As a big state with plenty of open roads, Texas has many registered commercial trucks and tractor trailers. Unfortunately, the state also has the highest number of truck accidents of any state. More than 500 trucks were involved in fatal accidents in Texas — more than twice as many as the second highest state. In fact, one out of every seven fatal truck accidents in the U.S. occurred on Texas roads and highways.
Commercial trucks are far heavier than other vehicles on the road, so the damage done in a crash is often significant to other motorists involved in the accident.
We hope you never get into an accident with an 18-wheeler. But if you are a motorist in Texas, you should know what steps to take after a collision involving a large truck to protect yourself and get the help you need.
Summon the Police
It’s important to call the police immediately after a truck accident, even if you believe you or your passengers are uninjured. Sometimes, you won’t discover injuries or damage to your vehicle until later, so it’s better to be safe and file a report.
A police report provides a detailed description of the accident and is a critical piece of evidence in an insurance claim. You should be able to obtain a copy of the accident report within one or two days and make sure to get the officer’s name in case you need to contact him or her. Don’t let a truck driver talk you out of calling the police.
Exchange License and Insurance Information
Exchange license numbers, insurance information, and contact information with the truck driver. It is a good idea to keep your emotions in check and remain cordial. It’s important never to apologize for the accident or discuss details of the accident, particularly who was at fault. You also shouldn’t disclose anything about your own injuries or say you are unharmed. Doing so could damage a future claim.
Take Photos of the Accident Scene
Right after the accident is the best time to gather information. If you have a camera or a cell phone, take photos of any damage to the vehicles, traffic signals, debris, skid marks, and any other evidence that could be important to proving how the accident happened. Also, take photos of both license plates and any visible injuries you may have. Make sure to do all this before the vehicles are moved.
Seek a Medical Evaluation
If you have severe injuries, you will be transported by ambulance directly to the hospital trauma center. However, even if you think your injuries are very slight, you should go to the doctor as soon as possible for a medical evaluation. A doctor can provide crucial evidence as to the nature of your injuries and how these injuries are the result of the impact of the truck accident. Be sure to tell your doctor that you were in an accident before you are evaluated so this information is in your record. Follow your doctor’s orders to the letter.
Contact Your Insurer
Within 24 hours of the truck accident, notify your insurance company or have someone else do so if you are unable. Document your conversation, including the essentials of what was said, the name of the employee you spoke with, and when the conversation took place. Trucking companies are required to carry much higher amounts of liability insurance than passenger vehicles because of the potential harm they can cause. If you are contacted by the trucking company’s insurance agent, do not agree to a recorded statement until you speak to a lawyer. If you get a settlement offer, do not sign anything without having the offer reviewed by a lawyer. Generally, the first settlement offer is only a fraction of the amount that should be paid in damages. Don’t become a victim of this practice; get legal help.
Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
An experienced Texas truck accident lawyer will evaluate your case, and help you to pursue the compensation you deserve following a truck accident. At Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., we work with traffic reconstruction experts who provide insight into how truck accidents occur, allowing us to present a powerful case on your behalf. If you have been injured as the result of negligence by a truck driver in Texas, contact us at 844-426-3000 to get the help you need.
- Dmv.org: Post-Accident Checklist
- Dmv.org: How to File an Accident Report with the Police
- Consumer Reports: When to Report a Car Accident to an Insurance Company