Getting in a truck accident is major a shock to the system, but you can aid in your recovery by keeping in mind the most important steps for what to do after a crash. How you decide to act in the hours, days, and weeks following your crash can have a dramatic effect on your ability to seek compensation for your injury costs and related expenses.
Every truck accident case is different, but there are a number of actions every accident victim should take. These steps ensure that their accident is documented, that they are receiving the necessary medical attention, and that they are examining their options for possibly obtaining compensation through a truck accident insurance claim or lawsuit.
If at any point you have any questions about what you should do specifically, you can always discuss your case with an experienced truck accident lawyer near you. Auger & Auger has been representing injury victims for over two decades. We want to help people like you know exactly what to do after a truck accident to maximize their chances of recovering to normal life — one not burdened by accident-related debt.
Call (800) 559-5741 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation case review now. You’ll learn about what steps you can take and what your legal options are for obtaining compensation.
If you think you have a major injury after a crash, the absolute best thing to do in some situations is nothing at all. Moving when you have a major fracture, head injury, or spinal injury can cause further damage and lessen your chances of a full recovery.
If you are experiencing partial paralysis, have a major head wound, have been impaled, or see visible organs or bones protruding from your body, know that moving could make your condition worse. Trust in emergency response professionals to extract you from your vehicle and provide safe medical evacuation. If you think you are severely hurt, do not allow anyone to extract you from your vehicle unless you are in immediate danger, such as if your vehicle is on fire.
If you are able to reach your cell phone easily, you should call 911. Tell dispatch there’s been an accident, and tell them that at least one person is seriously hurt. Inform them that you are unable to safely move, so there is no way to tell if other people might also be seriously hurt.
If you can safely move, the first thing you should do before dialing 911 is check on the health and safety of everyone else involved in the accident. Provide any reasonable assistance you are able to, including extracting people or helping move them to a safe area.
Once you have an understanding of how many people have injuries, call 911 to request a police response unit and an ambulance for everyone who is seriously hurt.
If you are able to safely move the vehicles out of the path of the main road, do so as soon as you can. However, first, take a few pictures of the wreckage before it is moved to give an accurate view of the accident scene. You can include landmarks, such as road signs, as a frame of reference in the background.
After moving the vehicles, ensure to the best of your ability that everyone is safe and out of harm’s way. Wait for police responders, and remain calm.
Accidents are scary and confusing. Something you thought happened may have been different than you remembered. Your limited perspective may also have prevented you from understanding the full scope of the accident.
Because of this confusion, you should never admit fault or begin assigning blame for who caused the accident. In fact, there is no need to discuss the accident at all until the police arrive to take a statement.
Never apologize for mistakes or say things like “it was my fault for ____.” Do not accuse others of fault. Remain calm. Do not get angry. If someone is angry with you and you fear for your safety, you have the right to move to a safe premises and await police assistance there.
You don’t have to rely on police investigators to capture evidence about the accident. You should begin gathering evidence as soon as you are able, presuming you can safely move.
Take photos of your injuries and the damage to your vehicle. If you can safely take photos of evidence in the roadway, like tire marks or wreckage, do so. You want photos from multiple angles, ideally, so that people can reconstruct the accident as it actually was.
If there are any witnesses, you can record statements for what they saw and experienced. Obtain their contact information in case they need to make a statement or to testify later.
Get photos of other vehicles involved, including any trucks. Every truck trailer has a license plate in the rear, and nearly every truck cab has a license plate in the front. Truck cabs may also have a unique serial number decal on the side.
Ask other drivers involved if you can photograph their license and insurance information. If they decline, you can obtain this information from the police later on.
When a police officer arrives, they will ask you to make a statement. If you were evacuated by medical personnel, they may not get this statement from you until later on at the hospital.
Give as accurate of information as you can to the officer. Do not lie or try to conceal facts. At the same time, do not claim that you were at fault, admit that your actions were a mistake, or go out of your way to explain how you might have caused the accident.
Be truthful, but don’t feel like you have to make a confession. Police officers will be able to make decisions on their own as to who deserves a ticket (citation) for mistakes made prior to the accident. If they ask you things like, “were you wearing your prescribed glasses at the time of the accident?” answer truthfully. If you are unable to clearly remember everything, say so for each instance you were unclear about.
Making false or misleading statements is a crime, and it can jeopardize your ability to recover compensation from a personal injury claim.
The worst thing you can do after getting injured in a truck accident is a delay in receiving healthcare. If you have serious injuries, go to the emergency room. If you are in an unstable condition, allow EMTs to evacuate you in an ambulance. If you feel like your injuries are moderate or somewhat minor, you should still visit a doctor as soon as you can.
Delaying care affects your ability to heal. It can cause complications or lead to secondary conditions like infection. Treating medical issues like a possible traumatic brain injury (TBI) or possible internal bleeding as soon as you can is vital.
Refusing or delaying care can allow insurers and defendants to argue that you weren’t as hurt as you claim or that your injuries may not have been directly accident-related. Receiving immediate care documents your injuries immediately after they occurred and provides evidence that you were hurt enough to need emergency treatment.
You want to diagnose all of your conditions so that they can be treated as soon as possible and so that they can be connected to the accident.
Describe all of your symptoms accurately and in detail to medical providers. Let them know you were in an accident and the type of accident, such as a t-bone or rear-end collision. Describing the type of accident can allow treatment providers to investigate common injuries associated with it, like whiplash for rear-end truck collisions.
Consent to all necessary tests and imaging. The earlier you get your injuries documented, the better.
You want to start a personal injury claim after your car accident as soon as you can. Most states have a statute of limitations that can bar you from recovering money for your injuries after a certain point. While a limit of, say, several years may seem like a long time, cases that have delays can lose critical evidence and encounter major hurdles that hurt the injury victim’s ability to claim all of their losses.
However, know that once you open a claim or start informing insurance companies about the accident, they will likely have lots of questions. This includes your own insurance company. Answering these questions too hastily could make it seem like you were at fault or hurt your ability to claim all of your damages.
Insurance companies who represent trucking companies have a profit-driven motive to reduce the value of your claim or deny it altogether. If they can argue that your injuries weren’t all related to the crash or that you were at-fault for the accident, then they can fight your claim. Insurers may also send you a settlement offer that seems fair but doesn’t actually cover all of your costs, past, and future.
Because of this risk, never sign anything insurers give you or agree to make a recorded statement until you are certain of the legal consequences. It’s best practice to not speak to them at all without first speaking to a truck accident lawyer.
Hiring experienced truck accident lawyers allows you to know what to do after a truck accident, step-by-step. These actions all help you build a strong claim and avoid falling into common legal traps that insurers might set. Your attorney will work with medical professionals to get a full diagnosis and documentation of your injuries. They may also work with accident reconstruction experts who can help you attempt to prove who was at fault.
Auger & Auger can provide you with a confident, qualified truck accident lawyer to guide you through the claims process. We negotiate with insurers so you don’t have to. We also do everything we can to file a strong claim that has a high chance of resulting in a fair settlement. If insurance companies refuse to settle reasonably, then we are prepared to file a lawsuit and take your case to court.
We have the knowledge and experience to try to convince juries that victims like you deserve compensation. Our legal teams know the relevant trucking industry laws and historical case rulings that can give your case a high chance of success.
So, before you give yourself the chance to make a mistake, call a truck accident attorney at Auger & Auger for a free case evaluation.
Call for a free case review at (800) 559-5741 or contact us online today.