Being involved in a truck accident can be terrifying, and it is not always easy to determine your next steps. The attorneys at Frost Law Firm, PC want everyone in San Pedro, CA to have the confidence to move forward with a truck accident case, which is why we have compiled the following information on what to do after a truck accident.
We know that the financial burdens associated with a truck accident can feel like a barrier to some of our recommended steps. Our attorneys urge everyone not to let finances get in the way, especially when it comes to seeking proper medical attention. Damages incurred in truck accidents (including lost wages, medical bills, auto repairs, and more) are compensable in a truck accident claim.
California state law requires any accident resulting in injury, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage to be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within ten days of the collision. However, we recommend calling 911 and asking that a police officer be sent to the scene right away, even if there are no apparent injuries or death or the level of auto damage is unclear.
Having a police officer on the scene will help create an accurate account of the collision. The responding officer will collect information from the involved drivers and create an accident report that you can later access. The accident report will include important details about the crash that are often vital to the success of a personal injury claim.
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) can also be summoned to the accident scene by calling 911. EMTs will evaluate those involved in the accident for signs of injury and can then transport those in need of dire medical care to the hospital via ambulance.
Seek Out Medical Care
Even if you do not need to be transported to the hospital in an ambulance, you should still seek prompt medical care after a truck accident. Signs and symptoms of injury can sometimes be masked by the rush of adrenaline that occurs in a collision, while in other cases symptoms simply take time to develop.
Go directly to the emergency room if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms after being involved in a truck accident:
- Shortness of breath or painful breathing
- A headache that gets worse or won’t go away
- Severe nausea or repeated vomiting
- Clear fluids draining from ears or nose
- Severe back or neck pain
- Pain, swelling, or bruising
- Blood in vomit or stool
- Uncontrolled bleeding
Never try to explain away any troubling symptoms you may be experiencing after a car accident. If something doesn’t feel right, go directly to the emergency room, have a trusted friend or loved one take you, or call for an ambulance. Do not worry about the costs associated with an emergency room visit, as these costs can typically be recovered in a personal injury claim.
If you do not require emergency medical care, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible. When you call to make the appointment, let them know that you’ve been in a truck accident and need to be evaluated for injuries as soon as possible.
Take Pictures of the Accident Scene
Evidence disappears quickly from the scene of an accident. Before you leave, use your phone’s camera to document as much as possible. Take pictures of everything, even if it doesn’t seem relevant at the time. When litigating a California personal injury claim, we look for pictures that show:
- Damage to all vehicles
- Damage to other property, such as median barriers, trees, or streetlights
- Debris from the collision
- Skid marks
- Injuries to yourself and your passengers
- Road signs or mile markers that show the location of the accident
- The time of day
- Weather conditions
- Road conditions
If you are transported from the accident scene in an ambulance, ask a friend or family member to return as soon as possible to take pictures on your behalf.
Collect Information From the Truck Driver
Exchange information with the truck driver after the accident. At Frost Law Firm, PC, we recommend obtaining the following information:
- The truck driver’s name
- Insurance number and policy number
- Commercial driver’s license (CDL) number
- Name and contact information of the employer
- Truck license plate numbers
Obtaining information about the truck driver’s employer is paramount. In most cases, truck accident claims are filed against the trucking company rather than the truck driver themselves. If you fail to obtain this essential piece of information and do not report the accident to the police, you could miss out on your only opportunity for compensation.
Have Your Vehicle Appraised for Damage
Collisions between large tractor-trailers and smaller motor vehicles are typically much more catastrophic than accidents between two sedans. Your vehicle might need extensive work to be roadworthy once more. The costs for repairs should be covered in your truck accident settlement if the other driver was at fault.
Avoid Speaking With the Insurance Company
You will be contacted by an insurance adjuster from the trucking company’s auto insurer soon after the accident. When you first speak, you may feel that this individual is on your side. They will ask you seemingly innocent questions like, “How do you think the accident happened?” and “How are you feeling today?” You are not obligated to provide answers to any of these questions.
Do not be tricked by the insurance adjuster’s polite tone or seemingly innocent series of questions. Anything and everything you say to an insurance company employee can be twisted and used against you in a truck accident claim. Even responding with the socially acceptable polite reply of “I’m fine” to a question about how you are doing may be used to deny your claim.
Contact a Lawyer
Reach out to a truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident, even if it’s just to learn more about your rights. At Frost Law Firm, PC, we offer free consultations to injury victims, as we understand how confusing the period of time following an accident can be.
Additionally, when you choose to work with a lawyer, you can refer all questions from the insurance company to your attorney. A good lawyer will take over all communications and negotiations with the insurer, giving you the opportunity to focus solely on your recovery.
Frost Law Firm Secures Compensation for Truck Accident Victims
At Frost Law Firm, PC, we believe that injury victims should not be unfairly burdened with the cost of recovery when they were not at fault for the accident. If you believe your accident was the result of another person’s negligence or would like to learn more about what to do after a truck accident, contact our San Pedro, CA office to schedule your free case evaluation.