Being involved in a truck crash is usually a terrifying and often a life-changing experience—this is true if your property was all that was damaged, and especially if you or a loved one was injured. Afterward, you may be overwhelmed, making it difficult to know what to do after a Bloomington truck accident.
However, the actions you take—and do not take—can affect your health, as well as your ability protect your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve for your losses. A well-versed attorney could help to discuss your legal options and help you determine what to do next.
Important Steps to Take After a Collision with a Truck
Knowing which steps to take after a collision with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer could be crucial for a person’s physical health and financial security. These steps range from stopping at the crash scene and calling the police, to seeking appropriate medical attention and property documenting evidence.
Always Stop at the Accident Scene
After a crash, it is important to stop and remain at the scene. Of course, a person’s physical health is paramount—meaning if they have to seek medical attention immediately, they should. A person should get and stay out of harm’s way, and then evaluate their own condition, the condition of any passengers and, if they can safely do so, the condition of those in other involved vehicles.
Call the Police
Usually it is best to call 911—the dispatcher can route a call to the right local law enforcement and emergency responders. This should be done even if the accident seems “minor,” because a police report is critical in documenting the accident. The police will maintain accurate records of all the involved vehicles and any citations issued. Of course, the police investigation is especially important if there was significant property damage or if anyone was hurt in the wreck.
Get Medical Attention
Obviously, getting medical attention is the first priority for anyone who is seriously injured. However, it is important to get a medical evaluation as soon as possible after any accident—even if a person dos not think they were hurt. This is because a driver or their passengers may have suffered injuries, even serious injuries, that do not have immediate symptoms. This is often the case with traumatic injuries, such as neck or back injuries, but is also the case with more serious internal injuries, such as internal organ injuries or internal bleeding.
As a result, getting checked out by a doctor is important, not only for a person’s health and wellbeing, but also for their legal protection. Seeking medical evaluation at an emergency room or urgent care center is the only way to be sure of the extent of injuries, and it is also the best way to document those injuries for any claim for damages a person may want to pursue. If a person refuses or does seek medical attention promptly, but then needs medical care later, it can be hard to show that that care was related to the accident.
Claims adjusters will use this against a crash victim to keep them from recovering for their injuries. It is also important to follow the medical advice they are given. If not, insurance companies will use this against them and suggest that they are in part liable for their medical problems.
Document Evidence at the Scene
If a person is physically able—and if it is safe to be out of their vehicle—it is very helpful to document the truck collision scene and get information about the parties to the accident. This includes:
- Contact information for the truck driver and any other drivers involved—name, address, phone number, e-mail
- Insurance information for all parties—company name and policy number
- Driver’ s license numbers for all involved drivers
- Name and contact information for the driver’ s employer and for the trucking company
- Truck license plate number and any other identifying information—such as the Department of Transportation number for the truck and trailer, which are usually printed on the vehicles
- Contact information for any witnesses—anyone who saw or observed the crash in any way. This can include passengers in the vehicles, bystanders, or persons in nearby uninvolved vehicles. If you do not get that the information at the time of the accident, you may not be able to. Witnesses often leave the scene once emergency responders have things under control. You do not need to get witness statements, but at least get their name and phone number so that your attorney can get statements from them later.
- Take pictures of the vehicles, the scene, traffic signals and signs, lane markers, road conditions, skid marks or a lack of skid marks, weather factors — like ice, snow, fog —anything you feel may have contributed to the crash. Also take pictures of any visible injuries and any obvious damage to your vehicle. These can be invaluable for your claim, and “a picture is worth thousand words”.
- Surveillance footage—look around for other cameras that may have captured the accident. Nearby businesses often have security cameras. Most people have cell phones, and some folks even have dash cams. Video footage can provide important details for determining fault. If you see folks with cameras, ask them to preserve the video and get contact information.
- Take notes as soon as you can—write down what happened, as many details as you can remember. These notes can be very useful when your case is being evaluated and a claim pursued.
Consult with an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck crashes are different from typical car accidents for a number of reasons. Usually, they are more complex, there are more applicable regulations, and more parties may be liable than just the truck driver. A lot of time, money, and effort will be spent by all these parties and their insurers to pay you nothing or as little as possible for your losses.
Because of this, it is important to understand what to do after a Bloomington truck accident. Our experience includes serving as general counsel for a trucking company and we have seen both sides. We can help you through this difficult and complicated legal and insurance process. Of course, if you were not able to follow all of the steps we have suggested, you should not worry—we can still help you deal with the consequences. To learn more, call us today to schedule a free case evaluation.
We’ll evaluate your case for free. We can make sure that evidence is being preserved and gathered, that all liable parties are identified, and that your losses are properly valued—so you get a fair compensation. We’ll explain your legal options and make sure you get justice. We will handle all negotiations and communications with the insurance companies. And we provide this legal advice and representation to you without cost unless we successfully recover on your behalf.
Preserve your and your loved ones’ rights and legal options. Contact us now for a free case evaluation.