Every time we slip behind the wheel, we embark on a journey filled with unpredictable twists and turns. While we all hope for smooth travels, the reality is that accidents can happen when we least expect them. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates 9,330 people died in crashes in the first three months of 2023.
When metal meets metal and glass shatters in a split second, chaos and confusion may reign supreme. That’s why knowing what steps to take immediately after a truck crash isn’t just practical; it’s essential.
A truck crash is an unexpected disruption that demands immediate action. When the dust settles, and the adrenaline subsides, it’s time to engage with the appropriate authorities. Here’s how to ensure that the wheels of response are set in motion:
Call Emergency Services
The urgency of the situation calls for a direct line to the authorities. Dial the emergency number 911 and communicate the accident details succinctly and clearly. Mention the location, the number of vehicles involved, and any apparent injuries. Keep your voice steady and focused, as your information can expedite the response from law enforcement and medical professionals.
Report the Incident
When law enforcement arrives at the scene, provide them with accurate and comprehensive information. If there were witnesses, point them out to the officers, allowing them to gather statements that could prove crucial later.
State the number of vehicles involved in the crash. According to TorHoerman Law, truck accidents usually involve multiple liable parties, making them different from most car accidents. An example of such an accident happened in St. Louis in April 2023. A collision involving two police cars and a truck accident led to the injury of three officers.
Seeking Medical Attention
Tending to your physical well-being takes precedence after a truck crash. Even if injuries aren’t immediately apparent, the adrenaline coursing through your veins can mask discomfort or pain.
The shock of a collision can temporarily mask injuries, making it imperative to remain vigilant for delayed symptoms. Even minor incidents can lead to internal injuries, whiplash, or concussions. Pay attention to signs such as persistent headaches, dizziness, numbness, or pain that emerges hours or even days after the crash.
Mental health problems are also common after an accident, especially if it’s the first time you are involved in it. Many drivers report symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after accidents. A study from the NCBI website states that the PTSD prevalence rate is between 6-45% in road traffic accident victims.
If you or your passengers experience discomfort or suspect an injury, seek medical evaluation promptly.
In the aftermath of a truck crash, understanding your legal rights and responsibilities is essential for navigating potential legal proceedings. This knowledge will also help protect you from undue liability that may arise from the situation. Here’s how to approach the complex realm of legal considerations:
Consulting an Attorney
Depending on the accident’s severity, seeking legal advice may be prudent. An experienced attorney can provide valuable guidance, especially in injuries, disputed liability, or complex circumstances.
Find an attorney specializing in truck accidents and from the local region where the accident occurred. This can be beneficial, as each state may have different laws and regulations. Let’s consider the same St. Louis, Missouri example as above.
According to the local state laws, any accident in Missouri that causes damage of more than $500, injury, or death must be reported. Additionally, you get five years to file a lawsuit against the party at fault. Due to such different state laws, it is best to hire a local lawyer. In this case, you should hire a St. Louis truck accident attorney. This will ensure that the lawyer knows the local rules and regulations.
Gather evidence at the scene that could support your case if feasible and safe. You can take photographs to collect evidence but never upload anything to social media, as it can be used against you. Secure contact information for witnesses and document their statements, as their testimony could be invaluable if legal proceedings arise.
Keep a comprehensive record of all interactions, communications, and documentation related to the accident. This includes police reports, medical records, correspondence with insurance companies, and any conversations with legal representatives. Organized documentation can be crucial in building a strong case.
Notifying Your Insurance Company
Amidst the aftermath of a truck crash, one of the most pivotal steps is promptly notifying your insurance company. Timely communication can set the wheels in motion for a smoother claims process and help you navigate the complex insurance world.
When reporting the accident, provide clear and accurate information. Describe the events leading up to the crash, the parties involved, and the extent of the damage or injuries. Your insurer will use this information to initiate the claims process.
This can vary based on the state laws. For instance, you must send a written notice about your claim within 30 days after the day of the accident in New York. Hence, you should connect with your insurance company as quickly as possible.
Familiarize yourself with the coverage outlined in your insurance policy. Different types of coverage, such as liability, collision, and comprehensive, may apply in various scenarios. Understanding your coverage can help you anticipate what expenses may be covered and guide your interactions with the insurance company.
The coverage you get will depend on your motor insurance premiums. According to Statista, the cost of motor insurance was approximately $142 for a 20-year-old man in 2022. The younger the truck owner, the costlier the truck insurance.
Remember that each step you take can shape the course of your recovery. This article has illuminated the crucial actions that guide you from chaos to clarity, from confusion to control.
In those moments of impact, when metal meets metal and the world seems to spin, you demonstrate resilience. You prioritize safety, assess injuries, and engage with authorities. Your quick thinking set the stage for a well-orchestrated response that minimized harm and set the wheels of recovery in motion.