Large trucks constitute only 4% of the 268 million vehicles on American roads. But approximately one in 10 highway fatalities are attributed to these vehicles. Knowing what actions you should take after a truck crash is a matter of safety and can help protect your legal rights.
Before considering what to do when following truck accidents, consider truck size and the particular circumstances of these collisions. A typical car weighs around 3,000 to 4,000 pounds. Compare this to the weight of a fully loaded semi, which may be up to 80,000 pounds or 40 tons.
Trucks typically hit cars at higher speeds and more impact because trucks cannot slow down or stop as quickly as cars. This increases the probability of car occupants suffering serious and fatal injuries.
Cars can also slide under a truck in an underride accident because they are lower to the ground compared with trucks. Even at lower speeds, these accidents often have catastrophic consequences because occupants may be crushed, trapped, or decapitated. Victims often suffer head and neck injuries.
The major causes of truck crashes include:
- Distracted driving or inattention.
- Failing to yield right of way.
- Fatigue or illness.
- Alcohol impairment.
- Careless driving.
- Vehicle-related problems such as brake or tire problems.
Stay at the scene of the crash until help arrives or you may face hit-an-run charges. If your vehicle is drivable and it is blocking traffic or causing a hazard, pull it over to the side of the road. Turn on its hazard lights.
Stay away from traffic. Assure that everyone involved in the accident is uninjured. Call 9-1-1 immediately for assistance. Care for any person who needs assistance but do not move them unless they are in immediate danger.
Do not admit fault or make any apologies.
It is important to obtain information. Your smartphone is a helpful tool for videotaping and photographing the scene and gathering information.
Document the names and insurance information of everyone involved in the crash. Note the location, conditions, weather, and time.
Other important information includes:
- License numbers, make, and model of the truck and any other vehicles in the accident.
- Truck driver’s license number and employer.
- Names and addresses of all drivers and passengers.
- Name, phone numbers and addresses of any witnesses.
- Any damage to trucks, other vehicles, and property.
- The names and badge numbers of police.
- The accident report once it becomes available.
- Medical records for any treatment rendered after the crash.
Attorneys can assist you with obtaining evidence and filing a lawsuit against negligent or reckless motorists. They can help pursue compensation for these accidents.