Knowing what to do after a truck accident can be instrumental in protecting your health, money, and right to compensation. Immediately after a truck accident, you should start by moving your vehicle away from the traffic flow or vehicle fires. Check yourself and any vehicle occupants for visible injuries. Next, contact the police and exchange information with the other driver. Then, obtain contact information and statements from witnesses and document the accident. Also, get immediate medical care and notify your insurer of the accident. Finally, get a lawyer who is knowledgeable in handling truck accident cases involved as soon as possible.
Truck accidents can be disastrous when they happen. Significant damages, severe injuries, and even fatalities are common outcomes of truck accidents due to the massive size and weight of these vehicles.
What to Do Immediately After a Truck Accident
Getting into a truck accident can leave you confused and flustered. You may be unsure of the immediate steps to take. You may also be too injured to take any after-crash steps right away. In that case, you should focus on getting the much-needed emergency medical care.
If you can safely move after the truck accident, you should take specific after-crash actions to safeguard your rights and increase your odds of receiving compensation.
Move to a Safe Spot
Pull over to a safer spot out of the traffic flow if you can. Doing this avoids additional accidents, injuries, and damages.
Check for Injuries
Check yourself for any obvious signs of injuries. Monitor the condition of passengers in your vehicle as well. Assess the condition of the occupants in the other vehicles if you can do so safely. Call 911 and request emergency medical services if you or anyone involved in the crash is injured.
Contact the Police
If you have already requested emergency medical care, the emergency medical responders will arrive along with the police. If you have not done so, call 911 right away. The responding police officer(s) will ask questions regarding the accident. Be sure to give honest answers.
Do not speculate if you are unsure about certain details of the crash. Instead, say you do not know. The goal here is to comply with the law by reporting the accident, but avoid providing any self-incriminating information.
Ensure you follow up with the responding police officer later to obtain a copy of the police report. This report offers crucial information that can help your case. It is also one of the documents you need to initiate a claim with the insurance company.
Exchange Information With All the Parties Involved in the Accident
Under Nevada law, drivers involved in a motor vehicle crash in the state must exchange basic contact details and insurance information. The same law applies to a truck accident. Ask for the truck driver’s phone number, physical address, insurance details, and commercial license information.
Remember to take notes about the details of the trucking company, as it could be potentially liable for your injuries. For example, does the driver have an employee badge? If so, use your smartphone to take a clear picture of it.
Write Down Witnesses’ Contact Information and Take Statements
A witness is any person who saw or observed the accident. It could be a bystander, pedestrian, anyone in one of the involved vehicles, or someone in a nearby car that was not part of the accident.
Talk to any witnesses at the accident scene. Get their contact information and write down their statement. Witnesses could provide valuable information that could help show that the other party was at fault for the accident.
Document the Accident
Compile as much evidence as possible at the accident scene with your smartphone or camera. These devices allow you to capture images and videos stamped with accurate date and time information. Take photos or videos of the location, skid marks, damage to your vehicle, and other relevant details. Your accident attorney can review these images or videos to understand the accident and figure out how it occurred.
Take detailed pictures of the truck, its truck bed, wheels, and tires. A review of these pictures could provide proof of poor maintenance or incorrect cargo loading. Take photos of any visible injuries if you got injured in the crash.
Inform Your Insurance Provider of the Accident
Report the crash to your insurer on time, even if you believe you are the victim of the other party’s negligence. Do not divulge unnecessary information, no matter how friendly the insurance representative sounds.
The insurance representative will always prioritize his or her company’s best interests. The representative’s goal is to ensure you agree to as little compensation as possible. For these reasons, provide only the information available in the preliminary report.
Involve an Accident Attorney
Involving a truck accident attorney skilled in handling Nevada truck accident cases can increase your odds of recovering reasonable financial compensation. The attorney can help you navigate the insurance and legal process if you did not take all the after-crash steps discussed above. Perhaps you were too injured to take any action. Or maybe you are the injured party’s family member and were not physically present at the accident scene.
