Semi-trucks are an essential part of our society, and yet, truck drivers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that truck drivers can be injured on the road, from contact with equipment, and overexertion. They also need to be very careful while driving, as semi-truck accidents tend to be deadlier than auto accidents.
Semi-truck accidents frequently take or permanently alter the lives of those involved. Many people may not know what to do after an accident, especially if they want to prove liability. Here are some steps you can take after a semi-truck accident that can help your case later on.
#1. Call 911
First things first, you need to call 911. The police and emergency personnel will be on the site as soon as possible to file a report and provide medical attention. Even if you are a witness and were not personally involved in the accident, you want to call 911 so that people can receive medical attention as needed.
#2. Get Medical Treatment
In many cases after a semi-truck accident, people can’t do anything due to injuries. Your focus here is on getting medical treatment. If you can’t do anything but wait for medical treatment due to your injuries, that should be your focus.
However, even if your injuries seem minor or you feel perfectly fine, it’s crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Adrenaline can mask serious injuries, such as internal bleeding and traumatic brain injuries. Symptoms may not appear until later, when it is more difficult to prove that they are the result of the accident.
#3. Document Everything
People can forget important details or remember things differently, but pictures say a thousand words. Even if you think you were the one who caused the accident, pictures can show partial liability of the other party.
You’re not taking pictures for social media, so don’t worry about whether they look good. Just take pictures of the scene, the road and weather conditions, visible damage to the vehicles, property damage, injuries you may have sustained, and the documents of all parties involved.
Even if something doesn’t seem like an important detail, it can make a difference in your case.
#4. Exchange Contact Information
The police should gather contact information, but it can take a while to do so, especially it the accident was serious, as is typically the case with semi-truck accidents. Well-meaning bystanders often leave once it seems like emergency personnel and police have the situation covered. You can gather their name and phone number or email address.
You also need to get the other driver(s) information, including their name, address, contact information, insurance company, license number, and other identifying information. You want to get the information for the trucking company, too.
#5. Mind Your Tongue
After an accident, our fight-or-flight instinct kicks in. People often say things in anger that they don’t mean or may find themselves falling over themselves to apologize for what happened even if they weren’t at fault. Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you. You don’t want anything you say to be taken as an admission of fault or used to hurt you later.
State the facts, no more. Refrain from saying things like, “I’m fine!” as this can hurt you later if you are not, in fact, fine after the accident. Don’t speak to anyone about anything other than the facts until you’ve spoken to your lawyer. The last thing that you want is to hurt your case when you were upset or just trying to be helpful.
While truck drivers are more often than not at fault, the car driver, the trucking company, or the manufacturer and distributors of parts of the truck can be at fault too. Determining liability in semi-truck accidents can be difficult, due to how many potentially liable parties there are. Even if you feel like you were liable, don’t say anything until you’ve spoken to a lawyer. Your lawyer will ensure you are properly represented.
#6. Stay Off Social Media
In our day and age, everyone wants to share everything. If you’ve been in a semi-truck accident, you may want to post about it. However, remember that anything you share can be used against you later. Even something that seems innocent, like saying that you were in an accident but not to worry, can hurt you later.
If the accident made the news, as is usually the case with semi-truck accidents, refrain from making any comments about it until after you’ve spoken with your lawyer. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
#7. Speak To A Truck Accident Attorney
In order to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve and are represented fairly, you’ll want to speak to an attorney. In semi-truck accidents, determining liability can be very difficult. It’s also important to remember that these trucking companies typically have a team of lawyers to represent them and that insurance adjusters are not your friends. Seeking legal representation helps you recover the damages that you are owed.
If you’ve been in a semi-truck accident, LeBaron & Jensen is here to help. You can focus on recovering while we work on your case and fight for justice. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case consultation.