There are thousands of large semi-trucks on our highways and, when you consider their massive size and weight, the potential danger they can cause to smaller vehicles is clear. Passengers in smaller vehicles that are struck by a large truck often suffer serious injuries or even death. Below are a few tips for how to handle an accident with an 18-wheeler truck:
- At the scene of the accident, the most important step is to ensure your safety. If you are capable, drive your vehicle to the side of the road where it is less likely to be hit by oncoming traffic. Most large trucks are carrying cargo that may spill out, so you should move your car out of that danger zone as well.
- You should call 911 as quickly as possible. If there are people with serious injuries, they need to be treated right away. Calling 911 will not only alert the police, but ambulances and medical personnel will be sent also. If your injuries do not require you to be transported by ambulance, do not leave the scene of the accident. You will need to give a full report to law enforcement. The police can also help you contact a tow-truck service to remove your vehicle.
- When you are speaking to the police, try to remain calm. It is normal to feel anxious and upset after an accident, so just concentrate on telling the officers what happened from your point of view. Crashes often occur so quickly and unexpectedly that it is normal to be uncertain of what happened.
- Be sure to exchange insurance information with the truck driver. You should obtain the driver’s name, contact information and insurance information. If you have a mobile phone, it can be helpful to take a picture of the driver’s insurance card.
- If you believe the other driver caused the collision or that he/she seems to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, provide this information to the police officer. The law enforcement officer must investigate the condition of both drivers.
- It is wise to take pictures of all your injuries and the scene of the accident before you leave. Photos of your injuries show the extent of the harm you suffered at the time it occurred. Be sure to also get photos of both the truck and your vehicle from several different angles. You should also take pictures of the conditions of the roadway if it is safe to do so. Photos of a wreck provide strong evidence for your attorney to use if you must file a lawsuit to recover your damages suffered. If you cannot take photos, obtain a copy of the police report and write down your own notes of what happened while it is fresh in your mind.
- If you did not seek medical attention at the crash, it is still smart to see a doctor to confirm you did not suffer a concussion or have internal injuries. You can be injured without feeling any symptoms, especially when you have significant amounts of adrenaline in your system from the wreck, so it is better to confirm you are healthy. Additionally, a visit to the doctor can provide evidence needed for a lawsuit because it is a record of your injuries sustained in the collision.
- You should notify your insurance agent that the accident occurred. It is important to remember that your insurance company has a different objective than you. Their goal is to minimize the amount of payout on claims and protect their bottom line. Thus, you should get your attorney involved in the discussions with the insurance companies as quickly as possible. In an accident with a large semi-truck, there are numerous different potentially liable parties with different insurers. This type of litigation can be complex and requires you to work with a personal injury attorney experienced in these types of lawsuits. If you need further information or assistance with a California semi-truck accident, contact the Law Office of Alex Cha & Associates today.