Snellings Law PLLC Attorneys are Personal Injury Trial Lawyers

What to Do if You’re Hit by a Commercial Vehicle

After another vehicle hits you, you’ll most likely experience an adrenaline rush and a release of endorphins, making it nearly impossible to think calmly and clearly in the initial moments after the crash. If you don’t already know what steps to take, you might make some vital mistakes.

Commercial vehicle accidents are exponentially different than passenger auto accidents, as well. Commercial vehicles are usually larger and can cause more damage and more serious injuries. They also have larger insurance policies with more at risk, which can mean obtaining full value for your claims can be much more difficult That’s why knowing what steps to take after a crash becomes even more vital if you’ve been hit by a commercial vehicle.

Because we want you to be prepared, we’ve outlined the steps you should take in the aftermath of a commercial vehicle wreck below.

What to Do if You’re Hit by a Commercial Vehicle

Step 1: Check for Serious Injuries

It seems redundant to include this step since it usually comes naturally in the initial moments following the crash. You’ll want to check to make sure you don’t have any serious injuries. You should also check in with your passengers to make sure they aren’t seriously injured as well.

Remember, however, that adrenaline can mask feelings of pain. You may not know how serious your injuries are, so even if you initially think you aren’t injured, check in with your body periodically in the hours and days after the crash. Your adrenaline may mask an injury, or you may have a serious injury that doesn’t show symptoms until much later, like a traumatic brain injury.

If you or any of your passengers are seriously injured, call 911 immediately and seek medical attention. Your health and safety are most important, so go to the hospital immediately.

Also of note: be aware of your surroundings. Many times, people’s first instinct is to exit the vehicle immediately. Unfortunately, we have seen victims survive a crash only to be killed when they exited their vehicle and were hit by someone trying to avoid the crash. Try to slow down and gather your thoughts before taking any action.

Step 2: Call the Police and Get a Police Report

If you’ve determined that your injuries are not catastrophic, you should still call 911. Most times, the police will come, assess the scene, obtain witness statements, and create a police report. A police report provides an official record of the crash. This will be vital when dealing with insurance, so always call the police after a crash.

When talking to the police after the crash, keep your explanations simple. This will help you avoid miscommunications and confusing explanations. Remember, the officer usually did not see the crash, so a confusing explanation may lead to an adverse crash report finding.

Step 3: Exchange Information and Take Pictures of the Scene

Most times, the police officer will guide this process or simply do it for you. If the city where the crash occurred refuses to send out a police officer (yes, that is a thing), then be sure and exchange information with the at-fault driver. At this point, if the vehicle is obviously a commercial vehicle—a delivery van, a pool truck, a charter bus, etc.—then you’ll want to get the driver’s name and contact information, as well as their employer’s information and any witness information.

It is also important that you take pictures of the damage if you can do so. Once you and the at-fault driver leave the crash, evidence begins to deteriorate, or it can be destroyed. You’ll need to take pictures of your vehicle, the at-fault vehicle, any skid marks, and any other damage. Make sure you have the scene well documented. This evidence will help in moving your claim forward.

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Step 4: See a Healthcare Professional

If you are injured, go see a healthcare professional immediately. Many people forgo the emergency room due to fear of the cost; however, your health is by far the priority. