Hundreds of thousands of commercial truck accidents happen each year. If you or someone you care about has been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, the steps you would normally take after an accident apply.
After experiencing such a traumatic ordeal, injuries will more than likely be present. If the injuries are severe, you may not remember what happened prior to or during the accident. If you are able to remember, the details are important — especially if you decide to pursue legal action. Here are the steps to take if you’re involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler.
Focus on Safety and Well-Being
Depending on how severe the accident was, you or the driver who was involved in the collision could suffer from a wide range of injuries, including whiplash, back and spine injuries, broken bones, contusions, lacerations or brain trauma. There’s also the mental trauma involved. It’s important to focus on safety and well-being over everything else by getting the necessary medical attention immediately.
Contact the Police
Chances are that you or the person involve in the accident, won’t have to call the police — especially if there are witnesses. When the police take information for their report, they will need to know the direction the driver of the vehicle was headed before the accident, as well as the direction the 18-wheeler was headed. They will make notes about the results of the impact on the vehicle, such as whether it hit the front side or rear. Notes will also be made about injuries and any witnesses that are present.
Call Your Insurance And File A Claim
As soon as possible, you’ll need to call your insurance company so you can file a claim. If your injuries prevented you from gathering information at the scene of the accident, contact the police to get a copy of the report they filed. You should be able to get valuable information if you do.
Avoid Signing Anything
If you were hit by a commercial truck driver, the truck driver’s company may have a representative contact you and ask you to sign something. This could be documentation that states you won’t pursue legal action against the trucking company. It doesn’t really matter what they are asking you to sign because you need to refuse at that point — at least until you can get some legal advice.
Avoid Talking to the Trucking Company’s Insurance Representative
It’s common for the insurance company representing the trucking company to try and contact the other driver involved in the incident. But that doesn’t mean you need to go into detail with the person who calls. You can always politely refuse to speak with the other driver’s insurance company. Gather some information instead, such as the name of the insurance company, representative’s name, contact details, and the nature of the call and tell the person you’ll have to get back to them.
Consider Hiring an Attorney
After a traumatic accident with an 18-wheeler, the other driver is likely to have injuries that require medical attention, which may be long-term. If you are employed, you may also have to miss work in order to take care of your health. All these costs can add up quickly, and an attorney can help get compensation to pay for these expenses.
According to Jonesboro truck accident lawyer Mark Rees, “Truck accident cases are complicated, and these cases are routinely and rigorously defended by the insurance company of the at-fault trucking company, truck driver or both.” It’s important when looking for an attorney to choose one that has specific knowledge about and experience with 18-wheeler accidents. The trucking industry has numerous rules, regulations and guidelines and a lawyer who is experienced in dealing with the trucking accidents will know exactly how to proceed.
You can even seek out an attorney who offers a free consultation and doesn’t bill you unless he or she wins your case. That way, you won’t have to be stressed out about spending extra money during a time when medical bills may be piling up.
Don’t Be Intimidated
After being involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, there are definitely more important issues than having to talk to the trucking company’s insurance representative. Don’t be afraid to politely refuse to talk to the representative until you’ve had a chance to meet with an attorney.
Taking care of your health and figuring out whether you want to pursue legal action is first and foremost. Should you decide you want legal representation, an experienced trucking attorney can help you get the justice you deserve.