The Truck Accident Victim's Guide: Protecting Yourself After a Collision With a Tractor-Trailer

The immediate aftermath of a tractor-trailer collision can be extremely scary and difficult to process in the moment. Those involved in an accident with a large truck can suffer severe injuries or even death. They may subsequently be forced to deal with doctor visits, hospitals, and insurance companies, which come with large, unexpected costs.

The attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy are here to help. Here is our guide on how to protect yourself or your loved ones after an accident involving a truck occurs.

  • Stay at the scene of the accident.

    If necessary, move your vehicle to a safe area. However, if possible, it is best to keep your vehicle where it is to better maintain evidence. Do your best to make sure that all other drivers involved in the accident remain at the scene as well to provide their statements for the accident report as well as their contact information. Kindly ask any possible witnesses to stay as a witness testimony can be crucial in a future legal case.

  • Speak with the other driver(s).

    Exchange contact information with the driver of the truck and any other vehicles that may have been involved. Try to obtain the following information:

    • Name
    • Phone number
    • Driver's license number
    • Vehicle license plate number
    • License number of the truck's cabin
    • Name, address, and contact information of the cabin's owner, if not owned by the driver
    • Driver's insurance information
    • Company that owns or hired the truck
    • Cargo being held in the truck

    During these conversations, do not admit any fault for the crash. Furthermore, do not respond to any correspondence from the insurance company representing the truck driver or trucking company without consulting a lawyer. Even if you feel you may be responsible in some way, it is best to wait and speak with an attorney before commenting on the accident.

  • Call 9-1-1 to file a police report and receive medical attention, if necessary.

    A police report can be invaluable if you plan to pursue an insurance or legal claim. Reporting an accident can preserve the details, protect your rights, and help authorities make roads safer in the future. Do not let anyone talk you out of reporting the accident. If a seasoned truck driver suggests "leaving the police out of this," in order to avoid generating a report, understand that doing so will only compromise your interests moving forward.

    If you know you were seriously injured in the accident, call an ambulance to the scene to receive immediate treatment. Otherwise, contact your primary physician for an examination as soon as possible. Whether or not you think you have been injured in the accident, it is in your best interest to receive a medical examination. In many cases, an accident with a tractor-trailer can lead to severe injuries, all of which may not be immediately obvious. Explain all of your symptoms to a medical professional, no matter how mild. Serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, may take time to show symptoms. It is best to have any injuries documented and treated as soon as possible.

  • Take photos of the scene.

    Photos and video are incredibly useful forms of evidence in insurance and legal pursuits. If you are able, take photos of the points of impact on your vehicle and on the truck. Be sure to capture any damage done to the surrounding area, skid marks on the road, the conditions of the road, and any other details you can think of. Keep these photos in a safe place and create multiple copies.

  • Contact your insurance company.

    Notify your own insurance company when an accident occurs and of any damage and injuries that occurred. Be aware of time limits, notification requirements, what is covered by your policy and what is not covered by your policy. Seek professional advice from a truck accident lawyer to make sure you are filing the appropriate forms in a timely fashion. For instance, in New York, there is a requirement that you file a 'No-Fault' application within 30 days of a motor vehicle accident. Also, learn how you can protect yourself and your loved ones before an accident happens with uninsured and underinsured insurance policies.

  • If you or another passenger were seriously injured in the accident, you may need to consult an experienced attorney to review your legal options.

    Do not be afraid of the legal system. It is your right to pursue a lawsuit if you are the victim of a tractor-trailer accident. Under New York law, you are entitled to recover compensation for injuries you sustain. This essentially means that you can sue the other driver in court to recover for the medical expenses, pain and suffering, time lost from work, and other legally recognized losses that you endured as a result of the accident. In many cases, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney.

We at Block O'Toole & Murphy have experience and expertise in tractor-trailer accidents and work hard to ensure that victims recover to the fullest extent possible under the law. Our track record includes a litany of cases where we successfully recovered in excess of a million dollars for clients that were truck accident victims. For example, Block O'Toole & Murphy obtained a jury verdict of $5.5 million for a man whose vehicle was sideswiped by a tractor trailer on the Long Island Expressway. Our firm recovered a $3.925 million settlement for another client who was injured in a tractor-trailer collision. We obtained a $1.64 million settlement for another client who was a passenger in a taxi that was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer.

Block O'Toole & Murphy works not only to maximize our clients' recovery under the law but to bring comfort, support and relief after life-altering accidents. If you or someone you know was injured in a tractor-trailer accident, call our attorneys at 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form for a free legal consultation.