7 Things to Do After a Tractor-Trailer Accident
There are hundreds of thousands of tractor-trailer accidents each year across the country in the United States. Due to the enormous size and power of these commercial trucks, many of these accidents lead to major property damage, injuries, and even, fatalities. With approximately 2 million tractor-trailers on the road, it’s critical to know how to respond and which actions to take should you find yourself in an accident.
1. Put Your Safety First
Immediately following the accident, you may be tempted to jump into action and check on others. Take a moment to breathe and check on your own well-being first. Leave your vehicle as is and turn it off is possible. Put on your emergency lights and move away from the scene quickly yet carefully. If you are on the highway, stand or sit a good distance away from the shoulder.
Now is a good time to set out flares if you have them. Remember that the safety of your surrounding area could change at any moment so be prepared to leave if necessary.
2. Contact 911 and/or the Police
Depending on the severity of the accident, you may need to call 911. If you believe anyone at the scene is injured or see a fire, call 911 right away.
To file an accident report, contact the local police. This step is required if there is property damage above a certain monetary threshold, which varies from state to state. In most cases, it is in your best interest to contact the police and get a documented report of the accident.
3. Assess the Wellbeing of Others
Check on the safety of any passengers, drivers, and pedestrians. If you have an emergency kit in your vehicle, take out necessary supplies such as drinking water, flashlights, or blankets. Unless absolutely necessary, do not move any injured individuals. In this scenario, the best thing to do is to wait for medical professionals to arrive. You can keep them calm by speaking with them, assuring them that help is on the way, and staying by their side as they wait.
4. Photograph the Scene of the Accident Before Moving Vehicles
If you have a smartphone or camera on hand, take photos of the property damage and scene once everyone is safe. This step should generally be taken before moving the vehicles if possible. Your insurance company will likely request these images to determine the extent of the damage. Include before images of your vehicle as well.
5. Photograph the Other Driver’s Identification and Tags
It’s critical to have the contact and insurance information of any driver involved. Never exchange names and numbers and leave it at that. Accident reports often take weeks to become available. This step is especially important in accidents involving tractor trailers as the property damage is likely to be much more severe.
Take photos of identification with the other driver’s full name, address, and phone number. You’ll also need his or her driver’s license number, license plate number, make and model of vehicle, insurance carrier’s name and number as well as the policy number for the vehicle involved. If the other driver was operating the tractor trailer, get the name, address, and number of his or her employer.
6. Talk to Witnesses and Get Their Contact Information
Witnesses to the accident may have seen more than you yourself can remember from the accident. Talk to them about what they saw and make a note of the conversation on your smartphone’s notepad or through the voice memo feature. Take photographs of their identification and car tags. This is a good time to log your own memory of the accident and any statements made by the other driver.
7. Get Medical Care and Keep Track of Expenses
It is always wise to have yourself checked out by a medical professional post-accident. If you require any medication or medical care, keep a record of your visits, symptoms and costs. This information will be important if you seek any compensation for medical injuries sustained as a result of the accident.
If you’ve been involved in a tractor trailer accident, reach out to David Peel at the Peel Law Firm to discuss your case and the best way to proceed.
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