Accidents involving tractor-trailers can be frightening and often result in serious injuries. These massive vehicles can cause extensive damage to smaller cars, and the people inside may face severe consequences. The National Safety Council estimates that over 180,000 people get hurt each year in semi-truck accidents.
If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you might be in shock and unsure of the next steps to take. In the midst of panic and confusion, having a clear plan of action can be a lifesaver.
Ensure your safety
First and foremost, check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If you can do so safely, move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic to avoid further accidents. If you cannot move the vehicle, stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until help arrives. Call emergency services right away, as immediate medical attention may be necessary, even if injuries are not apparent.
Report the accident
Once you have ensured everyone’s safety, call the police. They will file an accident report, which can be essential later on. Provide an accurate account of what happened, but avoid admitting fault or placing blame at the scene. The police will conduct their investigation to determine the cause of the accident.
While waiting for the police, if you can do so safely, gather information from the other driver. This information should include the driver’s name, contact information, license number and insurance details. If there are any witnesses, try to get their contact information as well. Take photos of the scene, including damage to both vehicles, skid marks, traffic signs and any other relevant details.
Seek medical attention
Even if you feel fine, seeing a healthcare provider as soon as possible after the accident is important. Some injuries might not show symptoms immediately but could have long-term effects if left untreated. A healthcare provider will assess your condition and document any injuries related to the accident.
Notify your insurance company
Contact your insurance company to report the accident. Provide them with the information you gathered at the scene, and follow their instructions on filing a claim.
Being involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer can be an overwhelming experience. Your actions in the immediate aftermath of the collision can significantly impact your recovery and the resolution of any related issues. Being informed and prepared can make a difficult experience more manageable.