Traffic accidents are never good news, but those involving semi-trucks are particularly scary. That’s because the death rate doubles when trucks are involved, compared to just cars, according to American Trucking Associations.
With almost 3 million semis on the road, according to Popular Mechanics, you or a loved one may well be involved in an accident with one.
While most car vs. truck accidents lay blame on the car driver, according to the ATA, fault can be difficult to determine. Michael Clawson says that semi-trucks have caused major accidents that end in serious injury and death, which is why skilled attorneys are needed to help determine fault.
When you’re in a crash, it’s normal to be disoriented. Here are some steps to know beforehand, in case the unthinkable occurs.
Move to safety
Before trying to move, take stock of your injuries to determine if you’ve sustained neck or back injuries and whether moving could make anything worse.
If you can move and your vehicle can still run, drive it out of the way of traffic. If your vehicle can’t run, leave it and safely move off the road. If you can’t get off the road, stand with the car between you and traffic. Watch for signs that any vehicles involved in the crash are smoking or leaking gas or oil.
Call 911 to report the accident if emergency vehicles haven’t yet arrived. Do not leave the scene until you’ve been cleared by a law enforcement officer.
As with any crash, you need to ask for information from the other driver:
· First and last names
· Driver’s license number
· License plate number
· Insurance company name
· Insurance policy number
· Trucking company information
Because many truck drivers are independent contractors, the company they drive for may not be liable for the crash, but get information about the company, just in case.
Although law enforcement may take pictures, shoot your own photos and videos, so you have easy access to them and can take as many as you need from different angles.
Then, they’ll be available if your insurance company or lawyer needs information during the investigation. Michael Clawson says that if any witnesses are around, ask if they would be willing to share their names and phone numbers in case you need their testimony.
Get medical help
Even if you don’t have an obvious injury, visit a doctor to assess for injuries like whiplash, concussion, torn ligaments, or cracked ribs.
Don’t discount the mental trauma, either, as “motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder in the general population,” according to Verywell Mind.
Talk with a loved one about your experience and seek help if you experience symptoms of PTSD.
Cover your bills
Medical and car repair costs add up quickly after an accident. If the truck driver is at fault or fault is shared, you may be able to sue for compensation to help pay your bills.
When a semi-truck is at fault, the most common causes are brake problems, being unfamiliar with the road, following too closely, overcompensation, aggressive driving, tire problems, a medical emergency, and falling asleep at the wheel, according to the ATA.
An experienced attorney can investigate those causes and anything else to do with the accident, prove liability in court, and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
The skilled attorneys at Clawson & Clawson, a U.S. News and World Report Best Law Firm of 2020 with more than 100 years of combined experience, are the experts when it comes to accidents involving large trucks and semis. For a free review of your case, call 719-602-5888.