Getting hit by a commercial vehicle can be a traumatic experience. Not just the physical and mental trauma that comes with the collision itself, but the trauma that comes from having to deal with the company lawyers, gathering evidence, and other things that someone that has just gotten into an accident has to deal with.
A trucking company has the money and insurance to fight a case against you. The drivers know what to do when there is an accident and making sure you are compensated is definitely not one. It is important that you know what to do when you are in an accident involving a commercial vehicle like a semi-truck so that you are best prepared to fight for fair compensation in court.
Sam Heidari and Heidari Law Group have multiple years of courtroom experience fighting for his clients and making sure that they get compensated for the damages received and starting down the road to recovery with reduced anxiety.
What to Do After an Accident with a Commercial Vehicle has Occurred
If you have never been in an accident with a vehicle before, we recommend reviewing the following car accident checklist to ensure that you have the knowledge and guidance you need to get the best results in court.
Perform a Self-Checkup
After an accident, the highest priority should be to make sure that you are OK physically and mentally and that you are not in any immediate danger. If you were in a vehicle and a semi-truck hit you, it is best to stay in your vehicle until emergency responders arrive and give you the aid you need. If you are in a dangerous situation, your car is on fire or there is some other immediate danger, it is best to move to a safer location like the side of the road. Make sure that you keep a list (preferably written down) of any obvious injuries you have suffered.
Check on your Passengers
After you have taken an account of yourself and your injuries and assessed the area around you for immediate threats, check to make sure that your passengers are OK as well. If one of them is injured call 911 immediately and inform them of the accident and the injured passengers. Try and not to move the passenger out of the vehicle unless there is a more immediate danger in the area and wait for first responders to arrive.
Call 911 for Help
As mentioned earlier, call 911 to report the accident to authorities. A police officer, paramedic, and fire officials will show up to ensure that the location is stable and begin to help you and passengers take care of any injuries. An accident report will be filled out, which can be helpful later if the commercial trucking firm rejects pieces of the story later in court. If you are on private property, the police may not show up or not fill out an accident report at the scene. In this case, you can still go to the police office and request that an accident report is filled out. An accident report can be a strong weapon to use against the company lawyers in court.
Exchange Driver Information
It is important that you and the employee swap information and that you get the most information about the driver and the company they work for including:
- Insurance Information and Policy Number
- Vehicle Registration Card
- Name of the person involved in the accident
- Phone Number
- Name, address, and phone number of the company the driver works for.
- The exact location of the accident, street names, and address.
- Vehicle License Plate
- Vehicle Year, Make, Model, Color
- VIN number of the vehicle. Usually on the lower left front windshield and/or on the inside of the driver’s door.
- Witness Information (Any witnesses that saw the accident)
With your mobile phone, take images of the accident including damages to your vehicle, the license plate, and the VIN number of the commercial vehicle. Semi-truck, as well as:
- Each vehicle involved in the car crash
- The damages areas of each vehicle,
- The other person’s Driver’s License ID,
- Skid marks on the road. (Take different photo angles of the skid marks.),
- The surrounding area, which can include the weather if it’s raining, snow, ice, visibility (fog), sun glare, etc. All of this information can be used as evidence against the company and help you get compensated.
Do Not Talk About The Accident or Admit Fault
At the scene of the accident, it is vital that you do not talk to anyone other than the police officer about the accident and never admit fault.
Assume that anything you say will be written down and possibly used against you when you attempt to bring a case against the company for who the driver worked for.
Do not talk about the accident with the other driver. Get the relevant driver and vehicle information and make sure that they are OK.
Do not speak about the accident with passersby or the passengers in your vehicle. Let them know that they should not speak to anyone other than the police about the accident and never admit guilt.
Do not make a scene. While it is natural for emotions to run high after an accident, this may lead you to make comments that will have ramifications later. Keep calm and follow this checklist to ensure that you have the ammunition you need to pursue a personal injury case against the company.
Post nothing about the accident on social media. It can be tempting to upload a picture of the accident, but this type of post will be found by the company’s lawyers and used against your case in court. It is best to stay quiet until the case is ultimately resolved.
Document the Commercial Vehicle Accident
The more information that you can provide a personal injury lawyer about your accident with a commercial semi vehicle, the better the lawyer can help you get the money you deserve. On the scene, take photos and videos of both your vehicle and the commercial vehicle, take down notes of any injuries you have suffered, and observations as to what happened. It is better to do this right after an accident rather than trying to do it the next day when you may be more prone to forget. If you have a dashcam on your vehicle, save the SD memory card so that it does not get overwritten. Record the time and date of the accident. If there are witnesses present, get their name and phone numbers so that later your lawyer is able to contact them to get their story and possibly use it to corroborate your story of the accident.
Inform Your Insurance Provider of the Accident.
Once you have given your statement to the police and are physically out of immediate danger, call your insurance provider and let them know that you have been involved in an accident. Send them any information they request as well as telling them what they need to know. Keep all of the information you receive in a folder so that it is easy for you to find it later.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
After performing all of the steps above, contact a personal injury lawyer, like Heidari Law Group, and consult the details of the commercial vehicle accident with them. They will walk you through the next steps and what they are able to do to get you compensation for medical bills, cost to fix the vehicle, unemployment during recovery, and additional fees that may come up.
Keep all of these steps in mind if you are ever in a commercial vehicle/semi accident, and maximize your ability to get compensated. If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a commercial vehicle accident, call Heidari Law Group now for a free consultation.