What to Do If You Get into a Crash with an 18-Wheeler

There are around 168k truck accidents each year, with 32% of them injury-causing. In 2021, 4,714 people died in truck accidents, 68% of whom were in cars or other passenger vehicles. Texas has the highest number of truck accidents, but you’re not safe anywhere in the US. If you’re unlucky enough to get caught in an accident with an 18-wheeler, here’s what to do.

Stay Calm and Assess the Situation

First of all, take deep breaths and assess the situation. Are you or anyone in your vehicle hurt? Are you able to get out safely or do you need emergency assistance? Try to get an understanding of how bad the crash is so you can determine the next steps. Staying level-headed will help you think clearly.

Call 911

As soon as it’s safe to do so, call 911 to report the accident. Give the dispatcher details like the exact location, if there are injuries, how many vehicles are involved, and the truck information like license plate if you can safely get it. The dispatcher will send police, paramedics, and other first responders to the scene. Do not leave the scene until the police have arrived and given you permission to do so.

Check on the Truck Driver

If you are able, check to see if the truck driver is injured and in need of help. Truck drivers account for 16% of all truck accident deaths. Semi drivers sit very high up so they are at serious risk of injury in a crash. See if the driver is responsive and ask if they need medical assistance. Offer to call for help or render aid if you can if they are injured.

Exchange Information

When it is safe, exchange insurance and contact information with the truck driver. Get their name, trucking company information, insurance details, license plate number, and a phone number where they can be reached. Also, provide the same for the driver of your vehicle. If witnesses stop to assist, get their contact information too in case police need statements later.

Document the Scene

Use your smartphone to take photos of the vehicles involved, damage, skid marks, location, road signs or signals, weather conditions, and anything else that could be relevant to assessing fault later. 

Cooperate with Police

Provide your account of what happened to the police officers when they arrive. Answer their questions honestly and do not admit fault or speculate about the cause. Let the officers do their job and avoid arguing with the truck driver. Ask the police if you need to provide a written statement or if they require any other information from you before leaving the scene.

Seek Medical Attention

Even if you don’t have obvious injuries, get examined by a doctor after a collision with a semi-truck. The impact can cause internal damage and delayed-onset injuries. Adrenaline may also mask the pain temporarily. Getting checked over thoroughly will document any issues that arise later from the wreck. Going to the ER also creates a record of medical attention needed after the crash.

Hire a Truck Accident Attorney

Consider retaining a truck accident lawyer to represent your interests. Semi-truck companies and insurers often try to settle quickly for as little money as possible. When you hire a truck accident lawyer who specializes in commercial collisions, they can deal with insurance negotiations on your behalf and make sure you receive full and fair compensation for medical bills, lost wages, vehicle damage, pain and suffering, and other expenses.

Thankfully, truck accidents are more likely to involve property than people, but if a truck hits your vehicle, follow the above steps.

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