What if I’ve Been Involved in an Accident with a Tractor-trailer?
After you are involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, it is important to immediately look around and assess the situation. Are you and the others in your vehicle injured? Are you able to exit the vehicle safely? Remaining calm, and thinking as clearly as possible, are crucial during those first few minutes after an accident.
Make sure that the police are called, and that they are en route to the scene.
Since tractor-trailers are so large and imposing, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately if you are injured. Once the police arrive, you will most likely be offered the services of emergency medical personnel and an ambulance. It is generally a very good idea to accept those services, since it is not uncommon to be unaware of any injuries that you may have suffered in the accident, due to the shock of the incident itself. All of the individuals in your vehicle should agree to be examined.
If anyone feels that they may have been injured, a trip to the hospital emergency department is the smartest and most sensible thing to do.
If you are able, while at the scene, take photos of the truck involved, including the license plate and any identifying markings on the tractor and the trailer. If you are able to see whether the tractor is equipped with a camera, that is another important piece of information that assists your attorney in working up the case. Many people are not aware that it is very common in the trucking industry for the tractor to be owned and operated by a separate entity from that which owns the trailer. Your attorney needs to have information regarding both entities, as there will most likely be claims against both companies.
You should also take photographs of your own vehicle, including photos of the damaged areas and your license plate, for identification purposes. When the police officers arrive, make note from where the responding officers were dispatched—city, municipality, state police barracks, etc.
Remain as calm as possible, and follow the officer’s instructions. Police officers are trained to manage accident scenes, and they are in the best position to assess the situation and to ensure that all safety precautions are put into place.