck driver might be sick, distracted, experiencing severe fatigue, or driving under the influence.
Rollovers occur because large trucks are tall and heavy. If the driver swerves for any reason or makes a sudden sharp change of direction at high speed, the truck can lean to one side and then roll over. Rollover dangers include the truck or trailer rolling over another vehicle or across the roadway.
Jackknifed commercial rigs also occur because the trailer is heavy. A truck can jackknife in almost any environment, although slick roads are the most hazardous. If the rig slows or stops suddenly, the truck (tractor) may slow faster than the trailer, causing the trailer to swing to one side out of control. The trailer might collide with other vehicles or with the tractor itself.
Tire blowouts are the most common cause of commercial rig accidents. A blown tire causes the truck to go out of control and impact other vehicles in lanes to either side. Blowouts are usually caused by overly worn tires and a failure to maintain the vehicle.
Trailer load spills can be amusing to watch on the news, but a vehicle could collide with the spilled load. Generally, the accident is caused by an improperly secured load that spills those other drivers attempt to avoid and collide with the load’s elements or another vehicle.
Types of Injuries
Injuries from truck accidents can involve the entire body and are often severe.
- Broken bones
- Injuries to the back, neck, or spine
- Injuries to internal organs
- Traumatic brain injury or another neurological injury
- Paralysis, either quadriplegia or paraplegia
- Amputation of a limb
Five Steps to Take Immediately After the Accident
Take these steps immediately after the accident or, if you are unable, ask someone else to do it for you.
1. Call the Police
Call 911 or another emergency number to ask the police to respond immediately. If you know there are injuries, ask for an ambulance at the same time. When the police arrive, tell them everything you recall leading up to the accident and write down everything you remember about the incident.
2. Take Photos of the Accident Site
If you are healthy and safe enough, take photos of the accident and vehicles before they are moved, including:
- Tire skid marks
- Vehicle license plate
- Damage to both vehicles from every possible angle
- Other relevant details
Preserve as many details as possible about what happened to prevent falsification or alteration of information.
3. Get Witness Information
Find any witnesses and ask them for their contact information. Get their full name and the best phone number to reach them. The police, insurance company, and attorneys from both sides will want to speak with them.
4. Get the Truck Driver’s Information
Get the truck driver’s information, including:
- Full name
- Driver’s license number
- Insurance information
Find out if the trucker works for a trucking company and get proof. Obtain the company’s name, address, and phone number. The trucking company can be held vicariously liable for the driver’s actions.
5. Provide Your Information to Trucker but Don’t Talk About Accident
Give the truck driver your name, address, driver’s license number, and insurance information. Don’t provide any other information, including answering questions about your health. Do not discuss the accident with the driver or anyone else at the scene because what you say can be used later as evidence to deny a claim.
Things to Do Later
Contact an attorney experienced with commercial truck collision accidents within hours or days of the accident. Do this as soon as possible so the attorney can begin handling the claims. Also, get your vehicle appraised, so you receive appropriate compensation.
Save all receipts, official documents, a copy of the official police report, and anything else related to the accident. Then call your insurance company to let them know you’ve been in an accident caused by a commercial truck driver. Keep it brief and be cautious of any details you divulge.
Schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor in case of undetected injuries like whiplash, concussions, or internal injuries not found at the scene. Follow all physician’s orders, or your injury claim may be denied.
If the trucker’s insurance company contacts you, don’t speak to anyone. Refer everything to your attorney. With your attorney, draft a demand letter that includes the details of any injuries, the cause of action, and the monetary compensation you demand to settle the claim.
If the insurance company makes a settlement offer, get it in writing. Review it with your attorney because the initial settlement offer is often too low to cover your expenses.
Call the Mukerji Law Firm
The attorneys at Mukerji Law are experienced personal injury lawyers who can help you find justice and receive fair compensation for your injuries. A commercial rig accident is a horrendous and tragic event that you don’t need to handle alone.
Let Mukerji Law be your voice if you are ever involved in a truck accident.