What steps should I take after an 18-wheeler accident?
Given the large (and growing) number of commercial vehicles and 18-wheelers out on the road in the State of Texas, there is a very real possibility people may find themselves involved in an accident with one. Here at Grossman Law Offices, we believe that we have a duty to inform everyone out on the roads with these trucks what they should do if they ever have the misfortune of being hit by one. In this article, we're going to explain the steps you should take if you've been in an accident with a large truck.
Questions answered on this page:
- What should I do after an accident?
- What kind of information should I get from the truck driver?
- At what point do I hire a lawyer after a truck accident?
Typically speaking, the average person only experiences one or two road accidents their entire lives, so being in a crash is already a very out-of-the-ordinary experience for many. This, coupled with possible injuries, adrenaline, and pain could make keeping your wits about you somewhat difficult, but try and remain calm. Doing so can help you preserve the memory of what happened in the crash, and the important events that happen immediately after - in addition to helping you make it through the other following steps.
Get Medical Attention
Most commercial vehicles and large trucks generate a tremendous amount of force in a collision, and while your body may feel like a solid object when you touch it, in impacts with large trucks your body actually becomes quite fluid as the force of the collision passes through it. This near instantaneous force can cause obvious immediate and obvious trauma, as well as subtle injuries that don't reveal themselves until days, weeks, or even months after the accident. You should seek immediate medical attention for any obvious pains, and if there is no apparent injury, at the least be evaluated for things you may not be trained to feel such as internal organ trauma.
If you feel any of the following, you should tell a doctor or paramedics at the scene immediately:
- Disorientation, dizziness, or loss of consciousness
- Swelling, bruising, or abrasions
- Any newfound pain whatsoever
Obtain Important Information From the Truck Driver and Interview Eyewitnesses
Besides your immediate well-being, the details of what happened, and any information that you can obtain should be your highest priority. Everything from witnesses to the how long the offending truck driver has been on the road are extremely crucial in the grand scheme of how your accident will be examined, so every single detail - no matter how inconsequential it may seem to you - is absolutely vital. You will need to ask the truck driver;
- What company they work for, or if they are an independent contractor;
- Their commercial driver's license number;
- What they were hauling;
- Observe if they appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol; and
- The number of hours they worked that day.
Now, if you or the people in your vehicle are unable to communicate with the truck driver, having a police officer or emergency personnel do it for you should be an option. You are not burdening or bothering the police officers by asking them to do their job, after all they work for you and are at the scene for you, but that doesn't mean you can expect them to collect this information automatically. We've seen all too many preliminary accident reports with giant, gaping holes where very important information is supposed to be. For your sake, put them to work for you and have them gather the information and take pictures of the scene.
Document Evidence of the Crash Scene
Speaking of taking pictures of the scene, if you are physically able, you should document as much as you can as well. Take pictures of any and everything that you suspect could have contributed to the accident. From obvious details like tire marks on the pavement and immediate damage on your vehicle and the truck, to less obvious details like the angle of the sun in the sky if it could have been blinding a driver, or the angle of the curve in the road if it could have affected visibility. There is no such thing as an insignificant detail when it comes to accident investigation, but some of the necessary core details to capture would be;
- Your injuries and the injuries of other occupants;
- The accident scene;
- Traffic control devices, including stop signs and lights; and
- Damage done to your vehicle and the truck.
There is a lot to process at the scene of these accidents, and there are lot of pitfalls to avoid,
Call an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
As mentioned earlier, most people have only experienced one or two major crashes in their entire lives, whereas the companies behind the other vehicle may have experience with one or two major accidents per week. Major trucking companies have become exceedingly efficient at defending themselves in accidents on a regular basis, even when they were clearly at fault.
Our firm has been squaring off against trucking companies with these honed defense strategies for over two decades. We know how they operate, we know their methods, and we've become exceedingly efficient at being two steps ahead of their tactics.
For more information and a free and confidential consultation based on the unique circumstances of your injury, give us a call any time, day or night, at (855) 326-0000.
You may also want to read:
- How do truck accidents that involve delivery trucks work?
- Accidents with parked 18-wheelers
- Rear end accidents with tractor-trailers