If you drive a passenger vehicle, getting into a commercial truck accident can leave you or your passengers shaky, severely injured or dead. In such an accident, the chances of someone in your passenger car being killed is much higher than that of someone in the commercial truck. Sadly, the complexities of the situation don’t stop with the physics of the car accident.
Common Injuries and Causes
Common injuries in commercial truck accidents are those to the back, neck and spinal cord as well as the head and brain. Accident victims can also suffer burns, amputation, disfigurement and other internal injuries. The sheer mass of semi-truck trailers, which can be 7 or 8 times greater than a passenger car, multiplies the forces of the crash and therefore makes serve injury more likely than in car-to-car crashes. Many of the common causes of semi-truck accidents involve either the driver’s or driver’s company’s behavior. Driver fatigue, distracted driving, alcohol use, drug use and speeding are driver behaviors that contribute to these accidents. Poor training, poor truck maintenance and improper cargo loading are behaviors of either party that can also contribute.
Multiple Involved Parties
One of the biggest challenges in a crash between a passenger car and a semi-truck where the passenger car’s driver is either not at fault or is only partially at fault is the sheer number of parties involved on the truck driver’s side. Besides the driver of the commercial truck, other parties that may be involved are the truck’s owner, the driver’s employer, the loader or shipper of the truck’s cargo or the truck’s manufacturer. Relationships among these parties can get complicated depending upon whether or not the driver is an employee or an independent contractor, who loaded the truck and who is responsible for the cargo.
Steps to Take
After an accident, it is important for you to call the police if you are able. If you are not able, the police will likely be called into the matter due to the severity of the accident. After calling the police, if you are physically able to do so, take photos of the accident scene and get witness statements from as many people as possible. Get full contact information from the other driver and any witnesses as well as details regarding the driver’s employer. The police will also do this, but it can help to have your own documentation. Then, seek a full medical evaluation even if you’ve been examined by a medical technician at the scene. Finally, get your vehicle appraised, but do not get it repaired immediately. Make sure you have all the information required by your insurance before you seek any type of repair.
What Not to Do
Even if you feel you may have caused the accident, don’t admit fault or liability, and keep your cool. Don’t talk to anyone’s insurance company. Instead, call a lawyer with expertise in truck-involved crashes, and push all communication through your lawyer. Don’t comment on online articles related to the accident nor post to any social media.
Being involved in a truck-involved crash comes with much complexity. Basic understanding of the complexity and following good practices after the accident can go a long way in helping you pursue any necessary legal action.