A collision with a tractor-trailer is a traumatizing event. Knowing what to do after a truck accident is not easy, especially if you’ve never been exposed to a similar situation before. The good news is that this is not a journey that you have to take on your own. Peterson Law Office has compiled the following top tips for the steps you should take in the immediate aftermath of a collision with a large tractor-trailer.
Our Top 7 Tips for What To Do After a Truck Accident
Keep in mind that every truck accident case is different. If any of the following steps do not appear to be applicable to your situation, you can always contact our Lexington, KY law office to further discuss your case during a free and confidential consultation.
Seek Medical Attention
Your health, safety, and well-being are the most important thing after a truck accident. If necessary, call 911 and ask that an ambulance be sent to the scene of the accident. Everyone who was involved in the collision should be evaluated by emergency responders, including yourself. Do not move anyone who appears to be suffering from a head, neck, or back injury, and do not allow others to move you if something doesn’t feel right. You may need to be transported to the hospital immediately via ambulance.
If you are not taken from the scene in an ambulance, you should still seek medical attention following a truck accident. You typically have three options:
- The emergency room
- An urgent care facility
- Your primary care doctor
Schedule a follow-up appointment with your regular doctor, even if you originally sought care at an emergency room or urgent care location. Any failure to see a medical professional or stick to your treatment plan could result in you losing out on the opportunity to seek compensation for your injuries.
Call the Police
Kentucky state law requires you to call the police should any of the following occur as a result of a motor vehicle collision:
- $500 in property damage
- One or more vehicles to be undrivable
If you are unsure whether you need to call the police, err on the side of caution and do so anyway. Ask that a police officer be sent to the scene of the accident to create an accident report. This accident report may play a vital role in your truck accident claim and will contain invaluable information about the location and circumstances surrounding your accident. Having an officer at the scene can also help facilitate the exchange of information between you, the truck driver, and any other involved drivers.
Exchange Information With the Truck Driver
You are also required by law to exchange important information following an accident. Every driver should provide their name, address, contact information, driver’s license number, license plate, and insurance information. Information that is unique to truck drivers that must be shared includes:
- Their commercial driver’s license (CDL) number
- The name and contact information of their employer
- Their employers’ insurance information
If a truck driver seems hesitant to share any of the above information or completely refuses to do so, it could be an indication that they believe they were at fault for the accident. Ask the responding officer to help facilitate the exchange of information between you and the truck driver. You may also ask if the truck driver’s refusal to share information will be noted in the police report.
Take Pictures and Document Evidence
Evidence disappears quickly after an auto accident. While still at the scene, use your phone to take pictures and thoroughly document the scene. While there might be specific evidence unique to your accident that you must also take into consideration, Peterson Law Office recommends starting with pictures of the following:
- Broad pictures that show the general scene from multiple angles
- Street signs, landmarks, and other items that situate the location of the accident
- Dark clouds, bright skies, or other images that show what the weather was like at the time of the crash
- Skid marks, debris, and other evidence that will disappear quickly
- Damage to your vehicle
- Other property damage, such as dented street signs or guardrails
- The license plate of all involved vehicles
- Any injuries that are already starting to appear, including cuts, lacerations, and bruises
Your lawyer can use these and other photographs you take to build a strong truck accident case on your behalf.
Talk to Witnesses
Talk to any eyewitnesses who saw the crash and then stopped to help. Ask if they would be willing to give a statement about what they witnessed and then secure their contact information. If possible, get their statement while still at the scene, either as a recording on your phone or in written form. Eyewitnesses tend to forget small details about the accident the further removed they are from the situation, so the sooner you secure their statement, the better.
If you are unable to get witness statements while still at the accident scene, you should work closely with your lawyer to contact these individuals at a later date.
Exercise Caution When Speaking With the Insurance Company
The insurance company is not your friend. No matter how much the insurance adjuster tries to act as if they are on your side, their job is to save their employer money by limiting payouts for truck accident claims.
Be wary of questions like, “How are you doing today?” and “How do you think the crash happened?” When in doubt, avoid social niceties like, “I’m doing good today.” Never speculate on the cause of a crash either, and only stick to the facts. Your responses to these seemingly innocent questions could be purposely misconstrued, leaving you with a higher percentage of the blame and no opportunity to recover compensation for your damages.
Avoid Posting About the Wreck on Social Media
Never post about your truck accident on social media. Do not post updates about your injuries, pictures of the accident scene, or share your thoughts about the cause of the accident. Even if you have your profiles set to private, insurance companies may still be able to gain access to your account to see what you have been posting.
Anything you post about your accident (including the comment section) can potentially be used against you in your truck accident case. Social media posts can be easily misinterpreted, weakening your case and leaving you without a legal avenue to pursue justice.
You must also be careful when posting anything to your social media accounts during this time. For example, the insurance company could use a picture of you out to lunch with your friends as evidence that you were not seriously harmed.
Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer
Your ability to recover compensation for your damages is not guaranteed. Trucking companies are prepared to fight liability for every accident claim they receive, and they have the backing of large insurance companies and teams of lawyers who are prepared to tear apart your claim. When you try to seek compensation and justice for the harm you suffered, the insurance company will do everything in its power to deny responsibility, limit their liability, and deny you the compensation you are owed.
To successfully navigate a truck accident claim, you must be prepared to show the trucking company and its insurer that you mean business. Having the backing of a truck accident attorney will do just that.
Peterson Law Office Is a Powerful Advocate for Truck Accident Victims
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, schedule a free consultation with our Lexington, KY law firm as soon as possible. During this no-obligation case evaluation, we’ll go over the details of your accident and whether you have legal standing to move forward with a truck accident case.
If you are ever unsure what to do after a truck accident, Peterson Law Office is here for you.
Is Kentucky a No-Fault State for Auto Accidents?