Trucking Accidents and Catastrophic Injuries often go hand in hand. This is because trucks are much larger than regular passenger cars. A truck collision would have a greater impact than one involving smaller passenger vehicles.
So, in the wake of such an accident, the first thing you need to do is call 911 if you can or get someone to make the call on your behalf. Once the call is made, first responders can be dispatched to the scene. They will help isolate the scene, assess the damage, and attend to you and anyone else injured.
Get Police Information
Police officers would usually arrive with the team of first responders in response to your 911 call. Their job is to investigate/assess the situation and record their findings in a formal police report. This report is important because it can help you build your case if you intend to file an insurance claim or lawsuit to get compensation for your injuries.
So, if you are still on the scene and your health allows it, ask the officer(s) creating the report for their name/ badge number and the police report number. This makes it easier to track down the document when you need it.
Do Not Admit to Any Wrongdoing
While making their report, the police may interview you and anyone available to get a clearer picture of what happened. You must be careful what you say at this point. Do not admit to any fault, even if you think you somehow contributed to the accident. This is because your admission of fault may be used against you, which could affect your ability to obtain compensation.
Seek Medical Attention immediately.
Your health is a priority, so you must get yourself checked out at a hospital immediately after your accident. Do this even if you feel fine or your injuries appear minimal. The doctors may find internal injuries that you may not be aware of, which could worsen without treatment. So until you’re given a clean bill of health by a doctor, do not assume that all is well.
Remember to document all the details related to your medical treatment and hospital bills. You may need those documents to get a reimbursement for your expenses when you file your personal injury claim.
Exchange Information With the Other Driver(s) and Law Enforcement Officers
Missouri law requires the drivers of any vehicles involved in an accident that results in death, personal injury, or property damage to stop immediately after the accident occurs and give the other party or any law enforcement officer present their contact details.
Compliance with this law is important as long as your health or that of the other parties involved allows it. Doing otherwise could amount to a criminal offense.
As you leave your information with the relevant parties, you could also use that opportunity to collect their own. So you can identify them for insurance purposes at the appropriate time.
Gather and Preserve Evidence
Most vehicle accidents result in he-said, she-said situations where it’s your word against the other party’s. So, While the police will compile evidence and take witness statements, you can still do your part to preserve and gather evidence. This includes taking pictures with your phone of the scene and safeguarding any details that will be important in proving that you were not responsible for the accident.
Also, try to get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident if you can. Having eyewitnesses testify in your favor is a good way to solidify your claim as you seek compensation.
File an Accident Report
If your accident occurred in Missouri, you are required to file an Accident Report with the Missouri Driver License Bureau if:
- The accident occurred less than a year ago and;
- The accident involved an uninsured motorist or
- The accident caused property damage worth more than $500 or injured or killed someone.
Contact Your Trucking Company
Contact your trucking company and explain the situation to them. You may be eligible to obtain workers’ compensation from them or their insurance company, especially since the accident occurred while you were on duty. Since they own the truck, they would also need to assess the extent to which the truck was damaged to make arrangements for the its and and prepare their vehicle damage insurance claim.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
Many people believe all truck accidents are caused by truck drivers. That isn’t true, but you might have to deal with that perception while the investigation is ongoing and during the insurance claims process. If you’re faced with such issues, you may need someone to advocate for you and defend you so that you are not made to bear a responsibility that isn’t yours.
A skilled Truck accident lawyer can represent you after your accident and ensure your interests are always protected. So, you must contact one after your accident as soon as possible.