When a passenger car is in a semi accident, the experience is confusing and complex. Not only is your vehicle damaged, you or a loved one may be injured, and things are happening so quickly while police, paramedics, and even a trucking company representative arrive on the scene to get information.
Here are the practical steps to follow after a truck accident to keep yourself and loved ones safe, as well as protect your rights.
Call 9-1-1 & Only Share Your Account With First Responders
Your safety and medical needs are the number one priority. Calling 9-1-1 before anything else is essential. If it is at all possible, leave your vehicle where it ended up after a crash with an eighteen-wheeler or other truck.This will allow police to accurately document the scene. If the semi-truck driver moves their vehicle after the accident, take video or photos during this process.
Even if you have to stand outside your vehicle, it’s very important not to talk with the semi driver or any of their representatives about what happened in the accident. Any semi truck accident attorney will tell you that trucking companies and insurance companies are notorious for using your words against you, even if you are rattled or confused.You can exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, but no other information.
It is important to give the police an accurate and complete description of what happened for their report, but you are not required by law to share your explanation of what happened with the truck driver or their team before the police are present. Pay attention to what the truck driver is saying to the police and feel free to tell the police if you disagree with any of those statements.
Take Photos and Video of the Accident
A personal injury attorney in Indianapolis or other cities where semi-truck accidents are common may be able to document evidence as soon as they are contacted. But it’s important to document what the scene looks like at the time of the accident. This is why it’s important for you or someone with you to take photos and video of the scene of the accident and all vehicles involved. Video is a great resource for a truck accident attorney because the video can also be a source of still images. If you can, try to get images of any stickers or information (such as a DOT number) on the outside of the tractor and trailer, as well as the inside of the other driver’s vehicle. It’s also advised to try and get and a photo of the truck driver’s cell phone. Trucking accident attorneys can benefit from knowing the type of phone the other driver has. Make sure to get all the intersections and nearby signs, traffic signals, and landmarks in the video or photos.
Even if it is dark out, do your best to get video and photos as the quality of these can be improved later to show valuable evidence in your favor.
Get Names and Contact Information of Everyone Present
Many people will arrive on the scene of a tractor trailer accident, like paramedics, police, and a representative of the truck driver’s employer. You should document the names of these individuals, especially the truck driver and their company’s representative. Get phone numbers or email addresses if possible. If it’s too dark or you don’t have a pen, you can use audio recordings to capture this information.
Other important information to collect is the license plate number of the semi, the license number of the truck driver, the Department of Transportation (DOT) number of the truck itself, and the insurance provider(s) and policy number(s). If you don’t remember to get this information, it is usually included in the police report, but that might take time to become available and create delays in your case.
Lastly, collect the names of the paramedics, firefighters, police, and all nurses or doctors who help with the care of your injuries or a loved one. This will ensure your truck crash lawyer can follow up with these individuals directly for statements.
Get Checked Out By Doctors & Follow Their Instructions
It’s a good idea to get examined by a doctor after any kind of car or truck accident, and especially a semi accident. This is primarily to take care of yourself and make sure you can heal from any truck accident injuries. Some car accident injuries can take a few hours or even days to show up, like soft tissue strains, bruising, or small fractures that get worse over time. Follow your doctor’s advice and follow up if you think you need more care.
Don’t Text or Post on Social Media
Lastly, while you might want to let friends and loved ones know about the accident and your safety, do not post about a truck accident on social media in any way. Much like giving a statement to the truck driver or their team, this post can be used against you later. While texting is more private, it’s still a good idea to keep your written account of the accident private in every way possible until you can share it with your personal injury attorney. You want your documented statements about the case to be as calm and rational as possible so that they don’t come back to haunt you later. While the experience you just went through was very scary and emotional, don’t let that work against your right to hold the driver or their employer accountable for any negligence that contributed to the accident.
Truck drivers who are involved in an accident know they might be liable and so do their employers. Both groups take steps to do everything possible to protect themselves right away, especially when they know negligence contributed to the accident. They have lots of knowledge about the truck accident lawsuit process on their side, which the other parties in the accident do not have.
If you have been injured in an accident with a semi or other commercial vehicle, call the trucking accident attorneys in Indianapolis at Cline Farrell Christie Lee & Bell. Our firm has worked together as a team for over 25 years to represent individuals permanently affected by another party’s negligence.