A crash with a large truck may be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life. Trucks are huge machines and cause catastrophic damage in most crashes. In the confusing aftermath, many victims aren’t sure what they should do after an 18 wheeler accident. Our five-step guide is here to help.
Step 1: Check for Injuries
As soon as your vehicle comes to a stop, you need to check for injuries. Examine yourself and any passengers for blood, broken bones, burns, or other damages. Even if you don’t feel any immediate pain, the adrenaline spike from the crash could numb you to the full extent of your injuries for several hours. If the airbags are deployed, it’s more likely you experienced a concussion or a yet unseen head or neck injury.
You can start by slowly rotating your joints (wrists, elbows, shoulder, knees, ankles, etc.). If you feel any pain, stop immediately and call an ambulance. If you have any back pain or see a visible broken bone, stay where you are if it is safe to do so. If it is not safe, try to move out of immediate danger while restricting your movement as much as possible until the ambulance arrives.
Step 2: Call an Ambulance
Trucks tend to cause far more damage than other vehicles. Virtually all 18 wheeler accidents cause some degree of injury, with the majority of cases requiring hospitalization. Because these accidents are so deadly, it’s crucial that you get proper first aid and medical attention at the scene.
Paramedics have the training and equipment needed to check for concussions, staunch bleeding, transport you safely, and prevent your injuries from getting worse. When your health is on the line, you shouldn’t risk going untreated.
Step 3: Collect Information
If you’ve called 911 and reported the crash, police should arrive on the scene to direct traffic and file a formal report. A police report is a critical document for any serious car crash as it is an unbiased document recording the crash, the contact information of who was involved, and any potential witness statements. If you’re too injured to speak to the truck driver directly, a police report is invaluable in getting your case off to a good start.
If your injuries aren’t too severe, you may try to speak with the truck driver directly while you wait for help to arrive. Introduce yourself and politely ask for their information, just like you would after any car crash.
Ideally, you will gather the following information:
Commercial driver’s license number
License plate number
Insurance policy number
Supervisor’s contact information
If your injuries prevent you from exchanging information with the driver directly, don’t panic. The police report will contain the information your attorney needs to contact the other driver’s employer and their insurance company.
Step 4: See a Doctor
Going home to relax is one of the biggest mistakes people make after a serious accident and even severe 18 wheeler accidents are no exception. If you’ve been involved in a crash and you weren’t taken to the hospital from the scene, you should go directly to your preferred doctor, urgent care office, or ER.
A doctor can examine you for a concussion and internal injuries. This will reduce the likelihood of experiencing “latent injuries” that would otherwise not show symptoms for several days or even a few weeks. Similarly, that medical documentation can be used to prove the severity of your injuries to the insurance company, which makes it significantly easier to pursue the full damages you’re entitled to under the law.
Step 5: Consult an Amarillo 18 Wheeler Accident Attorney
Once you’ve left the doctor’s office, you should consider a consultation with a personal injury attorney who has experience handling 18 wheeler accident cases. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf and handle all of the difficult busy work so you can focus on feeling better.
Truck accidents can be especially complex as the trucking company may also hold some degree of liability in the crash. An attorney on your side can look at all the angles and help you pursue the full damages you need to recover.
If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries in an 18 wheeler crash, you might have a case. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Amarillo 18 wheeler accident attorney from Wood Law Firm LLP, please send us an email or call (806) 304-0447.