Being involved in an accident is likely to prove traumatic and sometimes the consequences can be life-changing if the collision is serious enough.
When you have been in an accident there are bound to be lots of questions that you will want answers to, some of them urgently, and you will often have to think straight to deal with the immediate aftermath of something as potentially damaging as a truck accident.
Here is a look at some of the key questions that need to be asked as part of your plan of action to resolve the situation and maybe get the treatment and subsequent compensation you may be entitled to.
Are the police on their way?
A collision with a truck can be more complicated from a legal perspective than being in an accident with another car.
Some of the rules of engagement remain the same, regardless of the type of vehicles involved in the accident, such as making sure everyone receives urgent treatment for their injuries.
In particular, you need to ask witnesses and other parties whether the police have been called.
Truck drivers have to comply with very strict federal regulations regarding such things as the condition of their vehicle and how many hours they have been driving before having the collision.
The police will want to gather this information at the scene and you should remain there so that statements can be taken. This could also be crucial information if you later make a claim for damage to your car or personal injuries.
Ask about ownership details
As well as waiting for the police to gather information and collect statements at the scene it is also a good idea to ask some of your own questions so that you have all the details you need to pass on to your insurance company and lawyer.
Ask the truck driver whether they are the owner of the vehicle or if the truck is owned by a company.
It is important to remember that a trucking accident differs from a collision with another car driver because there could be several parties who are responsible or could be negligent if they have not complied with regulations.
If you can clearly establish the chain of ownership and relationship between the parties this will make it easier to make your claim after the accident.
Do they have the right operators’ licenses?
Another key question to ask involves their commercial trucking license.
It is perfectly understandable that you may not get all of this information at the roadside as you will be under stress and might have sustained injuries but if you are in a position to think clearly and are able to gather information this would be a useful question to get an answer to.
If you don’t ask it straight away you can always get your lawyer to obtain confirmation that their trucking license is in order.
Every truck driver is obligated to obtain a commercial license that permits them to drive a vehicle of this size and they may also require additional certification if they are carrying a certain type of cargo that demands due diligence during transportation.
Unfortunately, not every trucking company or driver observes their legal requirements and that is a good reason why you will want to know that they were not violating these regulations at the time of the accident.
Should I talk to witnesses?
Yes, you should try to talk to any witnesses at the scene of the accident if that is possible and safe to do so.
A critical point to keep in mind is that a good and reliable witness can often be the difference between getting the compensation you are entitled to or struggling to make someone pay so that you can put your life back on track.
It is much easier to gather witness contact details at the scene than attempting to locate them weeks or months after the event. It should also be pointed out that a significant delay from when the truck accident took place to gathering a statement can potentially weaken their credibility if and when it goes to court.
If you can identify witnesses and get their details at the scene that could be a big advantage when it comes to making a successful compensation claim.
Should I see a doctor?
Another key question is whether you should seek medical attention immediately after the accident even if you actually feel ok, other than being a bit shaken up by the incident.
You should definitely see a doctor regardless of whether you think you are fine and don’t have any significant injuries or not.
A major reason for taking this course of action is that you will need a record of your health condition immediately after the accident has occurred. It could also be helpful in identifying injuries that subsequently come to light where there were no symptoms shortly after the collision.
Should I call a lawyer?
The circumstances surrounding a trucking accident can be complicated for some of the reasons outlined already and when you are dealing with a company that will have their own lawyers to defend their position you will not want to be at a disadvantage.
Using a lawyer who has previous knowledge in relation to truck accidents should prove useful as they will know which questions to ask and how to ensure you don’t accept a settlement that does not reflect the true cost of the accident to you.
Also, you may well have injuries to contend with and will no doubt want to get back to a normal life routine as quickly as possible. If you use a lawyer to take care of your claim it should ensure that all the right questions are asked and your rights are properly protected.
Truck accidents can be the most dangerous kind of collision you could be involved in simply because of the size and weight of these vehicles, so it makes sense to have a plan of action to help you recover if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an incident.