Truck accidents are often serious, leaving victims with catastrophic injuries and severe vehicle damage. If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, there are things you should do (if you’re able) afterward to protect your legal rights. To seek the fullest compensation possible, you’ll need to know what to do after the truck accident.
If you have additional questions about how to handle the moments, days, and weeks after a truck accident, contact John Foy & Associates today. We have been helping truck accident victims win the financial recovery they need for over 20 years. To schedule a FREE consultation, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.
10 Crucial Things to Do After a Truck Accident
Right after a truck accident happens, it can be hard to think straight. However, the more you can do to gather evidence at the scene and in the days after the accident, the better it can be for your recovery. If you can, make sure you’re in a safe location and check on others involved in the accident. Your well-being should be the number one priority before you do anything else after the accident.
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1. Call the Police
Always report a truck accident to the police. In Georgia, you must report any accident where someone was injured or killed or there was more than $500 in property damage (Georgia Code § 40-9-2). This covers almost any truck accident since these types of collisions are rarely minor.
Call 911 and let the dispatcher know that you were in an accident. They might ask how many people were involved, especially if it was very serious, so they’ll know how many police and ambulances to send to the scene.
When officers respond to the scene, they’ll create an accident report of what happened. This is important, as it creates the first documentation of the crash.
2. Get Any Necessary Medical Attention
If you or anyone else have serious or life-threatening injuries, get emergency medical attention right away. Let the 911 dispatcher know you need help when you call to report the accident.
If you are able to stay at the scene, make sure you get medical attention as soon as possible after leaving the scene. There are a few reasons this is so important:
- Your injuries might be more serious than you initially realize, or they might worsen quickly over time.
- If you wait too long to seek treatment, the insurance company might try to say that you weren’t hurt as badly as you’re claiming.
- Seeing a doctor right away will create immediate documentation of your injuries and can give you an idea of what your future treatment costs will look like.
3. Take Pictures at the Scene
Do whatever you can to document the scene right after the accident. One of the best ways you can do this is by taking pictures of:
- The entire accident scene
- The position of all vehicles involved
- Your injuries and the injuries of anyone passengers in your vehicle
- All vehicle damage
- Anything else that can help set the scene and show what happened
If the weather might have played a role in the cause of the accident, make sure you get a picture of the sky and weather conditions too.
4. Exchange Information
As you wait for the police to arrive, exchange information with the other driver(s) in the accident. There is always a risk of another driver performing a hit-and-run, so get all pertinent information just to be safe.
Exchange the following information:
- Full names, physical addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses
- Driver’s license numbers
- License plate numbers
- Auto insurance names and policy numbers
You should also get the truck driver’s employer’s name, phone number, and address. After truck accidents, the trucking company may be involved in the case as well as the driver, so you will want to compile information from both.
5. Talk to Witnesses
Witness statements can be incredibly helpful in a truck accident case, and chances are good other people saw your accident happen. Talk to any bystanders and ask what they saw. If they saw the crash, ask for their names and contact information.
Don’t worry about taking down any statements right now. Responding officers will talk to witnesses too, and your truck accident lawyer will reach out to witnesses later for more information. Just make sure you get valid contact information for them.
7. Be Careful What You Say
Unfortunately, something you say after the accident could be used against you later, so refrain from apologizing for the accident or acting as if any part of it is your fault, even if you are worried you might have been partially responsible. Only discuss fault or liability with your lawyer—not with the truck driver, anyone else involved in the crash, or an insurance company.
Also, try to keep a cool head even if you are (understandably) upset or shaken by the truck driver’s actions and the crash. You don’t want to say anything that you’ll regret later or that could be used to undermine your case. The truck driver’s or trucking company’s insurance company might try contacting you and/or asking for a recorded statement, but it’s best to avoid talking to them.
It’s also best to avoid saying or posting anything publicly until you’re able to speak with an experienced attorney. This includes talking about the accident on social media or answering any questions about the accident. Anything as small as commenting “I’ll be okay!” online could be bad for your case.
8. Get Your Vehicle Appraised
Don’t get any work done on your vehicle until you’ve cleared things with your insurance company and had the damage appraised. Even if your vehicle looks alright from the outside, there may be internal damage that will cost a lot more. You’ll want to know exactly how much property damage you’re looking at.
9. Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
After you see your doctor, follow all of their instructions for treatment and keep your follow up appointments. This will ensure you’re healing as quickly as possible and that the insurance company sees why you need compensation for your medical costs. If they see you were not keeping up with treatments, they might use it as a reason to offer you less.
10. Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer
No matter what the details of your accident look like, it’s best to contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. They can examine the details of your case and determine how you need to take action to protect your rights.
In Georgia, you typically have two years from the date of your truck accident to file an insurance claim for damages (Georgia Code § 9-3-33). You’ll need to make sure you’re on track to stay within that deadline—and an experienced lawyer can make sure you don’t miss anything.
Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer in Georgia for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, our truck accident lawyers do not take a fee unless we win you money. We bring our 20 plus years of experience helping truck accident victims to the table, and we’re not afraid to do what it takes to fight for your right to compensation. Plus, the consultation is always FREE.
To get started with your FREE consultation today, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.