Any car accident can be traumatic and can cause serious injuries, including burn injuries, brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. A car accident involving a truck, however, is especially serious because the occupants of the car are more likely to suffer serious injury or even fatalities. To make matters more complicated, many trucks are owned by companies, and this makes the legal implications of such an accident somewhat more complicated. Therefore, you will want to take a few extra precautions if your car has been in an accident with a truck:
1) After an accident, if you are safe and able to place a call, contact the authorities. The state patrol or local police are needed to take evidence, help anyone who is injured, talk to witnesses, and file a report.
2) Avoid talking about the accident – and especially about fault – at the scene. You may be dazed and confused after the accident and you may inadvertently claim fault, even if the fault is not yours. Provide just the basic information – name, contact information, and insurance information. If you are detained by authorities at the scene of the accident, ask to speak to an attorney before making a statement of any kind.
3) Get information about the truck. At minimum, get the truck driver’s name, license plate number, insurance information, and contact information. Do not just assume that the police will gather this information and you will be able to retrieve the information. Have the data on hand for your own records.
4) Check for damage and injuries. Take pictures of the damage to your car and surrounding area, as well as any injuries you have suffered. Jot down the time, date, and place of the accident as well as any details you remember. If you need an attorney, this information will be important.
5) Arrange to see your doctor. If you are injured, get the authorities to take you to the hospital immediately or, if you are well enough, drive yourself to the hospital. Make sure that you note the name of the admitting physician and get copies of your file. Even if you have sustained no injuries in the accident, visit your physician as soon as possible after the accident for a full physical. You may have an injury caused by an accident but may not exhibit symptoms for some time. Getting a full check-up ensures that any problems are caught and dealt with quickly. Seeing your doctor also ensures that any possible problems are documented. Waiting to file a claim about an injury can lessen your chances of a successful claim, so get the facts about any possible injuries as quickly as possible.
6) Contact your insurance company – and an attorney. As soon as you safely can after an accident, contact your insurance company so that you can get the claims process started. Also, contact a qualified personal attorney right away. Since trucks are often owned by companies, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney, someone who can represent you if you need to negotiate with a large and powerful company.