In 2019, over 4,100 people were killed in large truck accidents. Passenger vehicle occupants are often much more likely than truck drivers to be injured or killed because of the sheer size and weight of the truck.
In many situations, the truck driver is at fault for the accident. Stalled 18-wheelers, parked big rigs, and driver errors are often the causes for these accidents and there is little that the driver of a passenger car can do in these situations.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you should consult a personal injury lawyer to ensure that you are getting the compensation that you deserve. Read on to learn more about what to do after being involved in a truck accident.
Make Sure Everyone Is Safe
Before you do anything, make sure everyone is safe. If there are passengers in your vehicle, check on their condition. You may also need to try to escape from the vehicle if a fire is imminent. Protect yourself from further injury by getting away from the vehicle, especially if there is a gasoline or diesel fuel leak. In any event, it is always helpful under most circumstances to get as far away from the vehicle and the roadway as possible. At this point, you can assess the situation and decide on your next steps. Try to remain calm. This will help you deal with the accident rationally and help you avoid going into shock.
Call the Police
If the police have not yet been called after you get yourself to safety, call them. Most often, dispatchers will send first responders as well. These first responders can provide on the scene medical care and transport you or others to the hospital if needed.
The police will also gather information, such as the names of the drivers and passengers involved. They will also collect insurance information, and ask for your statement about how the accident happened and what led up to it. They will use this information to file a police report. You will need this report for your insurance company and if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Although the police officers who respond to the scene will collect relevant information about the accident, drivers, insurance, and any witnesses, you should also collect this information yourself. Your insurance company will want it. You should make any notes about the accident as soon as possible before you forget any of the details.
If there are witnesses, get their contact information. Your lawyer or insurance company will likely want to speak to them. They often determine who is at fault for the accident. From the truck, get the name of the company that owns the vehicle, the DOT number (this should be located on the driver’s door), and the license plate number.
If you can, take pictures and video of the accident scene. Take images of damaged vehicles and damaged property. Take images of the stalled 18-wheeler. Additionally, images of road signs, skid marks, damaged roadways, and traffic signals are helpful. Take up-close pictures as well as wider-angle ones that show the entire scene.
Seek Medical Attention
If you are not seriously hurt and in need of immediate medical attention at the scene, you can opt to see a medical provider on your own after the accident. Don’t skip seeing the doctor, though, even if you think you aren’t injured or your injuries are minor. It may take hours or even days for some injuries to appear.
Serious injuries, like internal bleeding, may not make themselves known until you are in serious medical danger. Whiplash and head injuries might also not emerge until a few days later.
Keep any documentation you get from your medical provider. Be sure to follow any instructions they give you and don’t skip any of your follow-up appointments. If you don’t follow medical advice or attend doctor’s appointments, your failure to do so could be used against you later if you decide to file a lawsuit.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Let your insurance company know about the accident and start the claim process. Even if you believe it wasn’t your fault. Your insurance company can handle determining fault and will go after the truck driver’s insurance company if necessary.
If the other insurance company contacts you, please understand that you do not have to speak with them. They are often looking for reasons to minimize their driver’s fault. They will try to get you to accept a settlement that is much lower than you deserve.
Consult With an Attorney
If your injuries are extensive, the other driver or trucking company is claiming that the accident is your fault, or they refuse to offer you a fair settlement, you should consider contacting a personal injury lawyer.
Look for one that specializes in trucking accidents, as there are many federal rules and regulations in the trucking industry. They will know the ins and outs of federal trucking regulations as well as how to determine fault and put together the strongest case for you.
Your attorney can handle all negotiations and communication with the other driver’s insurance company, allowing you to focus on your recovery. They will also recognize others who may be a party to the lawsuit, such as the owner of the trucking company, the manufacturer (if the equipment was defective), and the locality where the accident occurred, if the road was damaged, or if the traffic signs weren’t clear or traffic lights were not working properly.
Contact an Attorney Today Regarding Your Stalled 18-Wheeler Accident
If you have experienced an accident due to a stalled 18-wheeler or a parked big rig, don’t try to navigate the insurance process on your own. Contact a personal injury law firm to consult with an attorney who specializes in these types of accidents. Stalled 18-wheeler cases can be tricky to navigate alone.
Here at Walker Texas Lawyer, we have attorneys who specialize in trucking accidents. Contact us today for your free case evaluation.