Truck accidents can be very serious. There are many different types of trucks on Georgia roads—including 18-wheelers and semi trucks—and most of them are huge. Even pickup trucks can do a lot of damage when colliding with a car or other passenger vehicle. That’s why it’s crucial to protect yourself as much as possible after a truck accident.
By “protect yourself,” we mean physically and legally. Besides getting medical treatment, you’ll need to ensure the at-fault person is held responsible for your financial losses. If you didn’t cause the truck accident, you should not have to pay for any costs of the accident. The driver at fault for the collision is legally liable for all damages, including the treatment of injuries and vehicle damage, that result.
To account for all of these factors after an accident, if you’re able, here are nine steps you should follow.
1. Stay at the Scene and Report the Accident
In Georgia and many other states, it’s illegal to leave the scene of an accident that involved injuries, vehicle damage, or deaths. If you do leave the scene, you could be charged with hit and run—which is a whole other host of problems. You must also report the accident if there are injuries (or deaths) or property damage exceeding $500.
So, after the accident, stay at the scene and call 911 to report the accident. Really bad injuries are common in truck accidents, so call for emergency medical help too if it’s needed (more on that below). Wait there until authorities arrive.
You should leave your vehicle in the same position it was after the accident—unless it’s in an unsafe location that could cause another accident. Not moving your vehicle will help preserve the accident scene. Either way, put on your hazard lights.
When the police arrive, an officer will access the scene, ask you questions, and create an accident report. You can (and should) request a copy of this report for your records. It will be a crucial piece of evidence if you file a truck accident claim.
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2. Get Medical Treatment
Since truck accidents involve enormous vehicles, injuries tend to be very serious and even deadly. If you or anyone else in the accident has life-threatening injuries or anything that needs immediate treatment, this should be step number one. Call 911 right away and get emergency medical help.
If you do not need immediate treatment but have any type of pain or injuries, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible after your accident. Your adrenaline is high after a stressful accident, so the pain can take time to fully show up.
Get checked out by a medical professional for any pain at all. If you don’t get medical treatment for an injury soon, it may impact your ability to seek full compensation for your injury costs.
3. Exchange Information
While you’re at the scene, exchange the following information with the other driver(s):
- Name, phone number, address, and email address
- Insurance information and policy number
- Driver’s license number
You should also get the name and contact information of the driver’s employer if they are driving a truck for work. It’s also a good idea to note any specific marks or decoration on the driver’s truck. If they are driving for an employer, their company may be ultimately liable for your damages.
4. Talk to Witnesses
Look for anyone who saw the accident and is still at the scene. Ask them what they saw and whether they’d be willing to make a statement about it. Either way, ask for their name and contact information.
Witness testimony can be very powerful for a truck accident claim, and your attorney will likely reach out to this person later.
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5. Take Pictures
Use your phone or a camera to take pictures of the scene. This includes:
- The entire accident scene
- Any identifying signs of landmarks nearby to show the location
- Your injuries and the injuries of anyone else in your vehicle
- Damage to your vehicle
Photographic evidence can also be very helpful in an accident case, and they help preserve the scene even if it’s moved or altered later.
You should also document any updates on your injuries over time by taking more pictures or writing down any changes. Pictures can show how bad your injuries were and the length of your recovery.
6. Be Very Careful What You Say
An adjuster for the other driver’s insurance will likely reach out to you after the accident. If you talk to them at all, do not apologize, admit any blame, say you’re okay, accept any money, or give a recorded or written statement.
It’s best to talk to a truck accident attorney before you talk to the insurance adjuster. They can advise you on what to do—and what not to do.
7. Call a Truck Accident Lawyer
If you were not to blame for your accident, contacting a truck accident lawyer is highly recommended. A trusted attorney can fight for the compensation you’re legally entitled to as an accident victim.
Even if you think you might be partially to blame for the accident, call an attorney. In Georgia, you may still be able to recover for damages if you are less than 50% at fault. Plus, a lawyer can look at the details of the accident and give you their legal opinion about how you should proceed.
8. Keep Records of All Accident-Related Bills
After the accident, keep detailed records of every expense related to your crash. That includes medical bills and receipts for vehicle repairs.
Also, be sure to carefully follow the advice of your doctor during your recovery. You want to show that your injuries are real and you are taking treatment seriously.
9. Don’t Miss Your Deadline to File a Truck Accident Claim
Due to the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, you must file a truck accident lawsuit within two years from the date of your accident. The time goes quickly because there is a lot of evidence to be collected and a case to be built along the way. That’s why it’s best to call an experienced attorney as soon as you can after your accident to get the ball rolling.
Were You Involved in a Truck Accident?
If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a truck accident, John Foy & Associates can help. We know you already have enough to worry about after the accident; let us handle the legal aspects while you recover. We don’t get paid unless we win you money, so working with us is risk-free. For a FREE consultation with one of our truck accident attorneys today, call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form on this page to get started.