In the wake of a truck accident, you may be confused or disoriented. You may not have seen the vehicle that caused you to crash before it impacted your vehicle, after all. Even if you did, you may not be able to tell what happened next as your truck was pushed into harm’s way. It can be difficult to know what to do in this situation, but there are a few key steps that all truck accident victims should consider taking.
This guide will take you through those steps, starting with the moments after the crash and continuing on through the process of filing an insurance claim or litigation against the other driver. This guide will also provide you with a few key pointers about what not to do in the wake of a truck accident, such as inadvertently admit any kind of liability or guilt to the other driver.
If you’ve never been in a truck accident before, this guide can help you plan for this worse case scenario and come out of it with a positive outlook toward the future. However, if you have recently experienced a truck accident, this guide can still help you. In fact, this guide can help you ensure that all the proper steps have been taken to ensure that your health, safety, and well-being will be protected going forward.
What should I do after a Truck Accident ?
You may not find it easy to recover from a truck accident alone, though. That’s no surprise, given the immense emotional and financial burdens placed upon accident victims. As such, it is only right for you to consider seeking compensation for your injuries and suffering without delay. To do that, contact a qualified truck accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky today. Their team of seasoned litigators can support you and provide you with options that meet your post-accident goals for recovery.
Determine the Extent of Injuries
First and foremost, after you’ve been involved in a truck accident, you need to take a moment to evaluate your situation. To do this, start by checking your own physical condition. This should include your arms, legs, and head, all of which are susceptible to injury while in the driver’s seat. Make note of any injuries mentally and determine if you’ll be able to evacuate the vehicle safely without assistance. If not, call emergency services immediately.
After you have checked yourself for injuries, perform the same checks for your passengers (if you have any). If your passengers are conscious, ask if they have been injured and take note of any serious injuries exhibited. Ensure that each passenger will be able to exit the vehicle safely on their own power. If they cannot, determine if you will be able to safely help them or if you will need the help of emergency responders when they arrive.
If you or any of your passengers have suffered a serious injury, begin to triad as best as possible. Try to reasonably stabilize each individual such that their injuries do not get worse. If you suspect any passengers have a neck or back injury, do not move them until emergency responders arrive. Similarly, any severe bleeding should be slowed as much as possible using any materials available within the vehicle (ideally using the contents of an emergency first aid kit).
Get to Safety and Contact Emergency Services
Once you are certain that all members of the vehicle are stable, you should take action to get yourself and your passengers to safety. If you have not already done so, drive your vehicle to a safe location nearby. This may not be possible if the vehicle’s key components were damaged in the crash. If this is the case, do not exit your vehicle until it is fully safe to do so. Accordingly, only exit the vehicle on a busy road or highway when there is a gap in traffic.
Once you are out of your vehicle, take a moment to immediately call 911 (if you have not already done so). While on the call, inform the operator about the crash and where it occurred, if you know. Also, if you or any of your passengers are injured, try to describe their injuries to the operator. This will help them send the appropriate emergency services.
After you have called for emergency services, you may choose to check on the other driver. Depending on the nature of your truck accident, they may have already followed similar steps and called 911 of their own accord. However, they may have also been more seriously injured. If it is safe to do so, try to speak with the other driver and tell them that you have called for help.
Exchange Information – Carefully
Once the police and first responders arrive, you’ll be able to get a better control of the situation. The police, in particular, can help by diverting traffic around the crash site, if necessary. Meanwhile, the first responders can tend to your immediate injuries, as well as those of your passengers and the other driver.
If at all possible, use this time to exchange information with the other driver. Specifically, you should obtain names and contact information for the other driver as well as their passengers. Also, you should write down the make, model, and license plate number for of all vehicles involved in the accident. A best practice is to also obtain the name of the insurance company, as well as the policy number, for the other driver.
While you exchange this information, the responding police officer may begin to fill out their crash report. As such, they may ask you for testimony regarding how the accident occurred. Be honest with the officer, but also be careful to not admit direct guilt or liability at this time. You’ll likely want a copy of this police report later on when filing an insurance claim. As such, you should write down the responding officer’s badge number and contact information as well.
At this time, you may be asked to sign documents relating to the crash. If the document is provided by the police, you can and should read it before signing it. However, if the other driver asks you to sign any kind of document or waiver, you should not do so until you have spoken with your own legal representative. Similarly, you should not give any statements to the other driver’s insurance representative at this time.
Document the Accident Scene
While the police’s report will serve as primary documentation of the crash scene, you should also take it upon yourself to document the scene to the best of your ability. This includes taking photos of the scene from several angles and saving them for future reference. You can do this with your cell phone or with any type of camera provided to you by your car insurance provider.
Also, if there are any witnesses to the accident, then you should take down their names and contact information. If those witnesses are willing, try to obtain a statement from them regarding the events of the crash. You have already used your cell phone to take photos, you can use it to take audio recordings of these statements. This will make it easier for you and a personal injury lawyer to review their contents later on.
Notify your Insurance Provider
After you have taken care of business at the crash site and have obtained medical attention, you should contact your insurance provider immediately. Inform them about the details of the crash so that a claim can be filed on your behalf. Be aware, though, that some types of insurance claims may prevent you from seeking compensation from another at-fault driver in the crash. To check into this, be sure to ask your insurance representative what your policy allows for on this front.
Also, you should be aware that some insurance companies place a statute of limitations on claims for truck crashes. As such, you should not delay filing a claim any longer than necessary. If you are able to do so, you may even begin filing your claim before leaving the crash site. This can help ensure that you get your insurance payouts sooner than later.
Taking the Next Step and Hire a Lawyer
Recovering physically and financially after a truck crash can be challenging. As these steps above show, there’s a lot to take care of in the immediate aftermath. But beyond this, you may face even more challenges if the other driver denies liability or your insurance company wrongfully denies your claim. When that occurs, you might need legal assistance to obtain the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve found yourself with this need and live in the Philadelphia, PA area, then you simply need to call the Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky. As one of the regions premier personal injury firms, you can count on them to provide you with a truck crash attorney who can service your case without hesitation. They can also help you navigate the insurance and liability claims process so that you don’t miss out on a chance to regain financial stability in your life.