If you or a loved one is involved in a truck accident, you will want to know the answer to “What should I do after a truck accident?”. There are certain actions you can take to protect your legal rights, and also to gather and preserve the most helpful evidence to help successfully litigate your claim against the trucking company.
Here is a list of some of the actions you should take after a truck accident. Please note, however, that for all actions listed as something to do right after the accident, at the accident scene, we understand that not all these actions may be practically taken. For instance, if you or a loved one are seriously injured it may not be possible to perform some or all of these steps suggested, and instead focusing on you or your loved ones health in such a situation is more important.
However, in such cases, the more quickly you can contact an attorney the better, once your immediate medical needs have been attended to. This is because the attorney, and the staff or other experts they may hire, can then assist you in the gathering and preserving of evidence before it is lost, destroyed or otherwise harder to collect.
Right after the Accident, At the Accident Scene
- Contact the police as quickly as possible to try to ensure the preservation of the accident scene.
- Request a copy of the police report from the officer(s), or find out from them how to get it later once it has been completed.
- When providing a statement to the police about what happened stick to sharing only the facts. Do not speculate as to what occurred and do not admit any fault.
- Say as little as possible to the truck driver. Even what we would consider to be just social courtesy, like saying “I’m sorry,” can be brought up later in a lawsuit.
- Take pictures with your cell phone or other camera and otherwise observe the accident scene. (Make sure to download a copy of all photos, without deleting any, from your phone soon afterward, to provide a copy for your attorney). Here are some examples of things to observe or to take pictures of:
- Vehicle DOT (Department of Transportation) license number for both the truck and the trailer (these numbers are usually different)
- The names or other identification on the cab and/or the trailer
- Any skid marks made by the truck
- The condition of the truck and trailer’s tires
- Condition of all vehicles involved in the collision
- Gather information from and around the accident scene. Some examples of this information include:
- Truck driver information, such as his or her license and insurance information
- The insurance information for the truck owner and trailer owner (if available)
- Names and contact information of any witnesses
- Names and contact information of any persons taking pictures, or talking to witnesses or persons involved in the collision. (Please note that it is not unusual for trucking company representatives and/or insurance company representatives for the trucking company to be present before the accident scene is even completely cleared. They often will act very nice and helpful, but understand that their loyalties lie elsewhere, and they are not there to protect your interest.)
- Seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think your injuries are severe. See “How do I recover medical expenses for a truck accident?”. It is very important at all times, both for any potential claims and also for your health, to be honest about your injuries, neither exaggerating nor downplaying them. See “How do I file a truck accident claim?“.
After Receiving Initial Medical Treatment
- Write down everything you can remember about the accident, including what happened right before, during and afterward, while your memory is fresh in your mind.
- Contact your insurance company to tell them about the accident.
- After you’ve seen your doctor and your immediate family needs are in order, contact Starr Austen & Miller to learn how an experienced attorney can help you.
- Act quickly so that you do not miss any applicable statutes of limitation. See “What is the process for truck accident litigation?“.
When Dealing With Trucking Company’s Insurance Carrier or Legal Counsel
- Do not speak to anyone representing the trucking company, including the trucking company’s insurance provider, without your own counsel present.
- Do not sign anything without legal representation.
Starr Austen and Miller, Indiana truck accident lawyers, focuses on representing individuals and their family members in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases, such as those often involved in truck accidents. If you or a loved one have been in a truck accident you can contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case.
[Source: TruckAccidentLawyer.com, Truck-Accident-Lawfirm.com]