On the modern road, trucks are an ever present part of the driving scenery, whether one is driving one or tailing behind one. However, another inescapable fact of modern driving is that accidents happen all the time and even the best drivers will inevitably find themselves in several over the course of their lifetimes. Truck accidents can be even more jarring and intense than typical accidents as the power a truck uses to haul heavy loads can go even more wrong than that of a car. With that in mind, here are the steps to take if you are in a truck crash.
Swap Insurance Information
If you’ve just been in a truck accident, it is of the utmost importance that you at bare minimum get the other driver’s insurance information, as well as giving the other driver your insurance information. Given as most every driver on the road will have some kind of insurance that is usually kept inside the car itself, this will generally be a painless process of taking notes. If you have a smart phone with a good enough camera, you can even photograph the other driver’s insurance card. Otherwise, you’ll want to keep a small notebook and pencil in your glove compartment to take notes of the other driver’s information. This insurance information will be needed when filing claims to get your vehicle repaired, particularly when talking with your insurance company.
If you do not have your insurance information in the vehicle with you at the time of the incident, you may be issued a minor traffic citation, but many police officers are more likely to simply ask you to bring proof of insurance for the vehicle to the station within 24 hours. When you are on the phone with your insurance agency, you will likely need to refer to the photograph or notes you took from the other driver’s insurance information. At bare minimum, everything that appears on the proof of insurance card should be noted in some way. You’ll also want to take other notes as well. The name of the other driver will likely be useful information, oftentimes included on the insurance card. License plate numbers may also be handy information, as can recording the location of collision itself.
Take Notes and Photos
Use your smartphone to take as many photos of the crash scene as you can. Get close-up pictures of the damage to each vehicle, as well as wider-angle shots of the accident scene from various angles. Instead of writing notes, you may find it easier to record the details of the accident on your phone as a voice message. Try to be as detailed as possible and run through the entire event sequentially starting from the events leading up to the accident.
Even for a minor fender bender, the police will take interest, particularly if a truck or a car is stopping up the flow of traffic. While this is not strictly necessary, it can do a lot of good for making the process of the insurance claim less painful for everybody involved as the intent of calling 911 and getting a police officer to file a report is to provide a neutral third party’s assessment of the incident that can be referred to in insurance claims and possibly court cases. As with all dealings with police officers, it is a good idea to be calm and polite, even if you are rattled from the accident. Most police officers see hundreds of similar accidents a year and will likely not be bothered by the average motorist who has just left a minor fender bender, even if that motorist is rattled or ill at ease when they arrive.
The job of a police officer on the scene of most accidents is less to investigate a crime and more to file a report with the appropriate authorities. While police officers may be on edge and suspect a crime in some cases, most of the time, all the officer is going to want to do is listen to the truck’s driver and anyone else involved in the collision, and assuming nobody loses their temper when talking to the officer, the officer does little more than file a third party police report with the appropriate agencies. If both motorists are calm and polite, this process can take around half an hour and allow everybody to go about their business immediately afterwards.
Get Checked Out By A Professional
Given the power most trucks can bring to bear in an auto collision, it is unsurprising that they often cause a greater number of injuries as well. However, one thing about automotive accident injuries is that they are not always immediately visible. Sometimes bones and muscles can be so rattled from a serious collision that while they may work fine at first, straining them even a bit can cause serious injuries through daily living. With this in mind, it can be important to get checked out by a medical professional to ensure that you have not sustained any subtle, hard to notice injuries.
That said, there absolutely are automotive collisions where nobody is any more hurt than perhaps a great deal of stress. One basic rule of thumb is to compare how you felt physically before the collision with how you felt afterwards. If it was a low speed parking lot collision, you will likely feel much the same as you did before the accident, mostly just rattled from the incident. If, however, you feel any sort of stiff, soreness or weakness after a truck crash, it will likely be a very good idea to get checked out by a medical professional to ensure that all your bones and joints are in good working order. Many physicians can do this work with a single visit to their office. If the situation warrants it, a physician may ask for x-rays and similar medical scans of your body to make sure it’s still intact.
Be Polite to the Other Driver
After a truck crash, tensions tend to be quite high, but it is always a good idea to be calm and polite to the other driver. While this can be difficult, most drivers on the road are actually level headed enough to simply talk to you and do their part in the process of sorting out the matters of insurance claims. Barring situations such as intoxicated driving or serious injuries, it is very rare that another driver will be anything but focused and polite with you, and everybody should return that particular favor.
If you Need a Lawyer
A good personal injury lawyer can make all the difference in recovering the full amount form insurance companies to pay for your medical bills, lost wages and damages for pain and suffering.