What to do After a Car Accident with a Semi-Truck
According to the American Trucking Association, 3.5 million professional truck drivers are licensed to haul and supply items to appear to our every whim 365 days per year across this great nation. In fact, about 1 in 15 American workers is employed in the trucking industry. Based on expectations of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth is expected to expand 21% for heavy hauls and semi-tractor drivers by 2020. And the industry itself is expected to see a 43% growth in the next few years alone.
Of course, the more large trucks on the roads, the more accidents are likely to occur. Obviously, car drivers can’t avoid highways altogether, and they shouldn’t have to. But accidents involving large transport vehicles are quite different from small passenger crashes, and drivers must take that into consideration before getting behind the wheel of their car. So then, what should you do if you’re involved in a semi-truck accident?
Survey the Damage and Take Pictures
If you’re injured after a collision with a large truck, remain where you are. However, if you’re able to move about, be sure to check on the welfare of any passengers in your vehicle first. Assuming they’re OK or not in immediate danger, begin surveying the damage and taking pictures of the scene. Begin taking photos inside the car if there’s any damage there, and move outside. Pay special attention to any personal property damage and the collision area itself.
Notice and Interview Witnesses
Traffic accidents tend to draw crowds or at least attention. The police will expect eyewitness reports in the event a corporate or company vehicle is involved, and that information can potentially work to your advantage. Of course, it can also play against you if you tend to drive like you own the road. The main culprit of heavy truck accidents is inertia, and the drivers of small vehicles are most often the cause of the collisions.
The average loaded semi-truck weighs 80,000 pounds compared to a 4,000 passenger vehicle. So, while you may need three car distances to stop safely on the highway, a semi needs closer to 100 yards. That’s the distance of a football field. Witnesses can be invaluable sources for the real story and can include other drivers, pedestrians, and even local residents or business owners.
File the Accident Report and Seek Medical Attention and/or Repairs
Be sure to file the report with the police before leaving the scene of the accident even if you don’t know much at the time. You may need to report the accident to the DMV if the damage is excessive. Exchange insurance information with the other driver and be sure to report the accident to your carrier to expedite the case. Any injuries must be checked out by medical professionals as soon as possible. Save all reports, recommendations, and releases.
Keep Quiet About the Accident
The police will need to know what you recall about the accident, but don’t speak to anyone else about it until after you’ve received legal counsel. The truck driver’s insurance company may call and pressure you for information. You are under no obligation to answer questions over the phone. Instead, arrange a physical interview after speaking with a competent Michigan truck accident attorney. Be forewarned that all information provided by you to the insurance company will be recorded and potentially used against you to settle or get out of a claim.
Retain Legal Counsel
Most accidents involving large trucks are complicated and can be incredibly stressful for typical drivers who require their mode of transportation for work and life responsibilities. Once you have medical clearance, make sure you contact a Michigan truck accident attorney to ensure the legal details are handled correctly. Why deal with the extra stress when there’s an easier and more effective way to get right back on the road again?