Trucking accidents, like those involving big rig or 18-wheeler trucks, are more common in Sacramento, California than you might expect, and can be catastrophic for the victims. The damages caused by truck crashes are significantly more devastating than those resulting from ordinary motor vehicle accidents. The victims may be subject to injuries, vehicle damage, or income loss that are more severe than those of regular car accidents. Remember, a truck driver is a professional and owes a higher duty of care while operating a vehicle than the average driver.
Considering the gravity of trucking accidents, how you react afterward is particularly vital. Besides addressing injuries, if any, you will have to simultaneously take legal action against the trucking company so that you get compensated for the personal injuries and other damages.
The following are steps that are important to remember when it comes to handling big rig and 18-wheeler trucking accidents:
Step 1: Do Not Leave the Crash Scene
No matter how negligible you think, the damages are, the worst thing you can do after being involved in a trucking accident is to leave the scene of the crash. Whether or not you were responsible, if you leave the scene without speaking to the truck driver, you will not know whether or not the driver intends to report that you caused the accident. You could also end up being charged with a hit and run.
Step 2: Tend to Your Injuries
Big rig or 18-wheeler trucking accidents are likely to cause major, if not critical, injuries. Immediately address your own needs by seeking medical help. Because such accidents commonly involve several vehicles, other motorists or pedestrians may also be injured. Depending upon your condition, make sure your passengers get medical assistance, as well as others hurt or injured.
In no way should you confront the other driver or occupants. Stay calm. Most injury accidents are bad enough without someone getting injured in a fight afterward. You will only aggravate the situation and hurt your legal case.
Step 3: Contact the Local Police Department
Regardless of the severity of the crash, contact the police using your cell phone without any delay. Not only will a police officer handle the traffic at the scene and help move vehicles off the road, but the police report created will be extremely valuable for your personal injury claim and compensation for other damages.
If the police will not come to the scene, file a police report online or in person at the police station in the city where the accident occurred. Do it the same day, as a police report is essential to your case.
Step 4: Exchange Personal Identification and Insurance Information with the Truck Driver
While you wait for the police to arrive, calmly speak to the truck driver and note down their name, contact number, vehicle description, address, and license plate. Talk to other motorists who might be involved in the crash and obtain their identity and contact information as well.
Also, be sure to exchange insurance carriers and policy numbers with the truck driver. Some drivers may offer to settle the case without involving insurance by giving you immediate cash. To accept such an offer you would be making is a terrible mistake which could land you in legal trouble. Not reporting an accident to your insurance company is insurance fraud. You may also be entitled to a much a higher compensation than what the driver offers, especially because many of the damages and injuries are not immediately evident after the crash. You could discover other serious injuries later, so always take insurance information on the spot; it doesn’t matter whether you file an insurance claim or not.
While they may not want to disclose it, make sure to get the name of the truck driver’s employer. Depending on the situation, it may be advantageous to add multiple defendants (trucking company and driver) who’d be liable to compensate for the damages.
Step 5: Record Everything You Can at the Scene
Use your cell phone camera to capture videos and images of the scene before the vehicles are moved, including any damages and injuries. Try to capture images that most demonstrate how the accident occurred. These can be extremely useful to prove your point for your case.
Step 6: Find Witnesses Then and There
Witness testimonies are among the most effective ways to claim your damages after being hit by a truck. Approach and talk to people who stop to see what happened. Request them to give their names and contact information, and if they agree, take a brief statement about what they say saw using your cellphone to record them or by getting their statement in writing.
Schedule A Consultation
In Sacramento, California, how you immediately react after being hit by a truck is not only crucial for the safety of everyone involved, but also essential when it comes to being compensated for any damages you may have faced as a victim.
Contact the Sacramento legal group of Phoong Law Corp for an initial free consultation to discuss your case and to find out what your full options are for recovery. Our experienced truck accident lawyers are ready to help. We only submit a contingency fee if we win your case. You don’t cover any upfront fees.