Next Steps After a Truck Accident
December 3, 2020

What to Do After a Big Rig Truck Accident

Confusion often defines the scene of a crash when a semi truck is involved. These accidents may result in damage to multiple vehicles, with the occupants often sustaining serious injuries.

With this in mind, the first thing to do after an accident with a big rig is to call 911 for help. Emergency personnel will assess your injuries and may transport you to the hospital. You should also consider contacting a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

If you are treated at the scene of the accident and released, there are additional steps you can take to begin building a claim against the truck driver and other parties.

Studinski Law, LLC can help whether you were able to collect evidence at the scene of the accident or had to be taken straight to the hospital. Please call (715) 343-2850 today for a free case evaluation.

1. Take Pictures of the Scene

Trucking companies and their insurance carriers will send investigators to the scene of the accident as soon as possible. These investigators will take extensive photos of the crash that the companies can use to defend against potential claims.

If you are physically able to stay at the accident scene, you should take steps to document the crash site as well. Be sure to take photos of the following:

  • The damage to your vehicle, the semi truck, and other vehicles involved in the accident
  • The positioning of the vehicles
  • The layout of the road or intersection where the truck accident took place
  • Damage to the road surface (ex: skid marks), debris in the road, and damage to surrounding structures (ex: guardrails, retaining walls, etc.)
  • Road signs and/or traffic lights in the immediate vicinity
  • Your injuries and the injuries suffered by your passengers

The photos you take should also capture conditions at the scene. Make sure your pictures reflect the weather, lighting conditions, and traffic at the time of the truck accident.

2. Exchange Information with All Drivers

As with the aftermath of any motor vehicle accident, you need to know all parties involved in the semi truck collision. It is crucial to get information not only from the truck driver but the drivers of other vehicles as well.

Whether you write down the information or take pictures of documents using your smartphone, get the following important information if you can:

  • Names: Ask for the first and last names for drivers and passengers of all vehicles.
  • Contact information: Get the address, phone number(s), and/or email address for each vehicle occupant.
  • Driver’s license number: The driver of the big rig should have a valid commercial driver license – it will look different than your driver’s license.
  • Information about the vehicle: Ask the driver if you are unsure of the year, make, and model.
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN): The VIN may be visible on a sticker on the interior of the driver’s side door and/or on the dashboard where the dash meets the windshield (looking in at the driver’s side of the vehicle). You can also find the VIN on the driver’s vehicle registration.
  • Insurance information: In addition to obtaining the name and contact information for the truck driver’s insurance carrier, ask who the driver’s employer is and get the insurance information for the trucking company.
  • The license plate number for each vehicle involved in the crash: If the license plates fall off of the vehicles or become damaged in the truck accident, the numbers are also located on the driver’s registration and insurance card.

The goal of exchanging information after an accident is twofold. First, you will be able to identify who was involved in the crash. Second, when you file a claim, you will have the information for the party or parties that may be liable for your injuries.

If you are not able to get this information at the scene, whether because you were immediately transported or because access was limited by law enforcement, your lawyers can get this information later.

3. Give a Statement to the Police

In Wisconsin, the police must be called to the scene of any accident where someone is injured or killed, where $1,000 or more in damage to personal property occurs, or where $200 or more in damage to government property occurs. Truck accident claims usually meet some, if not all, of these criteria.

Generally, it is in your best interest to call 911 and ask for the police to respond after any accident. The officer will ask for your statement, and you should comply with this request.

It is natural to feel rattled after any accident. You may be afraid of leaving out a key detail, or saying something that may indicate you were partially at fault for the crash. Before answering any questions, take a moment to collect your thoughts.

When giving your statement, be honest. In addition to answering any questions the officer may have, share anything you remember immediately before the accident, such as the truck driver speeding, other drivers behaving erratically, etc. Don’t guess at anything if you don’t know or don’t remember.

Our lawyers will obtain a copy of the police report on your behalf. In addition to your statement, we will assess the information provided by other drivers involved in the accident, witness statements, and more in order to build a strong case.

4. Speak to Witnesses

Witness testimony can play a crucial role in building your claim. One or more witnesses may have seen the big rig truck and the other vehicles in the moments before the accident, as well as what happened when the crash occurred.

However, these individuals likely won’t stay at the scene for long. Their names may appear in the police report, but tracking witnesses down after the fact is extremely difficult without a record of who they are and how to reach them. Furthermore, witnesses’ memories become less accurate and specific over time.

So, if you can talk to witnesses at the scene of the truck accident, it is important to get their accounts when they are “fresh.” In addition to taking notes on their testimony, ask for each witness’s name and contact information. Our team can follow up with witnesses from the scene in building your accident claim.

5. Seek Medical Attention

Finally, even if the paramedics evaluate your injuries after the accident and release you at the scene, you should still seek medical care as soon as possible. A wide range of serious injuries may not be visible and exhibit little to no symptoms.

By seeking medical care immediately after leaving the scene of the truck accident, you will reduce your risk of complications from injuries such as:

Some of these injuries represent medical emergencies. Others can get worse over time without prompt intervention.

Therefore, it is in your best interest to see a doctor as soon as possible after being injured in a truck accident. Our lawyers will thoroughly review your medical records and hire experts to assess the extent of your injuries and calculate the damages you may be entitled to recover.

Read More About What to Do After a Truck Accident.

Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers Today

If you have been injured in a big rig accident, is it important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The team at Studinski Law, LLC will use any information you gather from the scene as the foundation for a thorough investigation of the crash.

At Studinski Law, LLC, we do more so you get more. Our truck accident lawyers take on the burden of your case so you can focus on getting better.

For a free case review, please call (715) 343-2850 today. Our big rig truck accident attorneys serve clients in Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, Wausau, Plover, Marshfield, and throughout Wisconsin.

Jason Studinski Injury Attorney
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