When you drive your car on highways and city roads in Missouri, you are forced to share them with semi-trucks, buses, and other large commercial vehicles. Truck drivers and other drivers who hold commercial drivers licenses (CDLs) must undergo specialized training to gain the knowledge and skill to drive their trucks safely and follow the traffic laws. Because of their large sizes and substantial weights, commercial trucks and buses are much likelier to cause catastrophic injuries and fatalities when they cause collisions with other types of vehicles. To protect your rights, review what to do after a truck accident below.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
In the immediate aftermath, it can be difficult to know what to do after a truck accident. By following these tips, you can help protect yourself and your rights to recover compensation for your losses.
Remain at the Accident Scene
When you have been in a collision with a truck, it is important that you stay at the scene. If you leave before law enforcement officers arrive, you can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, which is a criminal offense. Even if the crash is relatively minor, stay until the police arrive. Try to leave your vehicle in the same position it was in immediately after the collision. This can help you preserve important evidence for a subsequent case.
Call 911 and Provide Help to Injured People
Call 911 after an accident with a large truck. Commercial truck crashes often result in serious injuries or fatalities that require the help of emergency responders. When you call 911, the dispatcher will also send police officers to investigate the accident so that they can write reports and issue citations. While you are waiting, check yourself and others for injuries. Provide first aid to anyone who needs it until the emergency medical responders arrive.
Take Pictures and Make a Video of the Scene
Take photographs of the accident scene, all of the vehicles involved, and the damage caused to each. You should also take pictures of any damage to the truck and relevant features within the environment, such as tire skid marks on the road, traffic control devices, and speed limit signs. It is also a good idea to videotape the accident scene and to create an audio recording in which you state everything that you remember in the moments leading up to the collision. If you have suffered injuries, take photographs of them as well.
Exchange Information with the Other Drivers
All drivers are required to exchange information after they have been involved in collisions. You should exchange your information with the truck driver as well as any other drivers who were involved. Gather all of the following information:
- The driver’s name
- The driver’s phone number and address
- The driver’s trucking carrier
- The license plate number
- The insurance company and policy number
If you don’t have a paper and pen handy or you simply prefer the convenience, remember that you can take pictures of the truck driver’s license, the license plate, and the insurance card with your phone.
Avoid Making Inculpatory Statements
Even if you think that you might be partly to blame for your accident, avoid accepting responsibility immediately afterward. Do not say that the accident was your fault. There may be details that you are not aware of that could mean that the driver was at fault. When the police arrive, simply tell the officer what happened immediately before the accident, and do not admit fault.
Seek Medical Attention
Visit a doctor for a medical examination after the collision, and keep in mind that you may have suffered injuries that don’t show symptoms for several hours or days after the collision. If you are asked if you have been injured, simply tell the officer that you want to see your doctor. If you have obvious injuries, accept ambulatory services to go to the hospital. Getting prompt medical attention can help to show a link between your injuries and the collision, which can strengthen your claim.
Consult with an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accidents are much more complex than other types of collision cases because of the severity of injuries that can result and the high policy limits of the insurance policies. In addition, sometimes multiple parties hold liability in a truck collision case. So after you seek medical attention, meet with an experienced truck accident lawyer as early as possible.