Sharing our roads with vehicles of all sizes is a fact of life, both on the freeways and in our neighborhoods. Accidents with large types of vehicles are particularly complex, as they are often caused by many factors and involve multiple parties. Trucks fall into several categories from passenger or delivery vans to heavy haulers for moving oversized loads.
How to protect yourself and your rights after a crash with a large vehicle
- Stop and report the accident. Safely remove your vehicle from the road and turn hazard lights on. Place cones around your vehicle and light road flares to alert drivers of your position and avoid another accident. Do not leave the scene of the crash. In the event of death or injury, call 911 immediately. Otherwise, call the police or state highway patrol, and responding officers will assess the situation and file an accident report. Request a copy of this report to use in future legal proceedings.
- Seek medical attention. Your adrenaline and shock may prevent you from noticing your own injuries, so it is important to seek a professional medical assessment immediately. If you are not treated at the scene of the crash, visit your doctor as soon as possible. Failure to seek treatment or follow through with doctor recommendations can also impact your ability to receive injury compensation later.
- Identify other parties involved. Take notes of identifying marks or signs on all vehicles involved. The truck driver, the company they represent, and other drivers may be liable for injuries and damages, depending on their role in the collision.
- Exchange contact information. Document the following information for all parties: the driver’s name, address, phone number, email address, insurance company and policy information, driver’s license number and vehicle registration number. Record contact information for the truck driver’s employer and any witnesses present.
- Document the scene. Take photos from multiple angles. Document damages, injuries, positions of all vehicles involved, and any traffic signs or distinguishing landmarks at the scene. Gather as many witness statements as possible while the incident is still fresh in their minds, as they may be helpful in providing testimony for your case. Check the accident report for officer-interviewed witnesses whom you may have missed.
- Speak wisely. Anything you say can be used against you, so do not volunteer any information to insurance adjusters that is not completely necessary. Speak with an attorney beforehand to get advice on what to say. Remember that you are required to cooperate, but you are not required to give a recorded or written statement to the insurance company.
- Contact a personal injury attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for any injuries or damages that resulted from the crash, and lawyers who specialize in this practice are crucial in helping you proceed to achieve justice.
Common trucks and large vehicles
- Bus or van
- Flatbed truck
- Cement mixer
- Ice cream truck
- Motor home
- Sport utility vehicle
- Tow truck
- Garbage truck
We never want to imagine a collision – especially with large vehicles. Unfortunately, when they do occur, they can be life-changing. Safe defensive driving is always the best course, but if an accident happens, you will be wise to protect yourself and your family with an informed response.