The New York Times states, “More people will be killed in traffic accidents involving large trucks this year than have died in all of the domestic commercial airline crashes over the past 45 years, if past trends hold true.” The trucking industry needs to improve safety measures and reduce the amount of hours drivers are allowed to work a shift without rest. Sleep deprivation is a huge problem with truck drivers and a major cause for crashes. Fatalities rose 17% over the past four years amounting to 3,964 deaths in 2013.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, tanker truck or other commercial vehicle, the following information may help navigate the aftermath of the accident.
Don’t Say Anything You Don’t Have to Say
After an accident, the police or highway patrol will most likely conduct an investigation and ask about how the accident happened and if you are injured. Answer the responding officer’s questions accurately and truthfully, but keep your statements limited to just how the accident occurred and your injuries. Do not say anything that could be construed as admitting fault, including apologizing or offering to take care of things.
If the Police Didn’t Respond to the Scene, Report the Accident
Before you leave the scene of the accident, call 911 and report the accident. In some states, it is illegal to leave the scene without reporting the accident. In others, if there are no injuries you can simply exchange insurance and contact information with the other drivers. To be on the safe side, make sure you report the accident before you leave the scene.
Get Medical Attention
If possible, it is always best to get medical attention immediately after a truck accident. Even if you don’t initially feel injured, once the adrenaline wears off, you may find yourself feeling achy and uncomfortable. It is also important to be sure that you haven’t suffered any serious injuries. Getting medical attention can help rule out serious problems early on, or help you address serious injuries before they get worse.
Notify your Insurance Company
Even if you didn’t cause or contribute to the accident, you need to call your insurance company and let them know you’ve been involved in an accident as soon as reasonably possible. This will allow your insurance company to conduct their investigation and coordinate easily with the insurance company for the driver of the truck.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
After a truck accident, it is important to get legal assistance quickly. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you with the entire legal process, and will work with you to make sure that:
- No evidence is lost – An experienced attorney can visit the scene of the accident, take pictures of property damage and skid marks, and can contact witnesses to get their statements.
- You get the medical care you need – Finding the best doctor to treat your injuries can be difficult. Your attorney can help you pick the best doctor for your care if you are unsure.
- Your vehicle gets repaired quickly – When you are focused on healing, your attorney can work with the insurance companies to make sure your vehicle gets repaired quickly, or you are compensated for the vehicle if it is irreparable after the truck accident.