Because of the size of a large truck in comparison to a car, an accident involving a large truck can cause serious injuries to drivers of passenger vehicles. It is not unusual for these accidents to result in a permanent injury or even death.
In 2012, Pennsylvania contributed almost 4.6% to the nation’s total fatal truck accidents, which was the fourth most in the country. Fatal truck accidents made up nearly one-tenth of the fatal traffic accidents in the state.
Victims of car accidents that involve large trucks should take certain steps after the accident to preserve their rights and pursue fair compensation for their damages if the truck driver is to blame for the accident. These cases involve not only the truck driver, but may involve the trucking company that’s responsible for its employee’s actions.
Basic Steps after a Truck Accident
If involved in a wreck with a large truck, take similar steps as you would after an accident with any other vehicle. For example, Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code §3744 requires drivers involved in a wreck render aid and share their information with other drivers involved and the police. It also requires you report the accident to the police, so be sure to dial 9-1-1.
Other basic steps include:
- obtain photos of the scene;
- only move your vehicle if able to safely do so;
- gather witness contact information; and
- contact your insurance company.
Also see a doctor for a medical evaluation, even if you don’t feel injured. You will need to take additional steps to protect your liability claim from the trucking company and its insurance company or lawyers.
How to Protect Yourself from the Trucking Company
If you sustained serious injuries in the accident, talk to an attorney about representation. A lawyer can be very helpful when pursuing what may be a complicated case against the trucking company for its driver’s negligent acts.
Avoid any discussions with the trucking company or its insurance company or lawyers. If they request a statement, refer them to your own attorney, or speak with your attorney before providing any statements.
One of the most important steps to take if involved in a truck accident is to collect evidence that’s in the trucking company’s possession. The driver’s hours-of-service logbook, for example, shows how many hours the driver spent behind the wheel and on duty and if he or she violated federal protocol. The driver’s qualification file may present evidence of poor hiring practices or a history of drug and alcohol violations.
Your lawyer may send a spoliation letter to the trucking company to prevent destruction of these documents and other evidence, even the truck itself.
Hire a Lawyer Familiar with Trucking Accidents
When seeking legal representation, find a law firm that has handled cases involving trucking companies. If you live in Doylestown or nearby, consult with an attorney at Cordisco & Saile LLC. Call 215-642-2335 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.