What to Do After a Commercial Vehicle Accident

Building a Commercial Vehicle Accident Case | Patrick Daniel Law
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The aftermath of any vehicle accident is traumatic. Even a seemingly simple fender-bender can become complicated if you are seriously hurt.

It is crucial to know your rights and take steps to protect them after any accident. However, accidents with commercial vehicles come with a number of unique challenges.

If you have been injured in a collision with a semi-truck, a rideshare car, or another vehicle used for business purposes, it is important to consult a commercial vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible. Additional steps you should take after an accident with a commercial vehicle include:

1. Seek Medical Attention

After any accident, it can be difficult to know how seriously you have been injured. The adrenaline after the crash and the slow onset of certain symptoms can mask potentially severe trauma.

Therefore, it is in your best interest to call 911 immediately after the accident. Report any visible and/or palpable injuries to the dispatcher (e.g., pain, bleeding, broken bones, etc.) and ask for rescue workers to respond to the scene.

Upon assessing your injuries, the paramedics may recommend that you be taken to the emergency room for treatment. If this is the case, your first priority should be to receive care.

Alternatively, the paramedics may treat your injuries at the scene and release you. Although you should still go to the emergency room as soon as possible after leaving the accident site, there are additional steps you can take to start building your claim.

2. Document the Accident Scene

Many commercial drivers are employed by large corporations. As such, the defendant(s) in commercial vehicle accident claims have significantly more money and resources than the at-fault parties in most other types of collisions.

Some commercial carriers hire teams of accident investigators whose job it is to report to crash scenes as soon as possible, collect evidence, and take possession of any company property (including the commercial vehicle). This leaves you little time to document the accident yourself.

Therefore, while you are at the accident scene, it is important to do the following:

  • Photograph the vehicles involved, including the damage from the crash and any identifying marks (license plates, logos, etc.)
  • Make note of the accident location using street names, highway mile markers, and/or nearby landmarks for reference
  • Look for key features surrounding the accident scene, such as traffic lights, stop signs, etc., and take photos of their position relative to the crash
  • Take pictures of accident debris, damage to the road, and (if applicable) cargo that fell off of the commercial vehicle
  • Photograph your injuries and the injuries suffered by other vehicle occupants

Professional accident investigators know what to look for at the scene. Although you may not capture every detail, any notes and photos you take will help should you decide to pursue an accident claim.

3. Exchange Information with the Commercial Driver

You already know how important it is to exchange information after a car accident. While the process is similar after a commercial vehicle accident, there are some notable differences.

Keep the following in mind as you record information from the commercial driver:

  • You still need the driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information.
  • If you are unsure what kind of vehicle the driver operates, ask. (I.e., while you may note that a “semi-truck” was involved in the accident, a truck driver can tell you the specific make and model.)
  • Get the name and contact information for the employer of the commercial driver.
  • Ask the commercial driver for both his or her personal liability insurance as well as insurance information for the employer.

One of the most complicated aspects of a commercial vehicle accident claim is the number of parties that may be involved. The driver, his/her employer, and other parties may all be at fault.

So, in truck accident claims and other types of commercial vehicle crashes, it is crucial to have an accurate record of who was involved. This information will enable your attorney to pursue action on your behalf against all of the at-fault parties.

4. Interview Witnesses to the Accident

Eyewitness testimony can support your claim against the commercial driver. However, witnesses may not linger at the scene of the accident for long. It is important to talk to anyone in the vicinity of the crash as soon as possible.

Ask each witness to describe what they saw. You should also get their name and contact information so your lawyer can follow up as your case progresses.

5. Provide a Statement to the Police

Many commercial vehicles (including semi-trucks, delivery vans, buses, and more) are larger and heavier than the average passenger vehicle. As a result, it is tragically common for the occupants of passenger vehicles to suffer serious injuries in crashes with commercial vehicles.

If you were injured or someone was killed in the collision, you are required by law to report the accident to the police. Generally, it is best to ask for the police to respond when you first call 911.

The police will investigate the scene of the accident and ask the individuals involved to make a statement. When making your statement, share any details about what happened in the moments before and during the crash. If you observed the commercial driver behaving carelessly (e.g., speeding, texting and driving, following you too closely, etc.), tell the police officer what you saw.

6. Speak to a Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney

Recovering from your injuries is only the beginning of taking back your life after an accident with a commercial vehicle. Many commercial carriers have teams of employees whose job it is to handle accident claims – generally by paying less than what the claims are worth.

Given the difference in size and resources between the claimant and these companies, it is in your best interest to contact a commercial vehicle accident lawyer for assistance with your claim. An experienced attorney can help with multiple aspects of your case, including:

  • Investigating the accident and gathering evidence
  • Determining the cause of the accident
  • Identifying all of the parties responsible
  • Filing a claim with one or more insurance companies on your behalf
  • Negotiating a fair settlement with the defendant(s)
  • Taking your case to trial if a settlement cannot be reached

The benefit of hiring an attorney after a commercial vehicle accident is having a qualified advocate in your corner. Without legal representation, it may be difficult to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Injured by a Truck or Other Commercial Vehicle? Our Attorneys Can Help

At Patrick Daniel Law, we recognize the challenges faced by the victims of commercial vehicle accidents. Our lawyers have extensive experience handling truck accident claims and other cases involving commercial drivers.

We are Strategic, Meticulous, and Merciless in our efforts to pursue compensation for our clients’ losses after a crash. Our approach is defined by thorough investigation, individualized legal strategy, and aggressive representation of your rights and interests.

Please call Patrick Daniel Law at (713) 999-6666 today for a free case review. Our commercial vehicle accident attorneys serve clients in Houston, throughout Texas, and nationwide.

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