8 Steps to Take After an Accident with a Semi-truck
Being hit by a semi-truck is very serious and can be life-altering. Truck accidents are very different from regular car accidents and often result in more serious and catastrophic injuries.
If you are fortunate enough to “walk away” from a semi-truck accident with minor injuries, you need to make sure you know what to do immediately after the accident. If you are seriously injured, the only thing you need to worry about is seeking medical attention.
If you or a loved one are involved in a semi-truck accident, it is imperative to follow these eight steps as they can impact your rights and legal options following a crash:
1. Call 911
As soon as you know you are safe, call 911.
No accident is too small to disregard calling 911. Police officers will be dispatched to the accident site where they will write up a police report. A police report is the best way to have immediate and accurate documentation of the accident and involved vehicles and parties.
This documentation is crucial for any legal claims as well as medical compensation. Do not let the truck driver talk you out of calling the police.
2. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Your health should be the number one priority following a semi-truck accident. Even if you don’t think you are hurt, a medical professional will be able to look you over and evaluate you for initial injuries.
It’s common for symptoms and injuries to take hours or days to surface. And it may be harder to prove that the injuries were related to the accident if you do require medical attention later. Even if you are examined at the scene by emergency medics, make sure to seek out a full medical evaluation at a hospital or your doctor’s office.
In Florida, you have 14-days under your personal injury protection (PIP) plan to seek treatment.
3. Document Everything
After the car accident, document everything. If possible, taking pictures and videos of the accident and scene will provide visual documentation of the scene moments after the accident. Do not try to get out of your vehicle or walk around if it is unsafe or you are too badly injured.
Also take note, either through video/pictures or through writing, of the details of the semi-truck accident. This can include road or weather conditions or any other factors that may have affected driving capabilities.
Lastly, take pictures of your injuries. Make sure to share these with your attorney. A picture can say a thousand words and may help when it comes to getting a fair settlement for your legal case.
4. Get Contact Information
As you are documenting the scene, make sure to gather contact information for the involved parties and any witnesses that are on the scene.
It is the police’s job to get bystander/witness statements, but depending on the seriousness of the accident, it may take them a while to get to the witnesses before they leave. A well-meaning bystander may leave as soon as they see the situation is under control. By having their contact information on hand, your lawyer at Mickey Keenan, P.A. can contact them afterward.
Basic information to gather about the involved parties includes:
- The other driver’s name, address, telephone number, and email address
- The other driver’s insurance company and policy number
- The other driver’s license number
- The name and contact information for the other driver’s employer and trucking company
- The license plate of the semi-truck and any other identifying information
5. Get Your Car Appraised
It is important to take your vehicle to a body shop after the accident to get it looked over and appraised. Even in accidents with a semi-truck, it may appear that your car has only suffered minor damage, but sometimes the damage is internal and not visible. A body shop will be able to write up a repair assessment.
Do not have any work performed on your car until you have spoken to your insurance company. Each insurance company has different requirements for what must be submitted for them to pay for the damages.
6. Watch How You Talk
Words matter. Watch what you say and how you talk after an accident. It is important to keep a cool head after an accident, even if you are upset or angered, because you may say something wrong that can hurt your case later.
Never admit fault or liability to anyone. You can speak to the police, as they are going to try their best to reconstruct the accident, but you do not need to do anything more than state the facts. Anything you say about the accident can be used against you and your claim later.
After a semi-truck accident, refrain from giving any recorded statements or signing any documents, whether this is to an insurance company or the other driver until you have spoken to your injury lawyer.
7. Stay Away From Social Media
Do not share any information about the accident on social media. Insurance adjusters and attorneys routinely search social media. Their goal? To see if they can find any proof of inconsistencies that they can use to discredit your claim, even if you are not at fault.
Anything that you post online can also appear later in depositions or court. If you post something that indicates your physical or emotional condition or how you think the accident happened, this information can be turned against you and may lessen the amount of compensation.
Sharing on social media: “I was hit by a semi-truck accident today,
but don’t worry, I’m fine!” may discredit your claim, especially
if injuries surface later.
8. Speak with an Injury Lawyer
Every accident is different. It is important to understand your legal options after a semi-truck accident and to get a semi-truck accident lawyer, like Mickey Keenan, P.A., involved as soon as possible.
Semi-truck accidents can be more complex because there are often more parties involved, such as the semi-truck driver’s employer, the driver, the trucking dispatch company, and/or the shipper or manufacturer.
Seek Help for Semi-truck Accidents
Being in a car accident with a semi-truck is scary and could have long-lasting impacts on your physical and emotional health. If you or a loved one have been involved in a semi-truck accident, do not delay and call Mickey Keenan, P.A. at (813) 871-1300 for a free consultation.
Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers will guide you through the process of filing a legal claim and working with all parties involved so you can get the compensation you deserve. You can trust us to work diligently to make you whole again.