Did you know that one reportable crash happened every 57 seconds in Texas in 2021? It’s unclear how many of those involved trucks, but the overall stats are insane.
If you just had a semi-truck accident, you may wonder what to do. Before you freak out, take the following steps to help document the accident and get through the aftermath.
1. Remain at the Scene
One of the first things you should do after a semi-truck accident is to stay where you are. For one, a hit and run is a serious crime, and it’s a third-degree felony in Houston, Texas, if the accident results in severe injury or death.
Another thing to consider is if it’s even safe to exit your vehicle. If the accident occurs on a highway or a similar road, you may need to stay in your vehicle until help arrives.
Also, you need to stay on the scene so that you can exchange information with the other driver. You also need to log their insurance, driver’s license, and contact information for your records and to report to your insurance company.
However, before you do that, make sure everyone is safe and not experiencing any significant injuries. If so, those people will need to go to the hospital.
That’s the only time you should leave the scene of an accident right away if you’re the driver. You should call emergency services first, though, rather than go yourself.
If you do get hurt, you’ll need to contact your employer, especially if you need medical leave. As long as you’re safe, you should stay on the scene.
2. Call Emergency Services
When you’re at the scene of the accident, you should call emergency services. This is particularly important if you or anyone else is severely hurt and needs medical attention.
First responders can treat certain injuries on the scene and determine if anyone needs to go to a hospital. If so, they can transport the people who need care.
You should also call for help if the accident is blocking traffic. That way, the authorities can manage traffic or redirect other drivers around the accident while you straighten things out.
When the accident is minor, you may not need to call for help. However, almost every semi-truck accident is bound to be more serious than a collision involving two smaller vehicles.
If you don’t have a phone on you, ask the other driver to call. You can also try to flag down a witness who may have a phone you can use.
3. Take Pictures and Notes
As you wait for the authorities, you should take pictures and notes regarding the accident. If you have your smartphone, you can take some good pictures with it.
Be sure you take pictures of your vehicle and any others involved. Your insurance company or lawyer may ask for the images to help prepare your claim or case.
If you have a phone, you can also use the notes app to write down other important details. You can note the location, when the accident happened, what was happening right before the crash, and more.
Those details can also come in handy for your insurance claim as well as when you file a police report. The more information you can give, the easier it will be for people to help you.
If you don’t have a working phone, try to take a mental image. You can then draw the scene of the accident and write notes down when you get home or find a pen and paper.
4. Look for Witnesses
Another step to take after a semi-truck collision is to find witnesses who saw the accident. If there are other drivers around or if you’re in an area where people are outside, you can ask them what they saw and to give a witness statement.
Ask if they can hang around until the authorities arrive so that they can talk to the police directly. That can help your case, and you won’t have to take the statement and worry about passing on the details.
Of course, you may not always have witnesses for any accident. This is particularly true if you’re driving on a rural road or on another stretch of road without much activity.
If you can find a witness, though, they may be able to offer more help than a statement. Someone could offer basic care until an ambulance arrives, or they could let you borrow a phone.
If you can’t find witnesses to help with that, you can ask any passengers who aren’t hurt to help. Then, you can still get everyone the assistance they need.
5. Keep Calm
Getting in a trucking accident can be scary for everyone involved. You may want to express your emotions, such as by apologizing if the accident was your fault.
If it was the other driver’s fault, you may want to get angry with them. However, you shouldn’t do either of those things. Apologizing is a form of admitting fault, and you should never do that.
The other party can hold that against you, so you may have a harder time getting your charges dropped. When talking to the other driver or the authorities, be very careful with your words to avoid admitting fault.
Yelling or getting angry is not productive. You need to focus on gathering information for your records and clearing the scene of the accident.
If you’re angry, you can express that to your loved ones after you get home. Then, you can let it out in private after you’re out of the thick of it.
6. Stay Off Social Media
In the past few years, people have started to post anything and everything online. Social media can be a great tool to update others on your life, but don’t go online after a semi-truck accident.
At the very least, don’t post anything about your accident until you get through the case. The other party can use what you post as evidence against you, especially if you share something publicly.
Let the existing evidence from the scene speak for you. This is especially important if you’re at fault, but it’s also smart to do if the other driver caused the accident.
Of course, you may need to use social media to contact friends, family, or your employer for help. If your vehicle needs towing, you’ll need a ride home from the accident or the location where your car ends up.
It can be tempting to share an accident since it can have a huge impact on your life. However, resist that temptation and tell people that need to know about it but no one else.
7. Get a Repair Estimate
After a truck accident, your car will most like have some damage. Even if you’re driving the semi-truck, it might not be in perfect shape after a crash.
In either case, you should take your vehicle to a repair shop and get an estimate for the repairs. Then, you can learn if your car is totaled or if you can get insurance to cover the repairs.
Depending on the tow company, you may be able to request a specific repair shop to visit. Otherwise, you’ll need to work with the shop they choose.
Be sure to get an estimate to include in your insurance claim. The repair shop can also appraise the vehicle to help your insurance determine the condition and how much money to send you for repairs or a new vehicle.
Even if your car is drivable after the collision, you should still take it to a professional. They can check to see if there’s damage that’s less visible, and you can make sure your car can drive just like before.
8. Contact a Lawyer
Next, you’ll want to contact a semi-truck accident lawyer. Ideally, you’d find someone from Houston, Texas, or near where the accident happened.
That way, you can work with someone who understands state and local laws surrounding accidents. If you know anyone who’s been in a similar accident, you can ask for referrals.
Otherwise, you may need to search online for options. Be sure to hire a lawyer or firm with plenty of experience, and consider having a consultation first to learn how they can help you.
Your lawyer may be able to take care of contacting your insurance company. They can also stay in touch with the trucking company and any other parties involved.
Of course, your lawyer can attend any court dates with you and help you through the case. They’ll be able to review the evidence to help you get the best possible outcome whether you’re at fault or not.
Stay Safe After a Semi-Truck Accident
If you were just in a semi-truck accident, you should stay where you are. Make sure you’re safe and that everyone else is okay before you start exchanging information and taking pictures.
After you leave the scene, be sure to contact a good lawyer who can help you with the case. That way, you can relieve some of your stress.
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