While any type of motor vehicle accident poses a severe threat to one’s health and well-being, truck accidents can be particularly devastating. The sheer size of a semi-truck increases the risk of catastrophic injury and even death when an accident occurs. As such, they’re known to have lasting physical, emotional, and financial effects on those who are unfortunate enough to experience this kind of collision.
Should you find yourself in this situation, here are seven steps you must take after a truck accident.
1. Call for Help
The first thing to do after a truck accident is to call the authorities for help. It’s essential to do this even if you feel uninjured or the scene doesn’t look too bad. The police need to ensure that everything is handled correctly and secure the scene for investigative purposes. The authorities will also manage traffic control to ensure everyone gets through the area safely.
2. Seek Medical Treatment
Regardless of the severity of the accident or if everyone seems fine, it’s essential that everyone involved seeks immediate medical treatment. Many serious injuries are insidious and unnoticeable at first — internal bleeding, for example. Your survival instincts take over when you experience an accident, pumping your bloodstream full of adrenaline that hides the extent of your pain.
Seeking medical attention is also an important aspect of the documentation process. Recording any existing injuries at the time of the accident will save you the challenge of recalling details later when talking with the insurance company.
3. Gather Information About the Accident
If possible, try to gather as much information as you can while at the scene of the accident. Take some photos, get the other driver’s details, and note as many things as you can remember on your phone. Remember to jot down the license plate number and any further information about the truck, as well as the load being carried.
4. Be Mindful of Your Words
It may come as a surprise that 80% of truck accidents are caused by car drivers who don’t understand that it can take a semi-truck the length of a football field to come to a complete stop. While many states work on the basis of comparative fault, it’s important to be mindful of what you say to the authorities and the other driver.
If you have doubts about the cause of the accident, refrain from commenting until you’ve spoken to an attorney.
5. Call an Attorney
Consider calling a truck accident attorney before contacting your insurance company. A skilled lawyer will provide guidance on what to say and review your case to determine if you’re eligible for compensation.
Even if you’re hesitant to pursue additional compensation beyond what your insurance company offers, it’s worth having a legal consultation with a truck accident attorney. Again, you may feel fine immediately following your accident, thanks to the adrenaline in your system. Fortunately, most states allow a claim to be filed up to two years following the accident.
6. Call the Insurance Company
Once you’ve spoken to an attorney, contact your insurance company to report the accident. They’ll arrange for an insurance adjuster to take a look at your vehicle and determine the next steps, and determine whether it will need repairs or replacement.
Your attorney might advise that you have a third-party adjuster — that is, one with no affiliation to your insurance company — take a look at your vehicle.
7. Document Everything
From the moment your accident occurs, your job is to document everything that happens in relation to, or because of your accident. Note details from the doctors, medical costs, conversations with the insurance company, sleepless anxiety-ridden nights, and so on. Identify what happened, what words were spoken, and the time and date of each item.
The documentation process creates a clear record of how the accident has impacted your life, ensuring you get the best possible care and coverage.
Getting in a truck accident is a scary and stressful experience. By following these simple steps, you can navigate the experience to better protect yourself now and in the future.