How To Handle The Situation After A Truck Accident
In 2021, approximately 5,700 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes all across the U.S., representing an 18% increase from 2020 and roughly a 50% increase in the past decade. In the same year, about 117,300 large trucks were involved in injury-causing accidents, a 12% increase from 2020. Alarmingly, large trucks accounted for 9% of all motor vehicles involved in fatal crashes.
On that note, it’s important to point out that a truck wreck is more likely to result in catastrophic injuries than a passenger car accident. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that in collisions between trucks and passenger vehicles in 2021, 97% of the fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants (2,495), with only 3% of the fatalities (78) being large truck occupants.
With that in mind, it’s essential to learn the steps to take after a truck wreck. If you or a loved one have been involved in a commercial vehicle accident, contact an experienced truck wreck attorney to protect your rights and ensure you don’t jeopardize your personal injury claim. At Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers, our legal team is ready to guide you through the steps you should take after a wreck with an 18-wheeler in Louisiana or Texas.
What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?
Here’s what you should do after a collision with a commercial truck:
1. Keep Calm and Stay at the Scene
The aftermath of a commercial vehicle accident can be scary and confusing. Nonetheless, it’s important to stay calm. If you were not responsible for the crash, you might be angry with whoever you believe caused it. But remember, venting will not solve the situation. It may only make it worse.
It’s also crucial to remain at the scene after an accident. If you leave before the police arrive, they may treat the case as a hit-and-run accident. Leaving the accident scene is illegal if the involved parties have sustained injuries or died.
2. Call the Police
In most scenarios, this is 911. Once you call 911, the dispatcher will route your call to local law enforcement and emergency responders, who will head to the accident scene. Once the police arrive at the scene, they’ll assess the situation, ask all involved parties questions, and prepare a police report. This report is the first crash documentation and is vital to any commercial vehicle accident case.
3. Seek Medical Attention
Seek immediate medical care once emergency responders arrive and after the police clear you to leave the scene. This is crucial, regardless of whether you feel injured or not. Here’s why:
- You may have injuries that require immediate medical attention, such as a concussion or deep cuts that require sterilization to prevent infection.
- You may not realize you have been injured.
- You need to document all your injuries.
- The insurance company may question whether you were injured since you didn’t receive medical care.
4. Document the Evidence at the Scene
Use your camera or smartphone to take as many pictures and videos of the scene as possible. This may include:
- The entire scene of the accident
- Vehicle damage
- Visible injuries
- Positions of the vehicles
- Skid marks
Photographs and videos are crucial in any 18-wheeler accident case since they help preserve the scene even after cleaning it up. Pictures can also prove the severity of your injuries immediately after the truck wreck.
5. Exchange Information
As you wait for law enforcement to arrive, exchange information with other parties involved in the crash. Remember, there is always a risk of the other driver fleeing the scene. Exchange information such as:
- Full names, phone numbers, and physical addresses
- License plate numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Auto insurance details, including policy numbers
- Name and contact information of the trucking company
After a commercial vehicle accident, the driver’s employer may likely be involved in the case. So, it’s crucial to get information about the driver and their employer as well.
6. Talk to Witnesses
Witness testimony can be crucial in strengthening your personal injury claim. Find out if any witnesses are willing to provide statements about the crash. They may be fellow motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, or cyclists. Store owners may also provide witness statements that may help your case. Don’t forget to get their contact information for your truck accident lawyer to use when contacting them later on.
7. Contact Your Insurance Company
Insurance companies require policyholders to report accidents before specific deadlines. It’s important to call your insurance agent and report the crash. However, be careful about what you say to your insurance representative. Even though they may seem friendly, if you say something construed as an admission of fault, they might use that against you to minimize or reject your claim.
8. Get Your Vehicle Appraised
Insurance representatives will inspect your vehicle and write up a property damage valuation. If you aren’t satisfied with their assessment, visit one or two body shops for a repair appraisal quotation.
9. Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
Once you visit your doctor after the accident, it’s imperative that you follow their instructions and attend all follow-up appointments. If you don’t do this, the insurance company may argue that you weren’t severely hurt and offer you less compensation.
10. Keep Records of All Bills
After a commercial vehicle accident, make sure you keep a record of all accident-related bills, including medical bills and vehicle repair receipts. At Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers, our personal injury lawyers will ensure the insurance company covers any out-of-pocket expenses you may have incurred due to the accident.
11. Call a Truck Accident Lawyer
Contacting an experienced Louisiana truck accident lawyer immediately after your wreck puts you in the best position to recover fair compensation for your damages. The legal team at Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers is ready to gather and analyze evidence to determine fault, speak to witnesses, and consult specialists such as doctors and economists to build a strong case.
Contact a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer Today To Discuss Your Case
If you are wondering, “What should I do after a truck accident?” contact Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers today to speak to our experienced attorneys for sound legal advice on what to do. Our legal team is ready to guide you throughout the process and help you recover damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. We will aggressively fight to protect your rights and interests.