What Steps Should You Take After a Truck Collision?
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is a serious matter, especially when it involves a large truck or tractor-trailer. Defining a large truck as a truck which weighs more than 10,000 pounds, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 4,761 people died in crashes with large trucks in 2017, an increase of nearly nine percent from the previous year. More than 80 percent of those fatalities were not occupants of the truck. In collisions between tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles, the consequences are often most dangerous for the occupants of smaller vehicles.
Whether you are driving a car, riding a motorcycle or bike, or simply walking the streets as a pedestrian, it is important to know what steps to take should you ever become injured in a crash with a truck.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision with a tractor trailer, our attorneys can explain your legal rights and outline the steps you must take to preserve those rights and bring a claim. Fill out our FREE case review form to contact our NYC truck accident lawyers or call us directly at 212-736-5300.
Next Steps After You’ve Been Hit by a Truck
Below is a general guide for steps to take after a crash with a truck, 18-wheeler or tanker. While the first priority should be seeking medical care, injured accident victims should speak to an attorney as soon as possible after the accident so that they can be advised on how to avoid saying anything potentially incriminating.
Protect your health and safety: After any vehicle accident, particularly one involving a large truck, your top priority should be ensuring your safety and getting immediate medical attention for any injuries. Some of the steps below require leaving your vehicle and maneuvering around the accident scene. Only do this if it is safe and you feel physically well enough to do so. If you suspect you are injured, refrain from moving around and wait for medical assistance to arrive.
Stay at the scene: For the safety of everyone involved, it is important that you remain at the accident scene until authorities arrive. Remember that it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident involving serious injury or death. Try to leave your vehicle where it came to a stop after the crash but move it if necessary, for safety.
Call 911: Report the accident by calling 911 as soon as possible following the crash so that all injured parties can receive proper medical attention. When the police arrive, answer the officer’s questions truthfully but avoid apologizing or making any omission of fault. Contacting the police is particularly important after an accident with a commercial truck because the police investigation and report can become critical evidence should you need to bring a lawsuit.
Keep your comments minimal: While you should be truthful after an accident, you should never apologize for what happened, admit that the crash was your fault, or agree that your injuries are minor at the suggestion of an insurance company or any other party. Comments like these could be taken as an admission of fault and limit the amount of compensation you can recover for your injuries.
Gather evidence, if it’s safe: Gathering some basic evidence at the scene can be helpful, as long as you do not need immediate medical attention and it is safe to get out of your vehicle. If you can do so safely, try to note:
- Names and contact information of any witnesses
- Photos of the accident scene and any damage to your vehicle
- Notes about weather, road, and traffic conditions
- Information from the other people involved in the accident, including insurance carrier and policy number, license plates, and trucking company information
Remember, no piece of evidence is more important than your safety. If you believe you are injured or do not feel secure leaving your vehicle, stay where you are and wait for medical attention.
Visit your doctor: Even if you are unsure whether you’ve been injured, it’s best to seek medical attention immediately. It may be possible that you are still dazed from the accident and may not be able to recognize your own injuries. Seeking medical attention is not only best for your health, but it also starts a paper trail of your injuries should you need to seek compensation down the road. Waiting to seek medical attention may hinder your claim, so it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible. Once you have received medical attention, it is important to follow your doctor’s orders to make the fullest possible recovery.
Call your insurance company: Your insurance policy includes instructions on how to report a claim, including the office or individual to which the accident should be reported. You should also examine your policy to determine the extent of your coverage.
You are legally required to cooperate with your insurance company’s investigation and claims process after an accident. However, you are not required to speak with any other party or their insurance company, and it is generally in your best interest not to. Giving statements to another party’s insurer could compromise your chances of recovering compensation. It is always wise to communicate with other parties through your attorney to avoid potentially costly mistakes. Your lawyer may also communicate with your insurance company on your behalf, which allows you to focus on your recovery.
It is important to remember that the truck driver, trucking company, other parties, and their insurers likely have experience and resources to protect themselves after a crash. They may be trying to minimize their liability and avoid taking financial responsibility for any injuries. Following the above steps can help put you in a stronger position to pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other damages.
Contact an Attorney with Experience in Truck Accident Cases
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, one of the most important steps is to seek legal assistance in a timely manner. To seek compensation for damages resulting from the crash, an attorney must begin a timely investigation to ensure vital evidence is not lost.
Evidence that can help strengthen your claim can include:
- Truck maintenance records
- Witness statements
- The truck driver’s accident history
- The trucking company’s policies and procedures
- The speed the truck was traveling at the time of the crash
When you meet with your attorney, it is helpful to bring any evidence or documentation about the case that you have. This may include medical records, the names and contact information of any witnesses, your insurance policy information, and photos of the accident scene or vehicle.
A History of Success for Truck Accident Survivors
At the New York law office of Block O’Toole & Murphy, we work with expert witnesses, such as accident investigators and safety directors, who can help prove that the trucking company or truck driver was negligent in causing your accident.
Notable results that we have won for clients injured in truck crashes include:
- $14,000,000 verdict after a motorcyclist was struck by a truck attempting to make a left turn
- $6,000,000 settlement for a bus passenger after the bus he was in collided with a flatbed truck
- $5,500,000 settlement for the driver of a pickup truck who was sideswiped by a tractor trailer
- $5,000,000 settlement in a wrongful death case in which a mother was tragically killed when a garbage truck ran off the road and struck her on the sidewalk
- $3,000,000 settlement for a 78-year-old woman who was hit by a New York City sanitation truck driving illegally in the bike lane
Find Out How We Can Help After a Truck Accident. Call Today for a Free Case Review.
No attorney can guarantee a favorable outcome, but we can promise to thoroughly investigate your case and present the strongest possible argument for fair compensation. Receive a no-cost, no-obligation case review from our experienced team of New York truck accident attorneys by calling 212-736-5300, or filling out our contact form today. We serve clients in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and throughout New York State.