Published in Personal Injury by Chris Eskew on January 11, 2023.
There is no way to know how you will react after a truck accident. Adrenaline is pumping, tensions are probably high, and it is unlikely anyone is in a clear state of mind. However, knowing what to do after a truck crash is vital to ensuring you can make a case for maximum compensation.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
There are no official post-truck accident procedures. However, following our suggested guidelines can give you peace of mind that you did your due diligence, especially when it comes time to file an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Get Medical Help
If there are no injuries, ensure everyone gets off the road and stays away from traffic. However, even if you suffered no injuries or only minor injuries, you should be examined by a medical professional. After an accident, you’ll likely experience a surge of adrenaline which can mask pain and other symptoms of injuries. You don’t want to wake up the next morning wishing you went to a doctor sooner.
Don’t hesitate to go to the hospital if you have severe injuries. If someone else is seriously injured, don’t move them unless they’re in immediate danger where they are.
If the vehicle damage is minor and you can safely move the vehicles, move them off the road. Otherwise, turn on hazard lights and set up warning triangles or flares if you have them.
Call the Authorities
Under most circumstances, Indiana law requires you to notify the police about a vehicle accident. Additionally, nearly every insurance company requires a copy of a police report to pay out a claim, so it’s important to file one.
After speaking with the officer, if they don’t give you their card, write down the following information:
- The officer’s name,
- The officer’s badge number,
- The officer’s phone number, and
- The police report number.
Whether all parties to a truck accident are cooperative or not, having a police officer present will help everyone better handle the situation. It will settle everyone’s nerves, and having an impartial third party present allows everyone to state their cases and get their accounts recorded.
Collect Insurance and Contact Information
After ensuring you and any passengers are uninjured and after calling the police, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. Avoid discussing fault during this time. The most important information drivers should exchange after a truck accident are as follows:
- Full name and contact information,
- Insurance company name and policy number,
- Driver’s license and license plate numbers,
- The name of the trucking company or the company that owns the truck,
- Type, color, and model of vehicle, and
- Location of the accident.
Use a cell phone if you do not have a pen and paper. If you don’t have a cell phone, ask to use someone else’s phone and contact a trusted person who can record that information for you.
Most trucking companies will hire an investigator to review the accident scene. Make sure to get the investigator’s name and the claims adjuster’s name from the insurance carrier.
Photos, contact information, notes taken right after the crash, and other documentation offer valuable, contemporaneous information to your lawyer and the insurance company.
Photos are especially helpful, but taking one selfie in front of your car won’t provide as much information as you’ll want later on. If possible, you should take photos of all of the vehicle damage and any other evidence of the collision.
The best time to take photos of an accident is immediately after the crash, before police arrive. Taking photos of a truck accident scene when it’s fresh can give insurance adjusters a better picture of what happened.
As you begin taking accident scene photos, there are several things to remember to ensure the images are useful for insurance or legal purposes. The way you take useful accident photos is different from how you take photos for social sharing.
Here are a few tips to remember as you take accident scene photos:
- Photograph an overview of the accident scene. Be sure each vehicle is viewable in a single photo from various angles because that will provide useful information, such as the angle of the collision and how the vehicles collided. Additionally, attempt to show the position of the involved vehicles as they relate to each other, the roadway, and any other objects, such as trees, fences, or barricades, that might be relevant.
- Photograph the weather conditions. Rain, snow, or the sun blinding the driver could have contributed to the accident. Taking a few photos from the perspective of each driver’s relative position at the time of the crash can provide valuable information.
- Photograph vehicle damage. Walk around the perimeter of each vehicle and take close-up photos of dents, scratches, broken glass, deployed airbags, and other visible signs of damage. Additionally, it is very helpful to take photos of skid marks, debris, broken glass, or other indicators of how the crash occurred or its aftermath.
- Photograph injuries. If you suffered a visible injury, take photos of it. If you cannot take a picture, ask someone else at the scene to do it for you.
- Photograph any documentation. Take photos of the driver’s licenses, registrations, and vehicle license plates of all the drivers involved in the accident. One wrong digit on a police report can be the difference between a successful insurance claim and an unsuccessful one.
- Photograph other property damage. There might be property damage to items belonging to the drivers or passengers involved in the accident. There might also be damage to other property, such as a fence, tree, or building. Photograph any property damage to items in your car so that you can add them to your insurance claim. You should also take photos of any other property damaged during the accident to help your attorney and the insurance company have a fuller understanding of what happened.
- Photograph the traffic signal. A photo won’t be able to show whether a traffic light was red or green at the time of a crash. Still, the position of traffic lights, signs, and other indicators relative to the crash scene will provide valuable information for accident reconstruction specialists and investigators.
In addition to taking photos, it’s a good idea to write down what you remember about the accident as soon as possible. Those notes can help you refresh your memory later on when you file your claim.
An Attorney Can Help With Post-Truck Accident Procedures
Knowing what to do after a truck accident and doing your due diligence makes all the difference when building a case for personal injury compensation. Working with a knowledgeable attorney with truck liability experience can also help maximize your recovery. Eskew Law, LLC is an award-winning law firm that is part of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100. We can answer your questions, help you collect information and evidence, and formulate a plan of action for your truck accident claim that is tailored to your goals and needs. Contact us online or by phone to schedule a consultation.