The moments following a truck accident are critical, but they can also be overwhelming.
If you’ve just been in a collision, it’s easy to feel confused and frantic. This is true whether it’s a minor fender bender or a major accident. Knowing the right actions to take can make all the difference, but what should you do first?
Today, we’re sharing the five steps you should take immediately following a truck accident. It’s important to be prepared, know your rights, and understand how to respond if you ever find yourself in this situation.
1. Contact the Police
The first thing you should do if you’re in a truck accident is to notify local law enforcement. When the police arrive on the scene, they can file an official report that details the events leading up to the collision.
Even if it appears that no physical damage was done to any vehicle and no one sustained any injuries, it’s still best to perform this step first. Why is this the case?
There are many minor injuries, including soft tissue injuries, that are not always immediately noticeable. For instance, your neck might have been strained upon impact, but you might not feel the effects until those muscles become sore the next day. Inflammation and swelling can take hours to develop, especially if you’re still using that part of your body unknowingly.
If you ultimately require medical attention for your injuries, a police report can help substantiate your claim and add clarity to your case. The details it contains could also prove invaluable if your case goes to court.
2. Seek Medical Treatment
As mentioned, you could have sustained injuries without even knowing it. For this reason, it’s always best to get checked out by a physician right after you’ve been involved in a truck accident.
Are you considering waiting to seek treatment until you receive a settlement in court? Are you convinced that your injuries are minor and that you don’t need to make an appointment? In both cases, we recommend reconsidering.
An official medical report can help uncover and document any immediate or late-onset injuries associated with the accident. It is very important to document any pain and symptoms you are having immediately after a wreck. If your injuries or parts of your body that are hurting are not documented properly, then the insurance company could try and discredit your later complaints of injury, or try to imply that you were not hurt as a result of the wreck, since you did not seek medical attention immediately after. Having a medical professional evaluate you for injuries and document these evaluations are both extremely important.
If you skip these steps, you could accept a settlement that isn’t sufficient to cover all of your needs. Whether you’re currently aching or not, go ahead and see the doctor.
3. Gather Evidence
If you can, try to take pictures of the scene of the collision while you’re still on-site.
In addition to documenting any damage done to your vehicle, remember to also take pictures of any other damaged vehicles involved in the accident. If you sustained any visible bodily injuries, take photos of those as soon as possible, too. An affliction such as a bruise or cut could change shape, color and severity over time, so it’s critical to capture it right after it occurs.
In addition to gathering photographic evidence, it’s also important to take as many notes as you can before leaving the accident. When you recount the details later, your memory of the event could be blurry, and you’ll need the facts.
Write down as much information as you can about anyone involved in the collision, including the truck driver and the responding police officer. If available, this is also a good time to gather the insurance information of anyone involved. You can also speak to witnesses who saw what happened before and during the crash, and take down their contact information.
4. Don’t Sign Anything
When a truck driver is involved in an accident, their trucking company will get involved almost immediately. In most cases, they’ll request that their insurance provider reach out to those involved in the crash and extend a settlement offer.
This works in their favor, as it helps them avoid a potentially long and costly lawsuit that could put a stain on their reputation. While it might be tempting to take their offer, don’t sign anything just yet. You’re welcome to listen to their proposition, but politely inform them that you’ll need to speak to your lawyer first.
5. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
This brings us to our next step! Before you move forward with a case or accept an offer, always reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer. This legal expert will have the tools and knowledge required to help you handle each next step that comes your way.
A personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights, and how to fight for them. They know the laws and regulations that govern the trucking industry, as well as common causes of trucking accidents. Armed with this knowledge, they can help you better understand why the collision occurred, as well as how you can best prove your case in court.
Know Your Rights After a Truck Accident
After you’ve been in a truck accident, you should be able to focus strictly on getting better. You shouldn’t have to stress about the next steps or wonder if you’re making the right decisions. We know this experience can be disorienting, and you don’t have to handle it alone.
If you need a Nashville personal injury lawyer, we’re here to help.
We’ve earned a reputation as one of Nashville’s premier law firms, protecting the rights of our clients here in the city and across the State of Tennessee. If you’ve recently been involved in an accident, reach out to our office today for a free, no obligation case evaluation.