The time after an accident with another vehicle can be chaotic, not to mention stressful. Being involved in a wreck can affect your life in a split second. Consider medical bills, missing work, your damaged car – not to mention the physical injuries you may suffer. The chances of serious injury can increase with the presence of an 18-wheeler truck or big rig. The average sedan weighs between 3,500-4,000 pounds. The average 18-wheeler, on the other hand, weighs 80,000 pounds. In a car vs. 18-wheeler crash, the smaller car normally bears the brunt of the impact.
If you have been involved in a car accident with a commercial truck, here are some steps you can take:
Call the Police
In most states, it’s the law to call the police after an accident involving injury to persons or property. When you call the police, their officers should investigate the crash and issue a police report to document important information such as the parties involved, witnesses, insurance, property damage, tag numbers, VIN numbers, and the like. Even if you only exchanged information with the other driver at the scene, you should consider reporting the accident to the police so that they will issue a police report.
Seek Medical Treatment if You Are Hurting
Injuries in an 18-wheeler crash can range in severity. Best case scenario is walking away unscathed, but most are not that lucky. You may suffer whiplash or forms of soreness, tightness, or stiffness. Severe crashes can lead to broken bones, disabling conditions, or even death. If you feel pain after a truck accident, you should have a licensed medical professional assess your condition. Seeking prompt treatment can help you recover as quickly as possible. Depending on what the doctor sees, you may need to be referred to a specialist, such as an orthopedic doctor for disc injuries or neurologist for headaches or head injuries. Without medical records documenting your symptoms and condition, it can become difficult to prove they are causally related to the wreck.
Contact an Experienced Trucking Accident Lawyer
Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies are bound by different rules and regulations than ordinary citizens. Commercial carriers and their employees must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s rules. An experienced truck accident attorney can take the following steps on your behalf in an effort to protect your legal rights:
- Obtain all police and crash reports
- Identify all insurance policies that can apply to your case
- Consult with expert witnesses
- Retain accident reconstruction experts
- Document the accident scene
- Speak with witnesses
- Preserve relevant forms of evidence, including video footage
- Prevent the spoliation of evidence
- Inspect the 18-wheeler and download “black box” data
- Pursue all damages to which you may be entitled by law, such as medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life
Big trucking companies have the capability to start investigating a wreck right after it happens. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner your legal team can begin conducting an investigation on your behalf.
As an experienced personal injury lawyer will tell you, preserving relevant evidence is critical in a case. Nowadays, with smartphones, documenting damages is easier than ever. If you notice evidence of physical injuries, such as bruising or scarring, take pictures so your harms are documented. You can also take photos of the scene and any physical evidence that remains, such as skid and tire marks. Pay close attention to cameras, either at traffic lights or nearby businesses. If someone witnessed the accident, get their name and number so that they can be contacted later on to provide a statement of what happened. Also, be on the lookout for any company logos on the truck or commercial vehicle, as there could be multiple parties who bear responsibility for your damages.
Let Our Experienced Legal Team Help You
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all that goes into handling a trucking accident case. Every case is different, and to learn more about your rights you should call a dedicated and trusted attorney. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz specializes in fighting for those injured through no fault of their own, and if you believe you are entitled to compensation due to another driver’s wrongdoing, contact us today. For a free consultation with one of our truck accident attorneys today, call us toll-free at 800-529-4004 or fill out our online form.