If you were in a motor vehicle accident involving a truck, here are some simple guidelines to protect yourself — and your legal rights:
A truck accident can be a very upsetting experience. But it is important not to panic. Instead, keep a clear head, focus first on acting to protect yourself and help other accident victims.
Do not discuss the accident with anyone other than the police.
Do not blame anyone, including yourself.
Never argue with the other driver — even if you are sure that person caused the accident.
Get Help After a Truck Accident
Do not leave the site of the accident. Call 9-1-1 from the accident scene, to tell police about the collision. If anyone was injured, ask the 9-1-1 operator to send emergency medical personnel to the accident site immediately.
Set flares, if you carry them, to warn other drivers to slow down and avoid the people and vehicles involved in the accident.
Get All the Facts After Truck Accident
Write down the name, address, phone number, drivers license number and state, license plate number, registration, and insurance information, including the insurance policy number.
If the driver of the other vehicle was not the owner, write down the name, address, insurance company, and insurance policy number of the owner of that vehicle.
Ask the police about all injured parties, including passengers. If possible, take down their names, addresses, dates of birth, sex, and extent of injuries.
Look around for anyone who might have seen the truck accident, including bystanders and occupants of other vehicles. Be sure to write down the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all these witnesses.
Check Out All the Damages Caused by the Truck Accident
Write down the make, body type, year, and license number of the truck and any other vehicles involved in the accident.
Also, note the damage to the truck and other vehicles.
Check Out the Truck Accident Scene
Draw a diagram of the truck accident site.
Mark down the street names, and the location of any stop lights, traffic control signs, or other landmarks.
Note the path of each vehicle just before the place where they collided.
Protect Your Health After a Truck Accident
After a truck accident, get medical attention. Sometimes, truck accident victims are too stunned right after a bad collision to know whether or not they were hurt. Therefore, it is wise to see your personal physician as soon as possible. Tell your doctor about the truck collision, so that he or she can check for internal injuries that may result from the trauma of a truck accident.
Report the Truck Accident
If police did not come to the truck accident scene, call the police to file a report, as soon as you are able to make a telephone call.
If the truck driver fled the crash scene, you still must report the truck accident to the police.
Get a copy of the police report about the truck accident whenever it is available.
File an Insurance Claim After a Truck Accident
Tell your insurance company about the truck accident immediately and get an insurance claim number. Ask the insurance representative to open a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) file, to preserve all of your legal rights under your policy.
Be sure to let your insurance company know if you were in a hit-and-run truck accident. Some insurance policies require notice of a claim involving an unidentified driver within 30 days of the truck accident.
Tell your own insurance company that you claim your right to any uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage, in case the truck that hit you was not covered by motor vehicle insurance. Insurance companies often require prompt notice of these truck accident claims and may deny these benefits to anyone who does not follow the strict requirements in their policies.
Get Help from an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, talk with an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Serious truck accident claims often involved complicated legal issues. The negligent truck driver, the company that owns the truck, and other persons involved in the truck accident may all have attorneys working to protect their interests and to stop you from getting the compensation you deserve, talk with an experienced truck accident lawyer.