Although less than 5% of all registered vehicles in the U.S. are heavy commercial trucks, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that at least one large commercial truck or bus is engaged in more than 13% of all fatal crashes in the U.S.
More than 7 out of 10 people killed during truck accidents in the U.S. are not the driver or passenger of the truck.
There is no denying that trucks and truck drivers are necessary to maintain the flow of the economy and American society.
However, it is also clear that they have the potential to be extremely dangerous if involved in a truck driver accident.
Accidents involving trucks can cause grave and life-threatening injuries. The first concern of a truck driver should be to seek immediate medical attention for the passengers being hit by their truck.
However, there are some important steps that a truck driver can take to get help with the aftermath.
If you're in a truck driver accident and are lucky enough to escape with only minor injuries, keep reading on.
Some main reasons for a truck driver accident
There may be a lot of reasons why a truck driver accident took place. In most cases, it is the result of the driver's negligence in not following procedures for a safe trucking method.
However, while some may blame the truck driver or the passenger of another car or truck, other reasons could also include causes outside a driver’s control, such as bad weather.
Other reasons may include:
- Faulty truck maintenance
- Being distracted or negligent while driving
- Not giving drivers the appropriate training
- Failing to respect or police drivers' break times
- Over-speeding or not following other traffic rules
- Tired while driving and not laying by truck stops
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- The trucking business made a careless hiring decision
- Driving without taking into account the road and weather conditions
Important steps to take after being involved in a truck driver accident
First and foremost, if it's safe to do so, evaluate your own condition as well as that of your passengers and anyone in any other vehicles engaged in the collision.
Although each of the subsequent actions may be crucial to your legal defense, you never want to put your safety (or the safety of another person) in unnecessary danger.
It's acceptable to need an ambulance and then do nothing but wait for it to come.
1. Call 911
Dial 911 right away.
The 911 dispatcher will contact the neighborhood police department and emergency personnel if you are on a highway.
Tell the dispatcher how many people are believed to be involved in the collision (there may be numerous vehicles), so they can send as many ambulances and other medical help as required.
Obtain a police record, regardless of how "minor" the accident appears to be. The best way to immediately document the accident is with a police report, and the police will keep detailed records of all the cars or trucks involved.
2. Stick around at the scene of the accident
Make sure to remain at the site of the accident until law enforcement authorizes you to leave, even if you weren't involved in the accident but witnessed it.
By doing this, you will avoid being accused of a hit-and-run or leaving the scene of an accident. As a licensed driver, you have a duty to be present whenever you encounter or witness an accident on the road.
Drivers involved in accidents are required to stop, share information, and/or render aid in accordance with state, federal, and the Federal Motor Carrier Act.
Additionally, it allows you to assess the situation and provide any instant assistance that may be required (if there are parties in bad shape, this would be where you call for medical assistance).
Remember that even though you can help, you shouldn't do so in situations where doing so might put you in peril.
3. Seek medical attention
Get a medical evaluation for you and your passengers even if you don't believe you're hurt because you could have injuries that don't have obvious symptoms right away.
It might be challenging to prove that an injury you later experience that necessitates medical treatment was caused by the accident.
Additionally, you might be suffering from an injury like internal bleeding, which a doctor can identify even if it's difficult for you to recognize.
Request a thorough medical evaluation at a hospital or your doctor's office, even if you were checked by an EMT on the scene.
4. Words matter: what not to say after an accident
It’s always good to be polite.
Even though you may be upset that the other driver was at fault for the accident, being rude to other motorists won't help your situation.
On the other hand, when we become agitated, the majority of us tend to say things we later regret or don't intend.
After an accident, it's much more effective to maintain your composure so that you can control your speech and avoid saying something that could later damage your case.
Don't accept responsibility or blame. Even if you are aware of your error, keep it to yourself. Don't tell lies, but keep the specifics to yourself. Keep that discussion for your attorney. Your lawyer's task is to identify and emphasize any additional factors that could lessen your liability, even though you might be partially at fault.
The police will make every effort to thoroughly reconstruct the mishap. You will be asked to give a statement, along with any witnesses, but you are not required to acknowledge guilt.
Again, refrain from lying because doing so will tarnish your reputation. It is better to remain silent than to make claims that could subsequently be proven to be false.
5. Sign an agreement with a truck crash lawyer
Review, bargain, and sign a contract with terms you're happy with to formalize your working connection with a truck accident lawyer. The document, which is also known as a "Letter of Engagement" or "Retainer Agreement," should specify:
- Acknowledgment that the attorney-client connection is now confidential
- Percentages of contingent fees and other information on costs and reimbursement for obtaining or failing to obtain damages in a case. This is the "If we lose, you pay nothing" guarantee
- Conditions for canceling this agreement, both by you and the lawyer
- Being aware of the (often lengthy) timeframes involved with typical truck accident personal injury claims and how waiting without adequate communication may be necessary
- Disclaimer of potential handling of the case by the attorney, discussion of medical costs, inquiries, and ordering of medical documents
Remember that, based on the circumstances, each law firm may use a different style of contract, some quite straightforward and others quite in-depth.
Before signing anything, make sure you are aware of and comprehend the fundamental terms of the agreement.
6. Investigation and collection of evidence
You and the lawyer have already had a preliminary conversation and presented some key pieces of evidence.
The legal firm determines that your case has merit to proceed based on the evidence—your personal account of the truck driver accident, specifics about your medical visits and physical therapy regimen, and a study of police reports. A contract's signature signifies that all parties have agreed to its terms.
The real, concentrated work of uncovering every fact that could support your case will now begin. For your legal staff, this typically entails:
- All police records are examined
- Having a talk with insurance agents
- Finding more witnesses to the event
- Review of all visits and medical documents
- Locating and reviewing the recorded proof from the traffic cameras
- Requesting copies of all paperwork and any additional proof and reviewing it
- Conversing with the legal and insurance representatives of the trucking business
- Guiding you as you develop a consistent, accurate description of a truck driver accident
- Appointing experienced accident scene investigators to examine the scene of the truck accident
7. Get your vehicle appraised
Similar to how sometimes internal damage to the human body is not visible to the untrained eye, your vehicle may appear to have only minor damage. You shouldn't, however, rush your vehicle into the nearest body shop and have it fixed right away.
Considering that the repair cost must be included in your insurance claim, the documentation needed to support your claim for damages with each insurance provider varies. Some require you to bring the truck to a body shop that is on an authorized list, while others have apps that ask you to take pictures of every exterior surface of the vehicle. Transport your truck to a nearby body shop if your insurance covers roadside assistance or you are a member of a travel association that provides towing. But make sure the shop is aware that no work should be done until you've received approval from your insurance provider. Bring the vehicle in for an inspection even if you are certain it is okay to drive.
Road Legends Team
Post created: April 12 ,2023
Post updated: June 20 ,2023