Do you know what to do if you’re involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle? Do you know what not to do? There are a few special considerations when you’re in one of these accidents and they’re time-sensitive. Continue reading below to find out what to do, what not to do, and how to do it if you’re involved in an accident with a commercial truck.
NOTE: All of the following assumes that you’ve already ensured that the police have been called and that any necessary medical help that you or someone else needs is on its way.
When you’re in an accident with a commercial motor vehicle, you’ll almost certainly be shaken up. That’s understandable. These are scary incidents and you’ll probably feel lucky to be alive. But, as difficult as it is, you’ll need to keep your wits about you and act quickly to collect evidence.
The most important pieces of evidence and information to collect at the scene of the accident are:
- Photographs of the scene and all involved vehicles (you can use your phone for this.)
- The names and contact info of all witnesses to the accident
- The name and insurance information of the driver of the commercial truck
- The name of the company he or she drives for
If you’re not sure if something is important or not, take a picture of it. It’s better to have the photo and not need it than to need the photo and not have it.
Hire a Qualified Attorney
More than anything else, it’s extremely important that you contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Even if you don’t think you’ll need a lawyer, you should contact one just in case it turns out you’re incorrect about that assumption.
You may not notice an injury until some time after the accident. The other driver may decide to proceed against you in court. Any number of things could happen that will require you to be represented by experienced counsel.
Hiring an attorney early in the process ensures that the lawyer can do everything in his or her power to preserve evidence. They can compel access to the commercial truck driver’s logbook to see if he or she was within the working time limits imposed by Pennsylvania and federal regulations. They can obtain access to the driving history of the commercial truck driver and find out if he or she has a history of getting into traffic accidents or any criminal convictions for driving-related offenses. An experienced attorney may also seek to download information from an electronic data recorder (sometimes referred to as a “black box”). These data recorders may contain information pertaining to the speed of the commercial vehicle in the moments leading up to the collision. These recorders also often contain information pertaining to whether brakes were activated, what gear the truck was in, and so on. Preserving and obtaining this evidence can be crucial to your case.
Time is of the essence when you’re in an accident with a commercial truck. While you’ll undoubtedly have to ensure your own safety and well-being before you do anything else, the next most important things to do are to build the factual foundation on which any future legal claims will rely.
By taking photographs, collecting info, and obtaining experienced legal counsel, you’ll help protect any evidence.
Finally, we wish to emphasize, one last time, just how important it is to hire an attorney as soon as reasonably possible. Having a lawyer in your corner from the beginning of the process will help ensure that no evidence is lost and that your position is as strong as it can possibly be. You can be assured that the commercial trucking company has claims adjusters or attorneys working on its behalf immediately after a collision. We, at Marcus & Mack, would love to help if you have any questions so feel free to contact us today.