Finding yourself in a collision with an 18-wheeler or other large truck can leave your head spinning. As the dust settles around your crumpled vehicle, knowing what to do next is crucial for protecting your rights and access to compensation. But taking immediate action regarding certain time-sensitive matters is also crucial. Arm yourself by following these vital steps in the aftermath of any truck wreck.
1) Secure the Scene
First up, safety takes priority. If anyone got hurt in the crash, dial 911 straight away to summon medical assistance. If the rig jackknifed or spilled its load across lanes, other drivers may plow into the mess, so try waving them off or setting up road flares to prevent a pile-up.
Don’t go near leaks from the truck’s fuel tanks or cargo holds either, as inhaling fumes or touching certain substances risks exposure injuries.
2) Gather Info
While waiting for the police, gather key details, like the trucking company name and DOT number of the rig’s side, plus the license plate and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). Snapping photos of the scene from various angles can also hugely help later on.
Jot down the truck driver’s name, license number, insurer details if shared, plus contact info of any witnesses. Finally, catalog visible property damage and injuries—even minor bumps and scrapes count.
3) File a Police Report
Provide a statement to responding officers regarding what happened for the official crash report. Be as specific as possible, including factors like the trucker speeding, drifting lanes, or driving erratically beforehand.
Their citations, or lack thereof impact fault disputes down the line, so clearly laying out events is key. Before leaving, get a report copy and the responding officers’ badge numbers and contacts in case later follow-up proves necessary.
4) Seek Medical Care
Adrenaline can mask pain, so even if nothing hurts immediately post-crash, still get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Truck accidents frequently cause internal injuries and concussions with no obvious symptoms.
Establishing an official record of diagnosis and prescribed treatment right away also strengthens an injury claim later. Plus, prompt care minimizes the chance of symptoms worsening. Just don’t put this vital step off.
5) Report Your Claim
Notify your insurance provider about the crash right away, too. This sets your policy’s injury, loss of wages, and property damage protection in motion. Failure to report mishaps promptly can complicate getting your dues paid out.
Ask what next steps their adjusters recommend as well regarding scene evidence collection, medical visits, and other claim basics. Knowledge prevents benefits and denials down the line.
6) Consult a Truck Accident Attorney Near Me
Lastly, line up specialized legal help, like retaining reputable truck accident lawyers. Navigating litigation for commercial motor vehicle collisions differs greatly from standard car crashes given strict federal regulations on truckers’ conduct, maintenance records inspections, freight load rules, and more.
An experienced “truck accident attorney near me” boasts expertise that proves invaluable for maneuvering cases. They also reduce stress during an already troublesome time.
Take a Breath
In the chaotic minutes following any roadway disaster with a semi-truck or 18-wheeler, easy-to-miss details often make or break injury claims later. By securing the scene and logging critical information, injured victims take the first steps. They also need to promptly visit doctors, contact insurers, and consult a “truck accident attorney near me”. This allows them to recover both financially and physically after crashes with big rigs.