5 Things to Do if you are in an Accident with a Commercial Vehicle
Being involved in an accident with a large semi-truck can be a frightening and unsettling experience. Whenever you collide with another vehicle, you experience an immediate change in state. Your heart starts racing, and your mind starts moving in a million different directions. You may be shaken up, confused, and unsure what to do next. When this happens, it is important to remain calm, take a deep breath, and collect your thoughts.
The actions you take immediately after an accident with a commercial vehicle are very important, because they may affect the health and safety of yourself and others at the scene, and your right to obtain compensation later on if you are injured. Here are five things you should do if you are in an accident with a big rig truck or any other type of commercial vehicle:
Call for Medical Help
If you are involved in any type of auto accident, the first thing you should do is make sure everyone who may have suffered injuries gets medical attention, including yourself. You may not feel hurt immediately after the accident, but oftentimes, it can take several hours or even a couple days before your symptoms start to show up.
The sooner you get medical help, the better off you will be; not only from the standpoint of getting prompt treatment for your injuries and doing everything possible to make sure they don’t get any worse, but also from a legal standpoint. If you wait too long to obtain medical treatment, the insurance company may claim that your injuries are not related to the accident.
Secure the Accident Scene
Immediately after the accident, turn your hazard lights on and secure your vehicle by moving it to a safe location and/or putting cones, flares or flashers around it. If you can, move your vehicle to the side of the road or wherever it needs to be to stay out of danger. Whatever the case, stay as close to the accident scene as possible.
Contact the Police
If there are injuries or fatalities, the police need to be called to the scene. Even if there are no apparent injuries, however, or you are waiting for an ambulance to arrive to get checked out, it is still best to call the police. The responding officer will assess the accident scene, interview witnesses, and write up a report stating what happened, who was at fault, and any and resulting property damage and injuries. This report will be one of the critical pieces of information used to substantiate a legal claim (if you decide to pursue one).
Document the Accident
In addition to the police report, it is important to have your own documentation about what happened. If you are physically able, take multiple photographs of the accident scene from as many angles as possible to help show how the collision occurred. If you are not able to do this, have one of the passengers in your vehicle take the photos (if you have any physically able passengers). You should also write your own detailed report as soon as you can after the accident, while everything is fresh in your mind. If you cannot do this at the accident scene, you may be able to use the voice recorder or video camera in your cell phone to make an audible report that you can transcribe later.
Obtain the Contact Information of Witnesses
Along the same lines as the last point, speak to any individuals who may have witnessed the event and obtain statements and contact information from them. They may not be able to give you a written statement, but they might agree to have you take a video of them with your cellphone. The testimony of witnesses is another key piece of evidence that will help prove your claim.
Injured in a Commercial Trucking Accident? Speak with an Experienced Mississippi Personal Injury Lawyer
After you have completed the previous steps, it is important to obtain strong legal counsel as soon as possible, so your legal rights can be preserved. Truck accident cases are typically far more complicated than regular auto accidents, because there are numerous laws and regulations that govern the trucking industry, and there are multiple parties that may be at fault for the accident. To ensure that all responsible parties are held fully accountable, a thorough investigation is required, and this often includes obtaining important records and documentation from reluctant and hostile parties such as trucking companies.
At the Gardner law firm, we have in-depth experience representing clients injured in truck accidents in Mississippi. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of this area of law, and we have a successful track record with even the most complex cases. For a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, call our office today at (228) 900-9618, or send us a message through our online contact form.