Consumer Notice reports that more 5,000 people are killed in accidents involving large trucks each year. Tens of thousands more are seriously injured. Even though large trucks, like semis that carry food and other vital goods, are only 4% of the 268 million vehicles on the road, they are responsible for one in 10 highway-related fatalities. The main cause? Driver errors, such as speeding, driving carelessly or while distracted, driver fatigue, and failure to yield the right of way are the most common culprits.
Every 16 minutes every day in the U.S., someone is injured or killed in an accident involving a large truck. Florida ranks third for the most traffic fatalities in the nation. Here’s what you can do immediately following a truck accident, which can help ensure you’ll receive the justice you seek for any injuries or damage incurred:
- Call 9-1-1 immediately. Even if you’re on the highway, emergency responders will route your call to the local authorities. Tell them how many people and vehicles are involved so they’ll know how many ambulances might be needed. Even if the accident seems minor, get a police report anyway.
- Get medical attention. You might not think you’re hurt, but after the adrenaline wears off you might start to show symptoms of injury. If you wait, it might be hard to connect your injury to the accident. If you’ve been examined by an EMT at the scene, it’s still important to request a full medical evaluation at a nearby hospital or from your doctor.
- Document the scene and take pictures. Just about everybody has smartphones at the ready to snap pictures, take video, record audio, and take notes. Be sure to gather the driver’s name, address, phone number, and email address. Take a photo of the driver’s insurance company and policy number on their insurance card. Likewise, take a photo of their driver’s license—front and back. Finally, snap a photo of the license plate and any other identifying information.
- Get contact info from witnesses. Typically, good Samaritans will stop at an accident scene to see if they can help. Chances are good they saw part or all of it unfold. Be sure to gather their names, contact information, and any details they offered.
- Get your vehicle appraised. Just like the human body, your car might have damage that is not visible to the untrained eye. What you don’t want to do is rush out and have your vehicle repaired right away. Any repairs need to be part of the insurance claim.
- What you don’t say after an accident is important. Keep a cool head and guard your tongue. It’s easy to be angry at the trucker that caused the accident, or conversely, even if you know you’re at fault, keep it to yourself. Police will ask you and witnesses for statements to help them reconstruct the accident, but you never need to admit fault at this stage.
- Avoid posting details on social media. While people post everything from what they had for lunch, to cute cat memes, it’s important to keep accident details and your thoughts about the accident off of social media. Saying things like ‘I’m a little bruised, but I’ll be fine’ on your Facebook page could come back to bite you in court.
- Call a personal injury attorney that specializes in truck accidents. Get him involved in your case as soon as possible to get the settlement amount you need to cover medical expenses and lost wages incurred both now and in the future.