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8 tips to consider after an accident with a commercial truck

Written by Steve Gursten Posted February 27th, 2013

Auto accidents involving commercial motor vehicles are scary and overwhelming, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and maximize your legal recovery

If you’ve ever been in an accident involving a large commercial truck, you know it’s one of the scariest things one could imagine. The size and weight of these commercial vehicles can be terrifying. The increased size and weight and the very physics of being involved in an accident with a large truck often means that they end in tragedy for the occupants of the smaller vehicle.

These situations can feel overwhelming.  But despite how overwhelming these situations can be, it is critical that you take certain minimum actions to protect and ensure your own well-being.  Following a crash, it is very common for people to be  shaken up or not thinking clearly. We understand that it’s difficult to shift gears and go from being scared and shocked, to even thinking of the consequences of all this. As the injuries and pain continues, it is not unusual  for days – even weeks – to pass following a truck accident before people start to consider what they must do to protect themselves.

So, here are some things to consider following any accident involving a commercial motor vehicle that has caused injury:

1. Make sure you are okay. First, make sure you are okay. If you are, and only if it is possible and safe to do so, check on others and make sure they are okay as well. Call emergency personnel and remain there until they arrive.

2. Seek medical attention immediately. Following the accident, make sure that you and everyone else involved gets appropriate medical attention.  Get help as soon as you possibly can so that your injuries are properly treated and you can make the best recovery possible.  Sometimes pain or injuries will not manifest until after the fact.  So even if you think you are okay, it is probably still a good idea to go get medical treatment to be safe.  Immediate medical attention can greatly improve your prospects of recovery.

3. Get a copy of the police report. After you and others involved have treated for any injuries and you have rested, take the necessary steps to obtain a copy of the police report.  You can call the responding law enforcement agency to find out how to do this.

These resources will also help you:

Spolation letter

Free guide: 7 things to know after a truck accident

4. Gather information. Lots of relevant information can be discovered once you obtain the police report.  Find out the truck driver’s name and insurance information, the insurance information for whoever owns the truck and trailer, and find out if there are any witnesses.

5. Do not admit fault.  When you are speaking to police or the truck driver, simply report the facts of the collision. Do not assume fault or speculate about what happened.  Be honest of course, but just stick to the facts and do not guess or make assumptions.

6. Contact your auto insurance company. As in all accidents, it is good practice to let your insurance company know immediately about the crash. Be honest about your injuries, and do not guess. Do not speculate. Just tell the truth and state the facts.

7. Do not talk to the trucking company’s insurance agents. The company’s insurance representative may contact you.  They will come across as concerned, friendly, and helpful, but always remember: They work for the trucking company.  It is easy to be lulled into believing that they have your interest in mind, but it is their job to act in the best interest of the trucking company.  It’s best to avoid them entirely so that you do not accidentally say something which might jeopardize your rights or otherwise land you in trouble. Also, do not sign any materials or sworn statements they might give to you.

8. Consult an experienced trucking attorney if you have suffered personal injury.  The rules surrounding truck accidents are very complicated, and they are very different from other types of motor vehicle cases involving cars or motorcycles. You may need help navigating through murky waters. Before going into any meetings with insurance representatives, or otherwise communicating with them, you should consult an attorney who can look after your interests and make sure your rights are preserved. It is a good idea to have somebody on your side.

I hope that this list is helpful, but more than that, I hope that you will not ever need it.

Related information:

Time is of the essence in cases involving truck accidents

Steven Gursten Photo

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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