Any wreck or collision can be traumatic, but 18-wheeler wrecks are an entirely different story. The likelihood of serious bodily injury and death is greater in 18-wheeler accidents, and survivors usually require a long road to recovery, assuming that they ever truly recover. So that raises the question: what should you do if you are in a wreck caused by an 18-wheeler? Here are the top five things you should do if you are in a wreck with an 18-wheeler.
Call for medical assistance.
Assuming you are able, call for medical and police assistance ASAP. Considering the size and weight of 18-wheelers, these types of collisions often lead to serious bodily injury or death. The chances of both go up incredibly when you start talking about the various conditions of the road and drivers (slippery roads, truck drivers speeding, etc.). It’s important that emergency medical services are contacted to ensure that everyone receives adequate treatment.
Communicate with law enforcement.
As soon as possible, and especially if you are uninjured, it’s important to speak with local law enforcement. Ideally, this will happen before emergency medical assistance arrives; however, it is not unusual for injured persons to speak to them later. The important thing is that someone speaks with local law enforcement, and gives them a complete, accurate, and honest account of what happened during the collision. Giving them a full and truthful account of what happened will help later on, especially by assisting the officer as she generates and files her official accident report.
Collect as much information about the wreck as possible.
Make sure that you or someone you know begins gathering as much information as quickly as possible. One of the best things to do is use a cell phone to take pictures of the scene and vehicles. Take as many pictures as possible of as many things as possible from as many angles as possible. This includes not just the vehicles involved, but any other vehicles that may have been nearby when the collision occurred. Also be sure to take pictures of any nearby stationary objects, such as lights, guardrails, and the road itself.
It's also important to gather as much information from people who witnessed the collision. If a person is not willing to give a statement, try to get as much of their personal information as possible so that someone can try and contact them later.
Get as much information about the other driver as possible. You should always be able to get the other driver’s phone number, insurance information, license information, license plate, information about the cab and cargo, and (of course) the other driver’s name and contact information. Note that in Mississippi, it is perfectly legal to record someone when you are talking with them, and it is not unusual for the other driver to admit fault shortly after the collision but deny it later on. If a picture is worth a thousand words, recordings are worth a million.
Gather as much post-wreck information for your lawyer.
18-wheeler wrecks cause a lot more damage than normal wrecks. Because of that, the compensation and settlement amounts tend to be significantly higher, since the collision can lead to property damage, serious bodily injury, and death.
Going with the last tip, you (or your lawyer) need to get as much information about how the wreck affected you. This will typically include getting a copy of your medical records, medical bills, information concerning the time that you missed from work, and how the wreck affected your quality of life. All of this information is critical for building your case, as well as making sure that your attorney can maximize your recovery.
Seek legal advice.
Let’s be honest, no one really wants to talk to a lawyer unless they absolutely must. When it comes to 18-wheeler wrecks, I always tell people that even if they don’t end up hiring us, it’s important that they hire a lawyer ASAP (and when I say ASAP, I mean literally the day that the wreck happens). A good lawyer will be able to give you top-notch advice and provide you with guidance when it comes to navigating your claim. Another good thing about having a lawyer is that they will protect you from being bullied or taken advantage of by the 18-wheeler’s insurance company. Remember, even if the other driver admits fault and even if the insurance company says that they want to pay you, that doesn’t mean that they are looking out for your best interest. Usually, it is quite the opposite. An experienced attorney who handles 18-wheeler collisions will use all of their experience to help you maximize your recovery.
The important thing to remember is that when it comes to 18-wheeler wrecks, whether in or outside of Mississippi, it is important to get as much information as possible, as quickly as possible, and make sure that you have the best lawyer to represent your interests and fight for you.
If you or a loved one have been hurt in an 18-wheeler wreck, help is only a phone call away contact us 662-545-4445.