What to do after a truck accident?

Did you recently get into a collision with a truck?  If so, it’s important to understand what to do and what not to do in the upcoming events.  The lawyers for the trucking company begin working immediately, and often are very aggressive in their defense.  There are many issues involving being able to prove the trucking company is legally responsible which make it a very good idea to hire a skilled Trucking Accident Lawyer early.  Below are seven steps you should take after a collision with a truck:

  1. Call 911. In Washington, there is a requirement to report an accident which results in injury.  So, calling the police to report the accident is a step towards complying with this law.   Calling the police is also a step towards documenting the time and location of the accident.  If the police respond, they will also provide you with additional assistance, including getting the name and address of the person who hit you, as well as the license number of the other drivers.  They will also record the names and contact information of any witnesses.
  1. You need to preserve the evidence. Your lawyer should immediately contact the trucking company and demand that they preserve all data associated with the collision, including the computer logs on-board the truck itself.  Some of these computers quickly recycle and overwrite their data, so you need to ask for this quickly.
  1. Go to the doctor. One of the most important things you can do is go to the doctor following an accident.  It is critical that you are examined by a medical professional, to determine if you need immediate care and to assess your injuries.  Think of what you would recommend to a friend or loved one—wouldn’t you tell them to get “checked out” by a doctor?  You deserve the same. 
  1. Take pictures of the vehicles. It is important to take pictures of your vehicle and the vehicle of the person who hit you.  This can be extremely important, because this may be the only time these vehicles will accurately show the extent of the damage and forces of the collision.  This may also be the one and only time you are able to see the other vehicle; if it is “totaled” and not repaired, it will be headed to the junk yard never to be seen again.
  1. Take more pictures. If you are bruised, if you cut yourself, or if there is anything inside the car that was caused by the accident, you should take a picture of these things.  These type of pictures can be very useful in showing the true extent of the damage and injuries.  
  1. Demand all training material for the driver of the truck. The truck driver is required to keep logs of his or her hours of driving (how long they were working prior to the collision) as well as other important information.  Your attorney needs to demand this information, as well as all training that the driver has received from the trucking company; you should also obtain the complete personnel file for the driver, which could include prior instances when the driver has been in a collision or has been disciplined.
  1. Get help. The person who hit you has reported the collision.  He or she may have said the collision was your fault.  You can also rest assured that the trucking company would like to pay you as little money as possible, as quickly as possible.  Should you give a statement? (No!)  Should you sign a release for the insurance company to get your medical records? (No!)  These questions will be put to you within days after the collision, and how they are answered is important.  It is much more likely that you will receive a fair and reasonable settlement if you have an experienced legal team fighting for you at every stage.

The Trucking Injuries page has a lot of information on things like factors that are often related to collisions, different types of claims, etc.  Following these steps can prove to be invaluable to any party after a collision with a semi-truck. 

 

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