Accidents with 18-wheeler vehicles are not something most motorists ever plan for. If you are involved in a wreck, then chances are you will feel scared and disoriented afterwards. In this confused state, you are highly susceptible to making bad decisions. However, it is important to remember to avoid these seven common mistakes, any one of which can be detrimental to your health and safety or any legal claims you plan to make
DON’T LEAVE THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT
You may be frightened or dazed after the accident, and your first instinct may be to get back into your car and drive to a location you perceive as safe. However, if you do this you are putting at risk both your safety and your legal rights. Remember, you are probably in shock after the accident and so may not be aware of injuries you have sustained. Additionally, in a worst case scenario, you may be charged as a hit and run driver for leaving the site of the accident. The best thing you can do after an accident is stay calm, move to a nearby location that is safe and centralized, and wait for help to arrive.
DON’T NEGLECT TO CALL THE POLICE
Don’t assume that someone else has already placed a call to the police, and don’t make the mistake of thinking that exchanging insurance information with the other driver is enough. Call the police and wait for them to arrive. An officer will take information from all parties involved and create an official record of the accident which will be vital if the case goes to court.
DON’T MAKE STATEMENTS ADMITTING FAULT OR ABSOLVING THE OTHER DRIVER OF FAULT
Statements like these will also be going down on the official record that the police officer on the scene is creating, potentially making it difficult to get the legal compensation you are due. When giving your statement about the accident, try to remain as objective as possible. Explain what happened as you saw it, and if you don’t know something then don’t be afraid to admit that.
DON’T FORGET TO GET THE OTHER DRIVER’S INFORMATION
After the accident, make sure you get as much of the following information from the other driver as possible: name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number, and license plate number. This is an important step for filing an insurance claim. If you fail to get all the required information, it can delay your claim or even let the other driver escape without being held responsible.
DON’T PUT OFF DOCUMENTING THE DAMAGE
Take pictures of the scene of the accident and the damage to your vehicle. This is an important step because it allows you to have a backup copy of some evidence on hand. Don’t attempt to get your vehicle repaired until you have consulted with the police, your insurance company, and your legal representative if you are retaining one.
DON’T IGNORE INJURIES OR REFUSE MEDICAL HELP
Even if you feel like you only have a few bumps and bruises, it is best to undergo a medical examination as soon as possible. If medical personnel are present at the scene, don’t refuse help. Many injuries such as whiplash do not manifest immediately. By the time they do, you may have already filed a report with the police and reported the accident to your insurance company, making it difficult to add more information to the official statement.
DON’T HESITATE TO GET LEGAL REPRESENTATION
If your accident has caused you substantial pain, suffering, or financial damage, then one of the best things you can do is get legal representation. An auto accident lawyer who has had experience with accidents similar to yours will be able to help you get the compensation you are due and take the burden of dealing with insurance agencies off your shoulders. This can be a big help in ensuring your mental and emotional wellbeing after the accident.
If you are lucky, you will never have to deal with the aftermath of an accident with an 18-wheeler. However, if you do, it is important to remain as calm and clear-headed as possible. You will probably be very shaken up by the crash, but making the right choices early on can be vital to ensuring you get the medical and legal help that you need.