What To Do After Truck a Accident in CA
What to Do – and Not Do – After a Truck Accident
The aftermath of a truck accident can be as disorienting as it is devastating. Knowing what to do, however, can help you start taking the right steps to protect yourself and a future claim to financial recovery.
What You Should Do Following a Truck Accident
- Remain at the scene and call police immediately.
Police responding to an accident can help divert traffic, clear the wreckage and get injured people help. These officers will also conduct their own investigations into a truck accident, and their findings and investigation reports can be important to establishing negligence later. In addition to this, the California Vehicle Code requires all drivers to report an accident any time it results in death or injury. The Code states this must be done within 24 hours of the accident, but it can greatly help to have law enforcement on the scene.
- Seek medical attention from emergency responders.
Even if you are not feeling terribly hurt in the minutes or hours immediately following a truck accident, make sure you let emergency responders check you out to determine whether you need of any emergency medical care. The shock and adrenaline surge that can come with an accident can prevent you from being aware of just how badly injured you may be. Or, you may have an injury such as a concussion that doesn’t start showing symptoms for days. A doctor should perform a full exam and identify problems that are not yet showing symptoms. Additionally, taking this step can start to create documentation about the severity of the injuries you sustained in the truck accident. It can also help a future truck accident claim. When victims fail to seek medical attention immediately following an accident, the insurance companies and courts often believe they may not have been very hurt, and so they don’t award them the full amount of compensation they deserve.
- Remove vehicles from the road.
After a truck accident it’s likely that the vehicles involved are going to block at least part of the road for other motorists. If possible, it’s important to move the vehicles to the side of the road and turn your hazard lights on to alert other drivers to the fact that there are people and vehicles on the shoulder. If you have cones or night flares, these could also be placed around the vehicle. All of these steps can help prevent a secondary accident.
- Collect information from the other involved drivers.
If you are able to, exchange identifying, contact, and driver-related information with the other motorists involved in the collision. In addition to noting the names and phone numbers for each involved driver, be sure to also take down each party’s driver’s license number, license plate number, insurance provider and policy number.
- Take pictures of the scene if you can.
Snap as many photos as you can of the damage to your vehicle, the other involved vehicles and any other surrounding objects (like guardrails, signs, etc.). Try to take as many photos as you can, including photos of the same item but from different angles. These can often help piece together the accident and show what really happened. It’s hard to argue with photographic evidence.
- Take pictures of your injuries.
In addition to taking pictures of the scene and any damage to vehicles, it’s also important to try to take pictures that show any visible injuries you or others may have sustained. These photos can document important aspects of the crash injuries, possibly making them critical evidence later. It’s one thing to tell a judge or jury that you suffered great harm to your leg in the accident. It’s another to show them a picture documenting those injuries and showing they were worse than you could have ever described.
- Collect witness statements.
Truck accidents happen quickly. Afterwards all parties involved may not be fully aware of how the accident happened. Or you may know what happened but the other driver is already yelling and saying it’s all your fault, even though that’s not the case. Eyewitness statements can be incredibly helpful in a personal injury claim. They can back up the injured party’s story and help convince the court that the victim was not to blame for the accident. There are often many people on the road when an accident occurs, and many drivers will stop to offer assistance or to provide their contact information. Take as many as are offered to you, as they can all help your claim.
- Report the accident to your insurance provider.
As soon as reasonably possible, contact your insurance provider to report the collision. When doing this, be aware that you do NOT have to give any official or recorded statements immediately. Be careful not to admit or get tricked into admitting fault for the collision, as this can negatively impact your future financial recovery.
- Keep a journal.
Keeping a journal may not be on top of your mind after an accident, but it can be helpful. Truck accidents cause severe injuries that take a very long time to heal. Over time, you may forget exactly how much pain you felt in the beginning stages of treatment. Or you may completely forget about an injury that healed relatively quickly after the accident because you had more severe injuries that were more concerning. A journal will ensure you don’t forget any of this, or how you were feeling in the days, weeks, and months following the accident. A journal will also show exactly how long it took you to recover from your injuries, which can help any personal injury claim.
- Contact the Law Offices of Pius Joseph.
When you are ready to get on the path to financial recovery following a truck accident, contact the Pasadena truck accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Pius Joseph. In fact, this is really the only necessary step to take following a truck accident, as our lawyer can help accident victims protect their rights, deal with insurers and pursue the full amount of compensation to which they are entitled.
What NOT to Do After a Truck Accident
Just like the steps taken after a truck accident can help a personal injury claim, they can also hurt one. Here are the five things accident victims should never do after an accident.
- Don’t apologize.
It’s natural to want to apologize after a truck accident. Most people apologize simply to express they’re sorry the accident happened, but that’s not what the other side or the insurance company will say. They will twist any apology into an acceptance of blame on your part. Worse, the insurance company can hold this against you in the future. Apologizing immediately following the wreck is one of the major ways to harm your claim. Avoid the urge.
- Don’t guess about what happened.
There is a time and place to speculate about what happened, and the side of the road at an accident scene is not it. Local law enforcement and your attorney are the only ones who should try to piece together what happened, and this can be done shortly after the accident. Like apologizing, making a guess as to how an accident occurred can only hurt a personal injury claim in the future. When police ask questions, answer with just the factual information you know. Don’t guess or make assumptions about things you aren’t sure about.
- Don’t discuss the accident.
Of course, you’ll want to talk about the accident to your friends and family members, and that’s okay. It’s not okay to discuss the accident with those involved, though. Sometimes at fault drivers try to reach out to accident victims to try and reach a settlement privately between them. When the other driver works for a trucking company, it’s quite common for the trucking company to reach out to accident victims. You need to avoid speaking to them, however. Again, this will only hurt your claim and may reduce any compensation you receive.
- Don’t post on social media.
Social media is just a part of life these days and people use websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to document everything that happens in their life. This is also something to avoid after an accident. The insurance company will look at all of your social media profiles in order to try and determine the extent of your injuries. If you claim that you badly injured your leg but they find pictures of you dancing in a bar days after the accident, they may claim that you are not as injured as you claim. It’s particularly important to not discuss the accident online, as you could provide information that will hurt your claim. However, it’s also important that you don’t post anything onto social media for a little while – not even that picture you’ve been meaning to post about that fun night out you had a little while back.
- Don’t fail to listen to your doctor.
Compensation claimed in a personal injury lawsuit and through insurance benefits is meant to make a person whole again, and help them recover from their injuries. If you don’t do as much as you can to help move that progress along, a judge or jury may find that you’re not that hurt, or that you don’t need compensation for treatment you’re not seeking. Always listen to your doctor immediately following a truck accident and take any recommended steps for treatment they offer.
Contact the Law Offices of Pius Joseph
Contact a Pasadena truck accident attorney at the Law Offices of Pius Joseph for vigorous representation and effective legal advocacy after a truck accident. You can call us or email us with the contact form on this page to learn more about how we can help you.