What Steps Should You Take Immediately Following a Truck Accident?

You Were Involved in a Truck Accident. Now What?

Any type of accident can cause severe physical and emotional trauma, but truck accidents are known for being the most dangerous of them all. If you or someone you care about has been injured in a truck accident, the staff and attorneys at Ventura Law understand you may be reaching out in one of the most challenging times in your life. There is so much to think about when something like this happens. To keep things simple, the most critical steps to take after a truck accident are:

  1. Seek medical care. 
  2. Document the crash. 
  3. Contact an attorney.

Seek Medical Care

There is a wide range of possible injuries that victims of a truck accident can sustain. Some of these include traumatic brain injuries, concussions, neck or spinal cord injuries, nerve damage resulting in complete or partial paralysis, fractures or broken bones, internal bleeding, and organ trauma, as well as ripped tissue and ligaments. It is vital to seek medical care immediately to ensure your health and safety. 

Not all injuries are visible at first glance. Spinal cord and nerve injuries can be particularly insidious as the injury itself may cause the individual not to feel pain. In all cases, even if you can walk and hold a conversation after the accident, ensure you receive an examination by a qualified medical professional to avoid the risk of worsening less obvious injuries.

Document the Crash

First aid always comes first. If you need emergency medical attention, a lawyer can assist you in recovering evidence after the fact. If you or another person in your vehicle is well enough to do so, attempt to collect as much information at the scene as possible. Items you should seek to gather include:

  • The truck driver’s name, driver’s license number and contact information
  • The name of the truck driver’s insurance company and his or her policy number 
  • The truck’s license plate number, and the company the driver is working for
  • Take videos and photos of the scene, including any vehicle damage, injuries, road signs, and environmental factors
  • Obtain the names and contact information of any potential witnesses
  • Ensure a report is made by law enforcement so the accident is officially recorded

Contact an Experienced Connecticut Truck Accident Lawyer

Following a truck accident, a complex legal process to seek full compensation can be undertaken by your personal injury attorney. Insurance companies may quickly offer you a settlement to close the case. By signing such an agreement, you are likely preventing yourself from achieving the compensation you may be entitled to. You may also be shutting the door to any possibility of seeking future recourse should your injuries prove to be more severe or have serious complications. 

A seasoned truck accident attorney knows how to get the most out of the process for you. For example, at Ventura Law, we understand the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles requires commercial vehicles weighing more than 5 tons (or 10,000 lbs, the size of a small semi-truck) to carry insurance that exceeds standard driver insurance by 15 times or more. Specifically:

  • Standard Connecticut auto insurance must cover $25,000 to $50,000 for bodily injuries sustained through a motor vehicle crash. 
  • Connecticut commercial freight vehicles of 10,001 pounds (5 tons) or more must carry $750,000 in accident insurance. 
  • Freight vehicles of the same weight category that transport hazardous materials must carry insurance of $1,000,000 or $5,000,000 (depending on the type of material carried).
  • Passenger vehicles carrying more than eight people must have $1,500,000 in insurance. 
  • Buses with a seating capacity of 16 or more must carry insurance of $5,000,000.

What Not To Do After a Truck Accident

Almost as important as what to do after a truck accident is what you should not do. Specific actions could potentially harm your legal rights and should be avoided. Things you should NOT do after a truck accident include:

  1. Admit fault: Avoid publicly making any statements that could be construed as an admission of guilt. This includes while you are at the scene of the crash. Even saying something as simple as “I’m sorry” can be used against you later. 
  2. Leave the scene: Unless you require immediate medical care, always stay at the scene of an accident until law enforcement arrives and instructs you on what to do. Leaving the accident scene can lead to serious legal consequences. 
  3. Provide statements: Avoid providing written or recorded statements to insurance adjusters or signing any prepared documents before consulting with a lawyer. A lawyer can tell you whether such a statement is in your best interests.
  4. Post on social media: Refrain from posting information about your case, injuries, or recovery online or in public forums. Insurance agencies and defense attorneys will be looking for ways to dispute your claims and can use your posts to undermine your credibility.
  5. Fail to inform your insurance company: Do not wait weeks or months to notify your insurance company that you were involved in a crash. Doing so could lead to complications with your claim.

Why Are Truck Accident Cases More Complex?

In a “standard” car accident where one car collides with another, a limited number of parties are involved. The two drivers and their insurance companies will have to come to a settlement or address their claims in court. Depending on how a truck accident is caused, additional parties may be held liable, not all of which were at the accident scene. Parties that may be sued for damages in a truck accident include:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • The truck maintenance provider
  • The truck cargo loader
  • The truck manufacturer
  • Any other entity that contributed to the truck’s eventual breakdown, malfunction, or collision

Statistics also show that truck crashes are the most deadly, and not for the truck driver. In a recent year, 5,788 people were killed in large-truck accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Seventy-two percent of those fatalities were the occupants of other vehicles. 

Take Your Next Step With Confidence

After a truck accident, we at Ventura Law believe you deserve the maximum compensation to ensure you have the necessary resources. It would be best to have a legal professional to guide you through your next steps. We are here to fight for your rights and your quality of life after such a traumatic experience. Call the Ventura Law office today for a personal consultation, completely free of charge, at (866) 354-2488.