What to Do After You Have Been Hit By a Truck
Truck accidents can be devastating. A passenger vehicle weighs less than 5,000 pounds while a loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 18,000 pounds. It is obvious which vehicle will sustain the most damage in a collision with a truck and which occupants are more likely to sustain serious bodily injuries. If you are injured in a truck accident, you need to contact a trucking lawyer who can handle these often-complex cases.
Causes of Trucking Accidents
Truck drivers and motor carriers are commercial carriers, meaning they are subject to a wide range of federal and state regulations. They also have a higher duty to use reasonable care when driving their vehicles, including conducting pre-trip inspections of their cargo and equipment. Drivers are under strict rules for the number of hours driving per day and week and must undergo periodic drug testing. Detailed logs or approved on-board electronic monitors must be maintained that indicate miles driven, stops made, nature of the cargo, destination, and other data that can often be used to establish liability.
Regardless of certain prophylactic measures, trucks do get into accidents. The more common causes include:
- Illegally changing lanes
- Driver fatigue
- Unsecured cargo
- Shredding of tires
- Excessive speed
- Distracted driving
- Impairment from drugs or alcohol
- Misjudgment in stopping distance
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Failure to check blind spots
- Road rage
A truck changing lanes can be a daunting sight if you see an 18-wheeler suddenly merging into your lane at 65 miles per hour, or faster. The slightest contact can send your car veering wildly out of control. If the truck driver tries to take sudden evasive action once he or she realizes the situation, it can cause a truck rollover or loss of cargo spilling onto the road surface.
If you have been injured in an accident by a truck changing lanes without signals or from any other of the above causes, contact an 18-wheeler attorney.
What to do if Hit by a Truck
In the aftermath of an accident, there can be general confusion and shock. You have just been through a harrowing and frightening experience. It is important that you remain calm. While your first priority is your health, well-being, and that of your passengers, you should consider what you can do to preserve a possible injury claim:
- Call 911 or have someone else call. Do not move or try to move anyone else if you or they are seriously hurt unless there is a fire danger or other immediate emergency
- Do not discuss the accident with anyone at the scene other than police.
- If you are able, obtain the truck driver’s license, insurance and vehicle information including VIN, license plate and make, model and year of the truck.
- If possible, take cell phone photographs, unless you have a regular camera, of the truck, all involved vehicles, markings on the truck, and of the accident scene.
- Obtain names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Take pictures of the vehicles, the position of the vehicles, the road, the lighting, the debris, and the people at the scene. Take more pictures. They will be invaluable.
- Do not refuse medical treatment at the scene. Your and the trucking company’s insurer will interpret this as meaning you were either not injured or were not seriously injured.
- Never give a recorded statement to anyone, even your own insurance company without prior advice of counsel. You need to talk with a trucking or truck changing lanes attorney.
- Do not try to handle your injury claim alone even if you think liability is clear. Insurance companies will claim you were comparatively negligent in some way and even a seemingly innocuous statement from you could seriously jeopardize your case. In addition, medical and insurance issues required the services of a competent attorney in these matters.
- Retain the services of Neil Burns, a Massachusetts truck accident lawyer.
A truck accident demands the experience and knowledge of an attorney who has successfully handled truck accident injury claims. A thorough knowledge of trucking regulations and the dynamics of a truck accident is essential if you want the maximum compensation for your injury claim.