The unthinkable has happened, and you’ve been in an accident with a tractor-trailer. Getting hit by a semi-truck can be a scary experience that results in serious property damage and the potential for severe injuries and even fatalities. Learn more about getting hit by a semi truck and what may happen in the aftermath.
Why Is Getting Hit By A Semi Different Than A Car Accident?
Accidents involving cars and smaller trucks can be hazardous on their own, but the sheer size of a semi-truck can cause an accident to be even more dangerous. So, when a commercial tractor-trailer is involved, there’s a good chance that what might have been a mild accident with smaller vehicles would be more hazardous. Plus, add that tractor-trailers are often loaded with contents that not only add to the vehicle’s weight but could potentially be hazardous materials.
There’s also the added complication of liability, as commercial vehicle liability may fall on more than just the driver depending on the circumstances. Not only are there several parties that could be held liable, but the state and federal laws that cover commercial trucks can be different compared to passenger vehicles. Multiple agencies could also investigate your accident, and more than one legal jurisdiction could be involved adding to the complication of accidents involving semis.
Wondering What To Do After Getting Hit By A Semi Truck?
You may feel out of it after an accident where you start going into shock, but it’s essential to try to follow these tips if you safely can. Here’s what you should do. The first thing you should do after getting hit by a semi truck is to determine if you or your passenger are injured. Next, you’ll want to call the police and report your accident as per Pennsylvania law when at least one vehicle cannot be driven, or there is an injury or a fatality. You’ll want to request an ambulance if you know of any injuries.
Once this is done, it can be beneficial to start gathering evidence if you can safely do so. Some actions to take to help in your case include:
- Take pictures of the scene with your cell phone, including your vehicle and the other vehicles involved being sure to document any damage and get their license plates. You’ll also want to document the scene, such as the roadway where it occurred, any traffic signs or signals, the weather, and anything else of note.
- Before they leave, get information from any witnesses, such as their name, phone number, and address.
- You’ll also want to exchange information with the other drivers. You’ll want to get their name, driver’s license information, address, phone number, trucking company information, and insurance information. The police can assist in this step if you feel uncomfortable.
- Also, get all of the information from the investigators, such as their names, badge number, contact information, and the agency they work for, in case there are several investigators on the scene. This information will help get the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Police Crash Reporting Form (AA 500).
What Not to Do After Getting Hit By A Semi Truck
There are a few things that you don’t want to do after an accident. First, you do not want to discuss the accident with the other drivers involved or admit fault. These statements could potentially be used against you in determining liability.
You may also think you can skip seeing a medical professional if you feel okay immediately after the accident. That is a mistake. After an accident, your body may be flooded with adrenaline and other hormones from the shock of it all, so you may not feel any injuries. In addition, you may have internal injuries that aren’t readily apparent, such as internal bleeding. You need to see a doctor immediately to rule out anything life-threatening and then follow up with your regular doctor. Some injuries, such as whiplash, don’t start bothering you right away but can show up later. Medical documentation can be beneficial to have for any claims.
Finally, you also want to consult a truck accident lawyer before taking the first offer from an insurance company or other party involved in your accident.
Determining Fault in a Semi-Truck Accident
While there can always be more than one party at fault for an accident, when it comes to semi-truck accidents involving a variety of companies behind the semi-truck, liability is complicated. In some cases, the truck driver, the trucking company, the company that owns the truck, the company that loaded the trailer, the maintenance company, and others could be found to be at fault for an accident. For example, the commercial truck driver involved in your accident fell asleep at the wheel and the company that hired him was improperly not inspecting his trucking logs to make sure he was not driving too long without rest. The driver could have many speeding and careless driving violations which the company was aware of, but did not remove the driver. The driver could have been drinking, the company that hired him knew that he had a history of drunk driving but kept him working, and the truck was loaded improperly, which caused the truck to jackknife. In this example, each of these parties could be found liable for the accident. Liability issues with commercial 18-wheeler trucks are one of the biggest reasons why having a lawyer familiar with these types of complex cases can be beneficial.
What Compensation Could I Be Due After A Commerical Truck Accident?
After your accident, bills can start piling up, from getting your car fixed or replaced to medical costs. Some of the things you can be compensated for with your truck accident claim include:
- Medical bills, current and future
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Being unable to work in the future
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- And more
Putting a price tag on your claim can be difficult, but speaking with a lawyer can help you determine what your claim should be worth
Have you been involved in a Pennsylvanian semi-truck accident? It can be vital to connect with a truck accident lawyer near you with experience in these types of cases. Contact The Pearce Law Firm, Personal Injury and Accident Lawyers, P.C. today to discuss your potential claim utilizing our initial no-obligation consultation to review your legal options.