Victims of truck accidents often do not know what to do in the minutes and hours after the crash. Unfortunately, this often causes people to do things that hurt their chances of pursuing a case against the truck driver or other parties responsible for the accident.
The Baton Rouge truck accident attorneys of Simien & Simien have compiled a list of the steps you should take after a truck accident to help ensure your health and safety and preserve your claim for compensation.
1. Call 911
Stop your vehicle in a safe spot - out of the roadway if possible. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other motorists of the collision.
Call 911 to report the accident and request medical attention if anyone has been injured. Local law enforcement as well as emergency medical personnel will be dispatched to your location. An officer will conduct an accident investigation and issue an accident report, which may state who the officer believes is at fault for the crash.
2. Seek Medical Care
Accident victims often get a surge of adrenaline that makes it difficult to detect all of their injuries. That is why accident victims should always seek medical care. Trained medical professionals will be able to diagnose all of your truck crash injuries and begin treatment.
Seeking medical care also helps tie your injuries to the accident. A medical professional’s documentation will show your injuries were caused by the accident and not a pre-existing condition.
3. Stay at the Accident Scene
Never leave the scene of a truck accident until you are cleared to do so by law enforcement. Remaining at the scene allows you to gather evidence that may be helpful to your claim. Leaving an accident scene is illegal and could result in fines, points added to your driving record or your license being revoked.
4. Collect Information from the Truck Driver
Collect information about the truck and the driver, including:
- Driver's name and contact information
- Driver’s license number
- Truck’s U.S. Department of Transportation serial number
- Information on the truck driver’s employer
- Truck driver’s or trucking company’s insurance information
Collecting this information is crucial because commercial trucking operations typically involve multiple parties, and sometimes more than one is liable for the accident.
5. Talk to Witnesses
If witnesses observed your accident, ask them what they saw and take notes. You should also collect their contact information in case you or your lawyer has more questions. Witnesses are often able to provide information that helps our attorneys establish who was at fault for the crash.
The police officer's accident report may also include witness contact information if you are not be able to collect it at the scene. You can call the Baton Rouge Police Department during normal business hours to request a copy of the accident report.
6. Document the Accident
Document the accident by taking photos and notes of the scene and your experience. Use your phone or camera to document:
- Vehicle damage
- Damage to the road, guardrails and surrounding areas
- Skid marks
- Truck’s tire condition
- Physical injuries
Take time shortly after the accident to note your experience while it is still fresh in your memory. Also, keep a journal of your medical treatment and recovery, including the pain you feel.
7. Continue Your Medical Treatment
Always follow doctor’s orders regarding medical care after an accident. This includes going to appointments, avoiding activities you are instructed to avoid and meeting with specialists when you are referred to them. Failing to continue treatment not only affects your recovery, but could also impact your claim. If you do not continue treatment, your claim could fall apart.
8. Contact a Reputable Attorney
Work with a skilled truck accident attorney to protect your legal rights following a collision. Your lawyer will handle all communication with insurance companies or advise you what to say, preventing them from using your words against you.
The Baton Rouge personal injury lawyers of Simien & Simien offer free, no obligation consultations, allowing accident victims to learn what legal options are available for recovering compensation. If you have a case, we will investigate to determine liable parties and negotiate a fair settlement for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
There are no upfront fees when working with our firm. We are only paid if we help you recover compensation for your injuries.