Vehicular accidents can be terrifying experiences. When you’re involved in an accident that also involves a truck — whether it’s a mid-sized delivery truck or a large 18-wheeler — the scale of the damage can be even greater.
As one of the Costa Mesa area’s leading truck accident attorney’s offices, we’ve helped a large range of motorists successfully make insurance claims after being involved in driving accidents with trucks and other commercial vehicles.
As such, we can help you make the right decisions after you’ve been in an accident, particularly if the accident wasn’t your fault.
Below, we’ve put together a simple checklist for you to follow in the event that you’re involved in an accident with a truck or other commercial vehicle. From taking photos to making sure you get the driver’s employer, all of these steps can strengthen your case as an accident victim.
Respond to injuries and medical emergencies
Truck accidents often involve injuries, including significant injuries that may need urgent medical attention. Before you take any steps to protect yourself legally after an accident, assess whether or not any of the people involved in the accident are injured.
If people have been injured in the accident, call 911 and provide all of the necessary information to help emergency services make their way to the accident site. If your car is in the way of traffic and still operational, you can move it out of the way of the road if doing so is safe.
In a crash situation, it’s often possible for adrenaline to prevent you from properly assessing the extent of your injuries. Even if you feel like an injury is “just a scratch” or another minor issue, it’s still important that you contact emergency services.
Inform the police about the accident
After you’ve checked that all of the individuals involved in the accident are okay, you should call the police. This is important as having a complete, factual and accurate police report of the truck accident is a key part of the insurance claim process.
After the police arrive at the scene, they will prepare an accident report. Make sure you ask the police for a copy of the accident report, as it’s an important document for the insurance claim or legal action process.
Identify the truck, driver and employer
Although some commercial vehicles are owned by their operator, most trucks are the property of a specific company. This means you’ll need to identify both the driver and their employer, even if the driver — rather than the company — is at fault for the accident.
If possible, use your smartphone to take a photograph of the truck’s license plate, as well as any visible branding on the vehicle. You should also ask the driver for information on the tractor (this is the front section of the truck or cab) and the type of trailer (or trailers) attached to the cab.
Of course, you should also carry out the typical post-accident process of asking for the driver’s name and contact information. You can also ask any witnesses to the accident for their names and contact information.
Finally, you should ask for information about the type of cargo onboard the truck. In many cases, these items are insured separately or subject to different insurance conditions, making it helpful to have information on all of the separate vehicle components involved in the accident.
Photograph the scene and surrounding area
In a truck accident claim, the more evidence you have, the stronger your chance of success. To strengthen your insurance claim, use your smartphone to photograph the accident scene, both (or all) of the vehicles involved in the accident and any other objects that are damaged.
If the truck skidded before colliding with your vehicle, take photos of both the skid marks and the tires of the truck and its trailer. Photograph all relevant road signs at the accident scene, as well as factors that could have contributed to the crash, such as barriers or embankment.
Finally, use your smartphone to take photographs of damage to your vehicle. If you’re injured (but not in need of urgent medical care), you can also use your smartphone to record the state of your injuries at the time of the accident.
Contact an experienced truck accident attorney
Truck accidents are a relatively common occurrence. Because of this, many trucking companies have representatives hired for the sole purpose of responding rapidly to accidents and reducing the cost of such accidents for the trucking company.
Often, these representatives will offer you a settlement that’s only a small fraction of the amount to which you’re entitled under the law.
As the victim of a trucking accident, you should not talk to these people. Instead, you should get in touch with an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
A truck accident attorney will be able to accurately assess the amount of compensation to which you’re entitled as a result of the accident. They will fight on your behalf to ensure you receive a complete level of compensation for vehicular damage and both mental and physical injuries.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, we’re here to help. As a specialist Costa Mesa truck accident attorney’s office, we can help you receive the full compensation to which you’re entitled as the victim of a truck or commercial vehicle accident.
For more information, please schedule a free case evaluation using our online case evaluation form or contact us by phone at 1-800-560-2139.