It’s normal to lose control and focus after an accident. After all, these are unfortunate events that no one knows how to deal with, let alone when they happen. But it’s vital to collect yourself, keep calm, and think about your next action. You should know that a truck accident can be severe, and the claim process can differ from that of a car accident. So, if you’re lucky to get out of it with minor injuries, you should start thinking about what to do after a trucking accident.
You need to preserve your rights by following the correct legal procedures. The outcome of these will depend on how you react after the accident. To ensure you don’t make any mistakes, here is a guide on what you need to do.
Stop Your Vehicle
Many truck drivers drive on after an accident, and they don’t care whether the victim is hurt or not. This act is not only irresponsible and inhuman but also a criminal offense. Even if you’re not at fault and the accident seems minor, you should stop and find out what happened.
Failing to stop even when you’re not at fault is considered an offense under the Road Traffic Act. Running away will only mean you’re admitting to at fault. The best thing to do is switch off your vehicle’s engines and turn on hazard lights to alert other road users.
Contact the Police
Whether you’re injured or not, at fault or not, the first thing you need to do if you’re involved in a semi-truck accident is to call the police. You need to dial 911, and the respondent will dispatch the officers and emergency personnel.
When making the call, you should provide a clear description of your location, the accident’s nature, and the people involved. This way, they’ll know the exact number of emergency teams to send to the scene.
Even when no one is severely injured, you still need to call the police because you’ll need a police report when filing your claim. The police will carry out proper and accurate documentation of the situation to avoid any disagreements later. Contacting the police is one of the important procedures outlined in this article.
Get Medical Help After a Trucking Accident
You must understand that your health is more important than any compensation for the accident. If you suffer any injuries, you will need immediate medical help before the condition worsens. Make sure you get properly checked by qualified physicians before going home.
Even when you think you escaped unscratched, you need a professional to confirm that. There have been many cases of people who escaped accidents without injuries to end up with many pain days after. If you get sick afterward, it will be hard for you to prove that the sickness is related to the accident.
Collect Information at the Accident Scene
Collecting all the relevant information at the scene of the accident is essential to help with the investigation. Don’t assume that the accident is a minor one and resort to settling matters out of the law. Sometimes, minor accidents turn out to be the worst, and if you didn’t do any due diligence, then you’ll be the one to regret it.
So, if you’re not seriously injured and can walk out of the car comfortably, you should take photos of the truck and the other party’s vehicle. Note down the condition of the road, the state of the vehicles, and the weather condition. Don’t forget to take the contact details of the witnesses.
Ensure you take clear pictures because they’ll help a lot when analyzing the accident’s possible cause. A good picture can speak a thousand words more than any forensic information for the accident.
Gather the Necessary Information
Besides taking the photos and videos, you should also gather all the necessary information to help with the accident case. The first information you should record after a truck accident is the contact of any witnesses present at the scene. A witness can be a bystander, a person in any other vehicle, or a person from a nearby vehicle.
It’s the police’s work to take the witness statement, but you should ensure you take the witness’s contact information before leaving the scene. The information can be a phone number, name, or email address.
The next information that you need to gather is that of the other vehicle and its driver. Ensure you note down the vehicle’s plate number, the insurance company, and the policy number. Don’t forget the model and color of the vehicle.
Note down the driver’s contact and name, the truck driver’s employer or company, and home address. All this should be very accurate as you’ll later pass all the information to your attorney.
Get the Vehicle Appraised
While you’re seeking medical help, you must also ensure your vehicle gets some mechanical repairs. Even if it looks like minor damage, the truck can also have internal damages that only a mechanic can find. But this doesn’t mean you take it to your regular repair shop.
The amount you use to repair the vehicle needs to be part of your insurance claim. For this reason, insurance companies have their policies when it comes to vehicle repairs. Some companies may even require you to take the vehicle to their approved repair shop.
If you get your vehicle towed to a nearby repair shop, make sure they don’t work on it until the insurance company gives the go-ahead. Make sure you take the car to a body check for some checking, even if you’re sure it’s in good condition for driving.
Don’t Admit to Fault.
Sometimes you may not admit to being at fault knowingly, but the words you say may make it seem so. Being nice is a good thing, but not in the circumstances like a truck accident. A simple apology to the other driver can make it seem like you’re admitting you’re at fault.
You should also refrain from being harsh or cruel to the other driver even if you think their carelessness caused the accident. The best thing to do is to stay calmed and composed. Being angry and aggressive can push you to do something you’d regret later.
If you think you’re at fault in the accident, keep that to yourself. This doesn’t mean you lie but avoid giving any details that can implicate you. You can only speak to your lawyer about the events of the accident, and they’ll decide whether you’re partially liable or not.
Don’t Post Your Trucking Accident on Social Media.
With the era of social media, you might want to seek some online sympathy or inform your followers. You should resist the urge to post any photos from the accident. Even if the accident attracts headlines and everyone is talking about it, resist commenting on it.
Posting or commenting on anything on social media can cause legal issues later that might not be good for your claim. If you must inform anybody, that should only be your family members and close friends.
Anything you post on social media can leave to haunt you even years later. Even if you delete it, there might be a share or a screenshot about it that may appear in court. Anything that involves some legal proceedings should be kept away from social media.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
It would help if you got a truck accident attorney as soon as possible to help with your case. Whether you’re involved in the accident or your family members, a lawyer is the best person to help you fight for your legal rights and recover the losses.
You must know that the legal process and the insurance claim process are complicated, and you might now succeed without help from experts. Understand that the insurance agents are legal experts, and you stand no chance against them. If you decide to represent yourself, you might not get the settlement that you deserve.
A lawyer will look at your case and know how much settlement you’re supposed to get. You need to hire lawyers because they have your best interest at heart and will fight tooth and nail to defend your rights. Ensure you work with an attorney who has the legal expertise and has dealt with truck accident cases like yours before.
Let an Expert Help You Get Through the Ordeal
You can follow up most of the processes, such as documenting the accident scene and getting all the relevant information yourself. But when it comes to the legal processes that follow a trucking accident, it’s normal to feel lost and clueless. That’s where an expert comes in to help you defend your rights.
Are you looking for a truck accident lawyer and any necessary legal advice? Check out our other posts for more information.