Imagine you’re cruising down State Route 160, you’ve got the perfect playlist on, and you’re enjoying a pleasant breeze. At the same time, another driver on the road is experiencing a much different situation. A trucker is overtaking vehicles and barreling down the road to deliver cargo to meet a strict deadline. Out of nowhere, your peaceful drive comes crashing down as the two of you collide.
Unlike regular car crashes, an accident with a large truck that is 20 times heavier than passenger vehicles can be disastrous and sometimes fatal. In 2018, over 4,000 people died in large truck accidents, and 67% of the fatalities were occupants of cars.
At Kershaw Talley Barlow, we hope you are never involved in a truck accident, but we understand it happens more often than it should. On top of enduring injuries and property damage, you may have to deal with truck companies and insurance corporations that don’t uphold your best interest.
Today, our Sacramento truck accident attorneys outline the steps you should follow after a crash with a large truck.
1. Stay at the scene and report the incident
Immediately following the accident, you must remain at the scene of the crash. Once you and your passengers are deemed safe, remove your car from traffic, if possible. If you are unable to do this, turn your hazard lights on to notify others around you of the situation and to prevent another accident.
If you or anyone else involved has been injured, call 911 immediately. Otherwise, you can report the incident to the police. Once an officer arrives, he or she will fill out an accident report and give you instructions to follow. It’s important that you request a copy of the report for your records in the event that you need to go to court.
2. Exchange information with the parties involved
Look for any identifying signatures on the other vehicle. While the truck driver may have caused the accident, the company he or she drives for may be held liable for damages.
After noting that, it’s crucial that you get the right information from the other party. Along with their name, you should retrieve their contact information so that you can easily reach them if you choose to seek compensation. Here is everything you’ll want to get:
Driver’s name, address, phone number, and email address
Driver’s insurance company and policy information
The trucker’s driver’s license number
Name and contact information for the truck driver’s employer
3. Document evidence
Evidence can be more than taking a photo of the incident. While we recommend this, we encourage you to check for witnesses too. It can be as simple as asking for their contact information in case they need to testify in your case.
After collecting this information, capture photos and video footage of the damage done to your vehicle, nearby intersections and roads, and your injuries, if applicable. With all the commotion happening, it may be difficult to remember details of the event in hindsight. That is why you should write down or take an audio recording of what happened as accurately and honestly as you can. You want to tell a story with this evidence and show what happened, as well as the gravity of the situation.
If you sustained mild to severe injuries, you’ll want to keep a record of doctor visits, photos, and the recovery process. This is vital in order to determine the right amount of compensation.
4. Seek medical attention
After the accident, you must seek medical treatment, whether or not you are visibly injured. Oftentimes, adrenaline disguises damage or pain, which can keep you from obtaining the treatment you need.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes were the second leading cause (20%) of traumatic brain injury-related hospitalizations. Mild TBIs, such as a concussion, can involve fatigue, dizziness, and decreased alertness, which are symptoms many people attempt to treat with over-the-counter medication. Rather than misdiagnosing or mistreating yourself, visit your doctor as soon as possible and let a medical professional determine if you need care.
5. Be mindful of your statements
Following the accident, you will be contacted by an insurance adjuster, but be very careful about what you say. While the representative may seem like they are on your side, anything you say can be used against you. It’s in your best interest to speak with an attorney about your legal rights prior to speaking with the insurance adjuster. While you are required to cooperate with the insurance company, you have the right to decline their request for a written or recorded statement. Once your attorney has all the details of the accident, he or she can advise you on what you should or should not say.
6. Contact a skilled personal injury attorney
If you have suffered an injury due to the negligence of a truck driver, you should contact a personal injury attorney who has your best interests in mind. We have seen large companies pour in large sums of money to protect their drivers, which can be near impossible to fight on your own.
Our attorneys at Kershaw Talley Barlow are ready to help you and improve your chances of securing the level of compensation you deserve. With our team on your side, you will receive high-quality service with over 100 years of combined experience and attorneys who have recovered over $1 billion in compensation for accident victims.
Contact our Sacramento truck accident attorneys at (916) 520-6639 for a free evaluation today.