First Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
While passenger vehicle safety has improved dramatically over the decades, truck accidents are still some of the deadliest crashes to occur on the road. In 2020, over 4,000 deaths occurred due to large truck accidents. Trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger cars, often causing severe injuries or death.
Knowing what to do if you’ve been injured in a truck accident can help protect your compensation rights. Learn the steps you should take after a truck accident and how an attorney from Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help you navigate your case.
You may be unsure of what actions to take in the aftermath of a truck accident. The steps are similar to what you would do in the aftermath of a typical passenger vehicle collision, including getting help for your injuries, reporting the accident, and contacting an attorney.
- Assess Your Injuries
Occupants of a passenger car are far more likely to be seriously injured in a truck accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 68% of truck accident fatalities in 2020 were passenger vehicle occupants.
Once it’s safe to do so after the crash, assess whether you or anyone else in your car has been injured. If you are able, call 911 and seek medical attention. Even if you don’t feel hurt or see an injury, seek medical attention. Internal injuries don’t always show symptoms immediately, so it’s vital to get checked out by a hospital.
Medical attention will also provide a record of the injuries you can use to file a claim for compensation against the truck driver or their employer.
- Report the Accident to Police
Under Wisconsin law, any vehicle accident that results in serious injury, death, or $1,000 or more in property damage must be immediately reported to the police. Immediately after the incident, call 911, state that you were involved in a collision with a truck, and tell the operator your location. The police will arrive on the scene to file an accident report.
Most insurance companies will require a copy of the accident report when you file your claim. You can work with your attorney to get a copy of the crash report from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
- Get Witness Testimony
Depending on where the collision occurred, there may have been other people walking or driving nearby who saw the events of the crash. If it is safe to do so, ask them if they are willing to provide a witness statement to your lawyer later on. Get their name and contact information if they say yes.
Ask if they caught any relevant information in a photo or video, such as the crash itself or the truck driver swerving just before it happened. Ask them to save it or forward it to you or your attorney.
- Take Pictures of the Damage
If you sustained serious injuries in the crash, take pictures of your injuries. Many injuries will heal over time, and photographic evidence of your injuries when they occurred can help you rebuke any claims by the trucking company’s insurance provider that you are exaggerating them.
- Contact the Insurance Companies
Soon after the accident, you’ll need to report the accident to your own insurance company. Most companies require you to report any accidents or risk losing coverage immediately, so contact your insurer and report the accident as soon as possible.
Wisconsin is an at-fault state, which means you can file a compensation claim with the negligent party’s insurance. You will want to contact the truck driver or trucking company’s insurance company to file a claim.
However, before filing this claim, speak with a truck accident attorney from Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers for the best outcome. Our attorneys will review the facts of the accident, help you understand how much to ask for, who to file the claim with, and help you gather evidence to support your claim.
- Keep Track of Medical Expenses
Many survivors of truck accidents sustain serious injuries that require treatment for many weeks or months. Coordinate with your medical provider to obtain copies of your medical records, bills, and treatment expenses. You can use these records to recover compensation from insurance.
Some people are left permanently disabled following a truck accident. If you have to spend money to adapt your home or vehicle for your disability or buy medical equipment such as a wheelchair, document these expenses as well.
- Consult with a Truck Accident Attorney
You have the right to file a lawsuit against the trucking company to recover compensation for your injuries. However, trucking companies have far more money to retain lawyers and prevent you from earning the financial restitution you’re owed.
Many truck accident victims benefit from the help of Wisconsin truck accident lawyers who can fight back against these companies’ attorneys. The attorneys at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can use effective negotiating tactics to get you the highest settlement possible to help you pay for your injuries.
While there is no guaranteed way to avoid involvement in a truck accident, you can practice defensive driving to stay as safe as possible. The best tips for staying safe around semi-trucks are to:
- Keep a safe distance from semi-trucks. They require longer stopping distances and have larger blind spots than cars, so give them plenty of room.
- Be aware of a truck’s blind spots. A truck’s blind spots are located on either side of the cab, directly in front of the cab, and directly behind the trailer. Avoid lingering in these areas; signal when you plan to pass or change lanes.
- Avoid cutting in front of a semi. Trucks have a much longer wheelbase than cars, so they need more time and space to make turns. Cutting in front of a truck can put you in danger, as the truck driver may not have enough time to react.
- Use your signals when passing a large truck. Signaling ahead of time lets the truck driver know your intentions and helps you avoid any confusion that could lead to a collision.
- Be patient when driving behind a semi-truck. Trucks are slower than cars. Be patient, and do not tailgate or make sudden lane changes.
Truck accidents can have devastating consequences for drivers on the road. If you or a loved one was involved in a truck accident, the attorneys at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can examine the facts of your case and help you file a claim against the trucking company that’s liable for your injuries.
Our legal team’s knowledge of Wisconsin law and experience representing truck accident victims will help you get fair compensation for your injuries.