10 Steps You Should Take After a Truck Accident
Commercial truck accidents involving passenger vehicles often cause severe injuries simply because trucks are so much larger than these vehicles.
When these crashes happen, victims are often unsure about what to do next. They may wonder if they should they go to the hospital, call the police or grab their smartphone and take pictures of their vehicle.
The attorneys at Pitman, Kalkhoff, Sicula & Dentice have extensive experience dealing with truck accident claims, and we know that your actions right after the accident can make or break your legal claim. This is why we have created a list of steps you should take in the aftermath of a truck accident. These steps might increase the likelihood that you will recover compensation for the losses you suffered in the crash.
1. Address Any Injuries
As personal injuries from a truck accident can be severe, it is a good idea to call 9-1-1 to get medical attention immediately after a crash. If you are unsure whether you or anyone else needs emergency services, err on the side of caution and get medical help.
Be sure to also check on others who were involved in the accident if you can. However, do not move anyone who you think may have serious injuries, particularly neck or back injuries, which are common truck accident injuries.
2. Do Not Leave the Scene
You should never leave the scene of a commercial truck accident. You can gather valuable evidence at the scene, and you may be required to report the accident. Leaving the scene of the accident could also result in unintentional legal liability.
3. Move to Safety
It is a good idea to move your vehicle to the side of the road or another safe location.
The truck driver will often have emergency equipment such as reflectors or flares to use to warn other oncoming vehicles of the accident scene. You may need to help set up these safety features.
4. Report the Accident
It is always a good idea to call the police to report a truck accident. When the officer arrives, he or she will fill out a police report, which will be helpful in proving who is at fault for the accident.
Under Wisconsin law, you are required to report a crash if there has been over $200 in property damage or the accident has resulted in injury or death of any person. Because commercial truck accidents are often severe, there are very few circumstances where you would not be required to report this type of accident.
5. Gather Information from the Other Driver
Gathering information at the scene of the accident can be very helpful to your case. At the very least, you should talk to the truck driver to get his or her name and contact information. You should inquire as to who owns the truck and who owns the load that the trailer is pulling.
You should also gather insurance information, the driver’s license information, and the plate number for the trailer and truck. Gathering as much information as possible will help your attorney as he or she builds your case.
6. Talk to Witnesses
If there were any witnesses nearby, you should attempt to get their names and contact information as well. Ask for their version of what they think happened.
7. Take Photos
Use your phone or a camera to take pictures of the scene. If you are at an intersection, take a photo of any traffic signs or signals. Take pictures of the damage to each vehicle and any of your visible injuries. Keep in mind that it is better to have too many pictures than not enough.
8. Take Notes
Take a few minutes after the accident to write down everything you remember about the situation. Start with where you were heading and include details like how fast you were going, what the weather was like, anything you recall about the truck, and virtually any other aspect of the accident that you remember. You should also have notes regarding your injuries and follow-up treatment.
9. Continue Medical Treatment
It is essential to follow the doctor’s orders about your medical treatment. This is not only important for your health, but can also impact your claim – if you stop treatment, it could invalidate your case.
10. Contact a Trucking Accident Attorney
A reputable trucking accident attorney can advise you of all of your options. He or she can also deal with insurance companies and truck companies on your behalf to defend your best interests and negotiate fair compensation.
Dealing with insurers and truck companies on your own is often a bad idea because these entities will do everything they can to take advantage of you and deny your claim or attempt to provide the smallest amount of compensation possible.
Contact PKSD’s truck accident attorneys in Milwaukee for more information or to schedule a free consultation. We take cases on contingency, so you will not owe legal fees unless we recover fair compensation.