Did you know that 4,136 people died as a result of large truck accidents in 2018? Out of those deaths, 16% of them were truck occupants, but 67% were occupants of another vehicle. 15% were pedestrians, motorcyclists or bicyclists. As if that wasn’t shocking enough, the number is 51% higher than in 2009. Studies also show that 62% of large-truck drivers are killed in multi-vehicular crashes. If you want to protect yourself and others, then following the right protocol after an accident is key, to both prevent loss of life and legal issues. Ultimately, if you have already been in an accident, hire a truck accident lawyer, like the truck accident lawyers of Hasbrook&Hasbrook.
The Seriousness of Truck Accidents
A truck accident can be incredibly serious. The process for filing a legal claim is very different when compared to a regular car accident as well. A lot of the time, a person who is involved in a collision will be seriously injured, and the only thing that they are concerned about is seeking medical help. If you are fortunate enough to walk away with just a few minor injuries then there are some important steps that you need to take during the aftermath, with preserving your legal rights being your first priority.
Assess the Condition of Everyone Involved
The first step would be for you to assess your own condition, the condition of your passengers and even those who were in other vehicles during the crash. Only do this if you are able to do so safely. Following the steps listed in this guide is imperative for your legal case, but you should never jeopardise your own safety or that of someone else’s if you don’t need to. Remember if you do have to call an ambulance, do nothing until it arrives. You may feel compelled to help the victim by moving them, but sometimes this can do more harm than good. Only move the victim if it is more unsafe for them to stay in the position they are in right now.
Call the Police
In many situations, this would be 911. If you are on a highway on the other hand then the dispatcher will route your call to a local policing agency as well as the emergency responders. Let the dispatchers know, roughly if required, how many people were involved in the accident. This is more-so the case if there have been multiple vehicles involved. This will help them to send as many ambulances as required. Even if you know that the accident is minor, it’s still important to have a police report done. A police report will give you immediate documentation and it will also give the police the chance to maintain accurate documentation throughout.
Seek Medical Attention
Even though you might not think you are hurt, you still need to get a medical evaluation done for you, and anyone who might be in the car with you. It may be that they have injuries which are not showing immediate symptoms. If you do end up seeking medication for an injury, you may find it difficult to prove that it was the result of an accident. You may have internal bleeding which you might not be aware of, but a doctor can easily diagnose. Even if you have been examined quickly by a paramedic at the time, it’s still important that you get a full medical evaluation done at your doctor’s office.
Again, this is something you should do if you’re not injured, and if it is safe for you to be out of your vehicle and patrolling the area. If you are on a busy highway and you know that the police aren’t there yet, then you wouldn’t want to be wandering around. Documentation can easily include things like photographs. The contact information for any witnesses as well as details for everyone involved in the crash. Taking notes about the road or weather conditions will also help your case, as this could have been a contributing factor in the accident. To take photos of the accident, take a shot of the scene from a distance, and then move towards the collision. Photograph cans, bottles, cell phones, potholes, debris and obstructions.
Details you need to collect are:
- The driver’s name, phone number, home address and email
- The driver’s policy number and insurance company
- The driver’s license number
- The name and contact information for the employer & trucking company
Get your Vehicle Appraised
Your car or truck might appear to have some minor damage, but much like the human body, sometimes the damage is internal. You should not go to your neighbourhood garage and get your car repaired right away. Why? Purely because the repair estimate has to be part of the insurance claim you file. Every insurance company will have a different requirement for what they need in order to pay out for your damages. Some will have an app which states that you need to photograph every external side of the car, and others state that you need to take it to a body shop that is on the approval list.
What not to Say
Being nice, feels nice. You may feel angry at the accident, but being emotional won’t get you anywhere. It’s far more effective for you to try and keep a cool head after you have been in an accident.
Don’t Admit Fault
First of all, don’t admit fault. Even if you knew that you were at fault, try and keep it to yourself. Don’t lie, but don’t outright talk about the details. Save this conversation for when you talk with your lawyer. The police are going to do a thorough job and they will ask you for a statement. Again, don’t admit fault, but don’t lie. You are also not under any obligation to talk with the insurance company, whether it’s yours, or the other persons. Simply say that you are working with a lawyer, and that they will be in touch.
Your insurance company is not your friend. It’s common for them to check-in on you, but this isn’t coming from a genuine place. It’s a tactic to get you to say that you are fine, to which they can then use this against you to offer a settlement at a later date.
The only people who are on your side are your truck accident lawyers of Hasbrook&Hasbrook.