If you work in trucking, you know that safety is the biggest priority when you’re on the road. Trucks are harder to drive than cars and even weigh 20-30 times more than passenger cars, so there’s a huge risk of injury in the case of a truck accident.
Hopefully, you’ll never experience a trucking accident as a truck driver or company employee. However, if you do, you must know how to respond. Keep reading to find the ten steps to follow after a trucking accident—and why they’re important.
1. Call 911
The first step after any trucking accident should always be to call 911. You’ll want police on the scene so that you can file an official accident report—regardless of who is at fault, a police report is something both your trucking company and the insurance company will expect. Tempers can often run high after accidents, so sometimes having a police officer on-site can also help mediate the situation. A 911 call also sends emergency services, which might be needed.
2. Seek Medical Care
Everyone involved in the accident should be looked over by paramedics, even if they feel fine. Accidents are serious business, and sometimes you may have an injury without even knowing. Of course, anyone with more obvious injuries should also seek immediate medical care as a priority, going to the hospital if needed. If someone in your rig was taken to the hospital, make sure you find out from paramedics where they’ve been taken so that you can notify their family.
3. Swap Contact Details With Other Drivers
An important step after a trucking accident is to share contact information with anyone else involved in the accident, whether it’s a fellow truck driver, a car, or even a pedestrian. For other drivers, you’ll want their full name, make and model of their car or truck, license plate, and the name of their insurance company. You’ll need this information to file a claim, and it may also help your truck accident attorney get in touch with others involved.
4. Take Photos of the Scene
Before leaving the scene, you always want to take photos and videos of the accident location. Once you’ve left, the scene can’t be recreated, so you want an accurate representation of the accident for your insurance company and lawyer. Try to use your phone to take photos of the trucks’ positioning, and the damage is done, the intersection or road, and any other key details that you think might be helpful.
5. Talk to Your Employer
Let your employer know about the trucking accident as soon as possible. While you may be nervous about letting them know, they are sure to be understanding—accidents are a part of life in the transport industry. Just explain calmly and accurately what happened during the accident, and your manager can give you advice on the next steps. Pass over all of the details and tell them your side of the story. They can then report the incident with HR and handle the logistics side of things.
6. Look for Witnesses
One thing you may not have thought of after your trucking accident is to look for witnesses. Did any other drivers, pedestrians, or locals happen to witness the accident?
If there is uncertainty over who is at fault in the accident, a witness can be essential. They can generally provide an unbiased, neutral account of what they saw, which helps determine who is at fault. Should you notice anyone who witnessed the accident, sees if they would be willing to share their name and contact details. That way, the insurance company or lawyer can contact them to follow up and take their statement.
7. Tow the Damaged Truck Away from the Scene
Once everyone is safe, and the police have given permission, you’ll want to tow the truck away from the scene—assuming it’s not able to be driven. Your employer should give you guidance about where to tow the truck and what towing company to use.
8. File an Insurance Claim
Next, the trucking company will want to file a claim with their insurance company. Trucks and their cargo can be precious, so insurance is the best way for the trucking company to cover some of the costs. Plus, insurance will usually cover medical bills and expenses for the injured driver on the job.
Hire an Attorney
Sometimes, the help of a trucking accident law firm will be required to help settle the case. If both parties can’t agree on who is at fault, it may need to be decided in court. If this happens, look for an experienced truck accident lawyer who can handle your case with respect and care.
10. Get Back to Work
It may take months, but eventually, you’ll be able to get back on the road after your trucking accident. Keep in mind that you could feel scared or nervous when you step back into the truck for the first time, which can trigger emotions from the accident. It’s ok to take your time and try to remain calm. Some drivers may feel more reassured if they take a defensive driving class, helping them learn new tips about avoiding accidents in the future.
Stay Safe After a Truck Accident With These Tips
Hopefully, you and your company will never have to experience a truck accident. But if you do, following the above steps can help you stay safe and protect the company. Together, we can all do our part to stay safe on the roads and enjoy the freedom and fun of trucking for years to come. Was this helpful? If so, please keep reading for more legal content.