Getting into a car accident can be a stressful and shocking experience. It can be hard to figure out what to do, especially if you or someone else in the car accident was hurt or seriously injured. All of this can be made even more traumatic if you were in an accident with an 18-wheeler truck.
While you might like to think that it’s possible to avoid an accident with such a large vehicle on the road, the sad truth is that such accidents are more common than you’d expect. In fact, according to Daniel Kim Law, a Los Angeles truck accident attorney, “the commercial trucking industry is well known for adding danger to the roads in Los Angeles.” As such, it’s crucial that you know what to do following a truck accident with an 18-wheeler. Here are five steps to take following your crash.
The first thing you should do following any truck accident is to call 911. Especially with a severe accident involving a vehicle as large as an 18-wheeler, it’s pivotal that an ambulance gets to the scene of the crash as quickly as possible. Beyond having a team of paramedics on the scene, it’s also a good idea to get the police there to help direct traffic and keep the crash site safe.
Get medical attention if you or anyone else needs it.
It’s important to get screened by the paramedics that report to the scene of the crime, even if you’re feeling okay. Sometimes you may have sustained a concussion or be dealing with whiplash that isn’t discovered until a first responder is able to assess your health. Of course, if you or someone else in the accident has sustained a more serious injury such as a laceration or a broken bone, it’s even more important to seek out medical attention. This is going to help your case when presented to a lawyer. When approaching someone for legal assistance, you’ll want to choose someone with local knowledge and experience in winning similar cases. For example, if you’ve unfortunately been involved in an incident in Colorado and have sustained injuries as a result, reaching out to a Denver truck accident attorney may be your best course of action, as it will almost certainly not be the first time they’ve taken on such a case and they will also have an in-depth understanding of the court system there too.
Document the scene of the accident.
Taking photos of the accident scene can be particularly helpful since it provides documentation of what damages occurred. Thankfully, the same smartphone you used to call in the emergency can be used to take these photos, as well as type up any notes that feel pertinent. Of course, you’ll also be providing statements to the police, which can become important if you have to press charges in court. It’s also worth noting that if you need to document a witness’ testimony but they aren’t able to stay at the scene of the crime, you can get their contact information or even video record their statement on your phone.
Exchange insurance and contact information.
After the scene has been made safe, you’ll want to share information with any other parties in the accident. Having this contact information and insurance details can help you file your own claims, and work through anything else that’s necessary during the following days or weeks. It’s also never a bad idea to get the other driver’s license plate number, just to be safe.
Retain a reputable lawyer.
If you weren’t at fault for the accident, it’s important to find a lawyer who has experience handling truck accident cases in your region. Particularly if a catastrophic injury occurred to one of the accident victims, having a lawyer in your corner can ensure that you’re properly compensated and the damages to your body or vehicle get covered by the truck company’s insurance.
An experienced truck accident attorney knows the ins and outs of federal safety regulations as well as some of the most common causes of truck accidents, such as fatigue, meaning they’ll see your accident through a different lens than you might as someone who was involved. Even if you need to reach a settlement out of court, finding a reputable and experienced lawyer can be important to filing the right personal injury claim and getting fair compensation to cover your property damage, medical expenses, and any other damages incurred.