Everyone knows the stress and anxiety that can come along with sharing the road with large commercial trucks. These lumbering vehicles can weigh 80,000 pounds when fully loaded and stretch lengths of 80 feet.
These mammoth vehicles have large blind spots, and it can be hard to anticipate their next move.
The end result is that many motorists fear driving near semi-trucks, and based on the potential consequences of a crash with such a giant—this fear is justified.
How Common Are Truck Accidents?
According to the National Safety Council, there were approximately 118,000 trucks involved in accidents in 2019. This amounts to about 323 truck accidents per day nationwide.
While this figure may seem high on its own, when put into context, it’s even more startling. For example, large trucks make up only 4% of the total number of vehicles on the road, yet they account for 10% of traffic fatalities.
The situation in Virginia is no better. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reports that, in 2020, there were 58 fatal truck accidents and another 717 truck accidents resulting in injury.
Thus, while truck accidents make up only 2.2% of all traffic collisions, they are responsible for almost 7% of fatal accidents.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
While truck accidents are relatively common, few motorists know what they should do after an accident.
If followed, the list of steps below will help ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the appropriate medical care after an accident.
Call 911 to Report the Accident
The first thing to do after a truck accident is call 911. By reporting the accident, you accomplish two things.
First, the 911 operator will send out an emergency medical team to determine if anyone involved in the collision needs medical care. Second, by reporting the accident, you create an official record of the incident.
This can make it harder for the truck driver, their employer, or their insurance company to claim that the accident never occurred.
Take Pictures and Talk to Witnesses Before Leaving the Scene
Some truck accidents result in severe injury, where motorists are unable to do anything besides wait for help. Your health and welfare at that point are of the highest priority.
But if you can, it’s important to gather whatever evidence you can from the scene. If you’re not too badly injured, you may be able to do this yourself.
But if you suspect any injury, it’s best to have someone else—like an uninjured passenger or witness—gather this evidence for you. For example, you can use your phone to take pictures of the scene.
Be sure to focus on the relative position of the vehicles, vehicle damage, street signs, traffic lights, lane markings, skid marks, and weather conditions in the immediate area.
Finally, if anyone witnessed the accident, ask them for their contact information. Obtaining this evidence can help you prove your case in a subsequent Virginia truck accident lawsuit.
Seek Medical Attention
Once you report a truck accident, emergency medical responders will arrive on the scene. It’s likely they will ask if you want to go to the hospital, which you should consider given the severity of your injuries.
If you have not received care at the scene of the accident, if you have any pain or problems afterward immediately report it and visit your primary care provider, an urgent care clinic, or the emergency room as soon as you can.
Obtaining immediate medical care after an accident is important to make sure your health issues are not a more serious underlying problem, and because the treatment records generated during your visit can serve as proof of your injuries.
Be Careful Who You Talk to About the Accident
Shortly after the accident, one or more insurance company representatives will likely reach out to you. When talking to the insurance company—even your own insurance company—remember that they are not on your side.
No matter how friendly they may sound, insurance company adjusters are always looking for ways to save the company money by reducing the value of an accident victim’s claim.
Often, they do this by offering to help the victim by talking to them about the crash. Make no mistake, during this seemingly innocent conversation, the adjuster is hoping that you will divulge potentially harmful information about your case.
It is far better to avoid speaking with them. Instead, refer them to your lawyer and let your legal representative, who is used to insurance company tactics, do the talking for you.
Reach Out to an Experienced Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer
When you are ready, the next step is to contact a truck accident lawyer to discuss your options. An attorney can provide you with an honest assessment of your case, so you can make the best decision for yourself and your family.
Your lawyer can also explain what you need to prove if you brought a claim and how much compensation you may be able to obtain.
Have You Suffered a Virginia Truck Accident Injury?
If you or a loved one was recently involved in a truck accident in Virginia, reach out to River Run Law. At River Run Law, we’ve recovered millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of our clients through our dedicated advocacy.
We handle all types of cases, including workplace accidents, motor vehicle accidents, slip-and-falls, dog bites, and everything in-between.
To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with a Virginia truck accident lawyer, reach out to River Run Law at 804-552-5433 today. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.