Chapter Ten What To Do After a Truck Crash
Now that you have heard stories from actual truck cases I’ve worked on, you can probably imagine how unsettling, surprising, scary, and painful they can be. Often truck crash victims are in shock following the wreck. Here are the straightforward steps you should take after a truck crash:
- Make sure your vehicle is in a safe place. If it’s not, move it to a safe place.
- Call 911 for emergency medical and police assistance. Are you OK? Are your passengers OK? Assist the injured. Consider learning CPR. It’s a life-changing course. Do not attempt CPR if you are untrained. Remember the ABCs – Airway, Breathing and Chest Compressions. Often there can be broken bones, spinal cord injury, and trauma – so be careful and do not move the injured unless it’s absolutely necessary to do so.
- Safely exit the vehicle and talk to the truck driver. Write down his/her name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, name of the insurance company, policy number, and phone number. Take a picture of the driver’s license and insurance card.
Look at the truck driver’s license and insurance card to write the information down yourself. Don’t trust what they say. Talk to the truck driver about their conduct prior to the accident. Be nice, but ask what they did wrong. If it is the truck driver’s fault, get them to say it’s their fault for causing the accident and notice if they apologize to you. Inquire with them a little:
- “Didn’t you see that light?”
- “Why were you going too fast?”
- “Why did you pull out in front of me?”
- “How come you didn’t stop before you rear-ended me?”
They may say things to you like, “I was on my phone,” “I wasn’t paying attention,” “I’m sorry,” or a variety of other things.
- Call the police and get a police report for every trucking accident. A police report ensures that an independent person is taking down all the information, identifying any witnesses, and evaluating the crash. Policemen are trained to investigate auto accidents. Give the police officer a short, clear statement of how the accident happened. Ask the police officer for his/her full name, badge number, organization (e.g., highway patrol or local town or municipality), and police report number.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, property damage to both vehicles, skid marks, etc. Use your cell phone at the scene to document what happened. Take pictures of the defendant’s insurance card and driver’s license and/or witness information.
- Get witness names and phone numbers and write them down yourself. They may not be included in the police report. I have had many instances where the best witness is not in the police report and their information is lost.
- Get any medical attention you need promptly, whether it’s on the scene, an hour later, that night, or the next day. Be sure to get medical attention – ER, urgent care, primary care doctor or chiropractor.
- Document everything and all the matters relating to your claim.
I intentionally made this chapter short to try to keep this advice simple and direct. The steps to take immediately after a wreck should be straightforward. With the advent of cell phone picture taking, what to do after a crash has changed. Technology change and advancement is a real opportunity to better document a crash.