Being in a truck accident can be a traumatic experience. No matter how small or large the collision, and regardless of who is at fault, it can leave you feeling shaken and disoriented. Knowing what to do when you’re in a truck accident can make all the difference – not only for preserving your health and safety but also for protecting your legal rights.
Stop & Secure the Scene
The first step is to make sure you’re safe. If you can, move your vehicle out of harm’s way and turn off the engine. Turn on your hazard lights to alert passing cars that there has been an accident. Then, it’s also important to stay at the scene; leaving the scene of an accident is illegal in most states and could result in hefty fines or other penalties.
Even if it’s just property damage and no one was injured, leaving the scene of an accident without providing your contact information and insurance details is typically illegal.
Call the Police
Once the scene is secure, you’ll want to contact your local law enforcement. Even if no one was injured and the damage appears minimal, calling the police is important. The police will write an official report that can be used for insurance purposes and any potential legal claims.
When talking to police officers, it is important to remember that your words can be used against you in a court of law. Even if you think the accident was caused by another party, it is best to avoid placing blame and stick to providing factual information about what happened.
Assess & Document the Damage
It’s important to assess the damage and document as much information as possible. If you’re able, take a few photos of the scene with your smartphone. Include images of any visible damage or injuries sustained in the accident. Be sure to get close-up shots of all vehicles involved, too. Try and identify the make, model, and license plate numbers of all the involved vehicles.
If there were witnesses to the accident who are willing to share their statement or contact info with you, be sure to get that as well.
Seek Medical Attention
If you are involved in a truck accident, you want to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if your injuries seem minor or non-existent at first, lingering trauma can develop over time, leaving you vulnerable to more serious complications down the road.
For example, whiplash is a common injury sustained in car accidents and it can take hours or even days for the pain and other symptoms to be noticeable.
Contact Your Insurance Provider & Lawyer
Finally, contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to report the accident. This is also a good time to reach out to an experienced truck accident lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.
A lawyer can help you build a strong case and guide you through the legal process to make sure you get the compensation you deserve such as damages for emotional distress or lost wages.
By keeping these simple steps in mind, you can ensure that you’re prepared if a truck accident occurs. Being knowledgeable about what to do in such an event will not only protect your rights but also help minimize the physical and emotional consequences.