Multiple parties could be liable for your injuries in a truck accident. Potentially liable parties could include the truck driver, the trucking company, truck manufacturer, shipper, or government entities. Your accident attorney will review all information and evidence related to your accident to identify all potentially liable parties.
If your case involves multiple liable parties, you will have to pursue compensation from each concurrently. An accident attorney competent in multi-defendant cases can handle communications and negotiations with several insurance companies. The attorney will focus all efforts and resources toward maximizing your compensation.
An accident attorney can also take your case to court when negotiations fail to result in an acceptable settlement. Your attorney can investigate your case, collect the required evidence, identify expert witnesses, and develop a legal strategy to get you a favorable personal injury verdict.
Should You Seek Medical Attention Even if You Are Not Injured?
Seek immediate medical help after an accident, even if you think you are not injured. You might seem uninjured immediately after the crash. Once the adrenaline and stress caused by the truck crash wear off, you might start to feel pain and detect your injuries. You might also ignore an otherwise severe injury if you have a much higher pain tolerance. For these reasons, you should see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident to ensure you have not sustained any hidden injuries.
Whiplash, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries are some examples of serious injuries that are likely to go undetected until later after the crash. These injuries can overwhelm the injured party physically, emotionally, and financially.
Whiplash injury happens when your head suddenly and forcefully moves back and forth. Whiplash injury symptoms may take weeks or even several months to appear. These symptoms include neck stiffness, neck pain, shoulder pain, and other adverse symptoms.
A concussion, also called a mild traumatic brain injury, happens after a jolt to your head. It can also occur during a whiplash-type injury that violently shakes your head and brain. Concussion symptoms are slow to manifest as well. These symptoms include persistent headache, dizziness, light sensitivity, memory problems, and irregular sleeping patterns. A truck accident victim may also suffer post-traumatic stress disorder.
Undergoing a comprehensive medical examination can help diagnose these types of injuries that are often unnoticeable at first. Including these injuries in your claim will be easier if they worsen over time, as long as you obtain immediate medical treatment after the accident.
Finding the right doctor is also essential after a truck accident. A doctor who regularly treats accident-related injuries can accurately diagnose all your injuries, including the invisible ones. The doctor can also document your injuries properly.
What to Avoid After a Truck Accident
Making certain mistakes after a truck accident can compromise your rights and ability to obtain compensation, even if someone else was liable for the crash. Here are some after-crash mistakes to avoid.
Saying You Are Sorry at the Accident Scene
Do not apologize at the crash scene, even if you are trying to empathize with other involved parties. Saying that you are sorry may seem like you are admitting that you’re at fault for the accident. Never say sorry, even if you think you were liable for the accident.
Speculating About What Caused the Accident
Report the truck crash to the police without divulging any information that paints you as a potentially liable party. Just describe how the accident happened to the best of your knowledge. Avoid making guesses regarding details of the accident that you don’t know. Similarly, make your accident account short and straightforward when filing a claim with your insurer.
Insurance adjusters may contact you a few weeks after the accident requesting additional information about the accident. In this scenario, refer them to your accident attorney and provide them with his or her contact information.
Posting Information About Your Injury or Case on Social Media
Don’t make any social media posts regarding the extent of your injury, your case’s progress, and how you intend to spend your settlement money. The other party’s insurer and defense attorneys might monitor your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts for any information about your injury or case.
Accepting the First Settlement Offer Without Reviewing It With Your Lawyer
Without getting an attorney involved, you won’t know what settlement amount is reasonable. Likewise, you may not know how to determine the economic and non-economic damages available in your case.
Once you accept and sign the settlement offer letter, you sign away your right to file an injury lawsuit regarding that accident. The first settlement offer rarely covers all your damages or losses. Have your attorney review it before you make any decisions.
Missing the Filing Deadline for Truck Accident Claims
In most cases, you lose your right to demand compensation for truck-accident-related injuries if you miss your state’s statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for truck accidents in Nevada is two years. The two-year filing deadline usually starts on the date you got injured, noticed your injury, or should have reasonably noticed your injury.