Colliding with a truck is a frightening experience. You may be seriously injured, and there may be fatalities at the scene. Some victims lose consciousness and wake up not recognizing their surroundings because of the mass amount of damage to their vehicle. Truck accidents are life-changing, and the stress is compounded when you are unaware of what you should do to protect your rights as a victim.
The first thing to do after you realize you’ve been in an accident is to check yourself for injuries. Try not to move, especially if you feel trapped or pinned down. Gently try to palpate for any broken bones and look for bleeding. Ask your passengers to do the same for themselves and remind them to avoid moving because of the risk of spinal injury. Wait to be assessed by a healthcare professional before you try to move.
Most collisions between a commercial vehicle and a car are caused by the actions of the driver of the smaller vehicle. Sometimes, there are multiple parties at fault. Whatever your situation, there are some standard steps to remember that can help guide you through your upcoming challenges. Truck accidents are often severe, so not all measures will be possible in each case.
Paramedics will be able to assess your injuries and apply special braces to stabilize your spine. You may be in shock or have other internal injuries that are not immediately apparent. The emergency medical technicians will transport you to the nearest medical center for further examination and treatment. A prompt medical exam will be necessary to prove your injuries are the result of your accident, according to the Accident Doctor. Be sure to get checked out right away, even if you feel fine, as some injuries do not present themselves until later.
Watch for any suspicious activity before the authorities arrive and report it to them immediately. If you are well enough to remain at the scene, talk to the police about what happened. Examples of things to watch for are:
Some people do these things to hide their fault in causing the accident. Police need to know these details to add to their report. Refrain from approaching other drivers about what you see. The police are trained to handle these situations.
Also, report all damage and any other facts for the official accident record. According to the Legal Beagle, the police report is the legal documentation of the truck accident and needs to be as detailed and correct as possible.
Truck accidents are more complex than car accidents, so you will need to get more information. The trucking company, truck number, make, and model should all be visible on the truck. The truck and trailer have their own license plates, and check to see the company that owns the trailer as it may belong to a retailer or rented separately by the driver. You will also need the driver’s name, commercial driver’s license number, contact information, and insurance. Again, keep in mind that the trailer and cargo may each have separate insurance. Do not sign anything or give any details aside from your name and insurance information without your personal injury lawyer present.
Write down all the details of the crash and take pictures of everything that you may need to remember later on. The stress of the accident, combined with possible shock and injuries, make it easy to forget important facts that can help your case. Keeping these records for yourself also ensures that nothing gets lost or convoluted by the insurance companies or other parties involved.
Many people are willing to help report what they saw happen in an accident, but it can be challenging to find these people again if you need them to speak in court. Write down the witness’s name, contact information, and a description of what they saw happen in your trucking accident. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to use this list to contact the witnesses and strengthen your case.
Write down all your medical appointments, tests, diagnosis, and treatments. Include how much pain you are feeling and how you feel emotionally as well. Be honest, and don’t hold back. Add details about missing work due to your injuries and medical care. Also, make a note of family members providing transportation and home care. This information can help build your case for pain and suffering damages. Incorporate images of all injuries because they can heal and fade before going to court or reaching a settlement, making them difficult to prove.
Let your insurance company know that an accident has occurred. Give them all the details while they are still fresh in your mind. They should give you some guidance on what to do next. They should have some documents to fill out to help you keep all the accident-related information organized. You will be able to use these forms to support your claim. Contacting the insurance companies of anyone else involved in the accident is not advisable. They may try to use information against you to question who is at fault for the accident to minimize their responsibility of paying for your damages. They may even offer you a quick settlement that is much lower than what you are actually entitled to receive.
Goldblatt + Singer: The St. Louis Injury Law Firm has an entire team of experienced personal injury lawyers ready to handle the complexities of your case. Call us at (314) 231-4100 for a free consultation, and we will discuss the details of your accident. We can help answer your questions about your degree of fault in the trucking accident and whether or not you have a case. Our attorneys can start the legal process of a lawsuit, if necessary, or navigate the terms of a settlement if that is your best option.
Truck drivers follow similar steps as shown above as part of their accident procedure. They should have paperwork in their truck that outlines what they need to do in the event of a crash. They will need to perform the following tasks:
Commercial driver’s license holders are held to a higher standard than regular drivers. The fines and penalties are much more significant if they are found guilty of any wrongdoings.
The ability to stay calm after an accident is an asset to everyone. Clear thinking will lead to better judgments. Everyone will interact with you in a helpful and earnest way rather than simply dealing with and dismissing you. You will be able to communicate your side of what happened more reliably, which will further benefit you when it comes time to build your case.
Stay organized and keep all documentation related to the incident. Keep copies of everything for yourself to avoid future frustrations. Always remember that you survived; now is the time to focus on healing your body and mind. Send more time with your family and loved ones and lean on them for support and perspective.
Goldblatt + Singer offers free consultations so that we can discuss the details of your truck accident and let you know how we can help. We understand how stressful an accident with a truck driver is, and we have the experience to represent you reliably so you can focus on your recovery.
Contact our truck accident attorneys at (314) 231-4100 as soon as possible after the collision so we can begin to investigate your case. Let us guide you through the legal process so no steps are missed. We will ensure that you are treated fairly by the trucking and insurance companies. Legal representation through our firm gives you peace of mind knowing that we are working for the best possible settlement on your behalf.
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