Traffic accidents are devastating and can happen in an instant. In the United States, one in eight fatal traffic accidents involve a semi truck. It’s difficult to think through the appropriate steps to take during the shock-filled aftermath, but your actions following a truck accident are crucial for your full recovery and maximum compensation.
As well as following the initial post-accident checklist provided by the DMV to ensure your safety, there are three important steps to take following a truck accident.
Call emergency services
As soon as you’ve determined it’s safe to do so, call emergency services as quickly as possible. Emergency services will be able to assess the situation, properly move parties from the scene, and prevent additional injury. Even if you feel okay, it’s important to visit a doctor after any accident to include it in your records.
Police will fill out a detailed accident report. Make sure to take the time to calm yourself regardless of the situation and only discuss objective facts while the police are filling out the report. A clear and unbiased accident report is essential in providing the right evidence to your employer and insurance company. It’s advisable to only speak with the police on the scene.
There is a legal requirement for all affected parties to exchange information. Start by recording the number of your accident report and the officer’s badge number in case further contact is needed in the future.
For everyone else, make note of all the details such as names, addresses, insurance information, and vehicle DOT license numbers. If the accident happened in a populated area, take down any identifying information about the people who were at the scene as they may be able to give the police a statement.
The next important step is to fully document the scene in photos, especially if your vehicle is damaged. Be sure to capture overall pictures of the environment, the road, and all four sides of the vehicles preferably before they are moved. These are all important in not only piecing together your memory later with objective evidence but for providing insurance companies in any accident reports.
Even if you aren’t sure who is at fault, the best thing you can do after a truck accident is to contact a truck accident lawyer. Unlike a typical traffic accident, a commercial truck accident involves different and more involved legality. An experienced attorney will put you on the best path to physical and financial recovery by advocating on your behalf.
Being involved in an accident can be a frightening ordeal, but by acting fast and collecting all the proper information, you can be sure that legal matters will be handled efficiently and in the best way possible.