Because of the weight differences between an automobile and a truck, you might assume that accidents between a car and an 18 wheeler are much more deadly than car accidents. You’d be right. There are over 500,000 truck accidents yearly in the United States, and worldwide there are millions of truck accidents. Trucks are marvelous pieces of machinery. But they are harder to maneuver through tight spaces and handle differently at speed than a car. What would you do if you got into an accident with an 18-wheeler? Would you know what to do? Read these procedures after a car accident with an 18 wheeler so that you are prepared for this dangerous reality.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
There are many reasons why an 18 wheeler may cause an accident. Some are common among all vehicle accidents, and some are unique to larger vehicles.
- Speeding. Let’s face it. Truck drivers are under many deadlines and pressure to get their load to their destination on time. It’s natural to speed from time to time. Truck drivers can be tempted to speed if they feel behind schedule.
- Fatigue. Truck drivers keep long hours, and fatigue is a factor even though driver’s hours are regulated. Rules are, of course, broken, and fatigued driving can result. Fatigued driving can be as bad as drunk driving as a loss of consciousness can occur, sending the truck out of control. Fatigue is a frequent cause of fatal accidents.
- Distraction. Distractions are bound to occur in today’s world of instant communication. Distractions can be anything from a cell phone, tablets, navigation systems, daydreaming, or not watching the road.
- Stopping Distance. 18 wheeler trucks can weigh up to 40 tons, so it is much harder for them to stop than a typical-sized vehicle. This longer stopping distance can be the cause of many accidents.
- Malfunction. There are many components, both simple and complex, that can fail on a commercial truck. As a result, these part failures happen far more often in trucks than cars.
What To Do After a Truck Accident
- Stay at the crash scene. In some states, leaving the scene of an accident constitutes a hit and run. Stay at the scene until authorities arrive and medical help has arrived. Move the car to a safe spot if needed. But, if possible, leave the vehicle in the position that it came to a rest. This will preserve the most evidence that can be needed to piece together the crash and damages and injuries that resulted from it.
- Call 9-1-1. Often large truck collisions can mean severe injury from a truck accident and even fatalities. Safety is your top priority after a collision with an 18 wheeler. 9-1-1 will dispatch the police and any needed first responder services needed. Police can also gather eyewitness accounts and create a crash report which is often a requirement for insurance companies.
- Check for injuries if possible. These accidents can often involve a semi-truck and several automobiles. Prioritize yourself first when checking for injuries, but keep in mind other people could be injured in the event. This includes pedestrians. If you are able, check to see if anyone else needs immediate assistance.
- Take photos, video, and audio for evidence. Immediately after the accident, the crash scene provides the most substantial opportunity to capture the all-important evidence to prove you were harmed due to someone else’s negligence. Take photos of the damage to all vehicles and the road around where it happened. Pay attention to skid marks, landmarks, and the position of vehicles in relation to one another. Audio and video narration can help if you don’t have a pen to take notes. As soon as possible, record an audio account of what happened according to your memory.
- Exchange information with other drivers. You’ll need information for later, so gather these items from each of the drivers involved: Name, driver’s license #, phone number, license plate number, insurance carrier and name of the agent, and insurance policy number.
- Don’t make any statements about the crash. Don’t admit fault. The fact is you don’t really know if it was your fault. Maybe a witness saw another driver texting, or a stoplight was not functioning correctly and was marked for repair. Even if you think you had some responsibility for what occurred, it’s smart to take some time, ask all the appropriate questions, and make sure you are in a calm state of mind from a jarring accident scene. Make a statement from a strong position, not one that is convoluted and vulnerable.
- Get your case reviewed by a lawyer. Driver negligence is the most frequent cause of a truck accident. The critical goal for most clients typically involves restoring justice and gaining the best settlement or award of money damages you deserve from a lawsuit. To do this, you need a focused strategy. It’s essential to have an experienced attorney who knows and fights big insurance companies. These companies often pour vast sums of money into protecting their drivers. Going it alone is not an option.
- Follow doctor and medical orders. If you are dealing with an accident involving a truck, an important goal is for you and your loved ones to take care of your health. This is important not just for you but for the defense attorneys on the other side that are watching to make sure you attend these appointments. Not following the advice of doctors could backfire on your claim of wrongdoing. And might make it look like you’re not really that hurt. Keep records of all medical visits and payments. These very well might serve as evidence.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, contact the best truck accident lawyers in Corpus Christi, The Patel Firm, serving all of Southern Texas as well. If you or your loved ones have been seriously injured in a trucking accident, calling a lawyer as soon as possible is a necessary procedure after a car accident with an 18 wheeler. An attorney will fight for your rights, restore justice, and get you the settlement you deserve. So don’t go it alone. Contact The Patel Firm today.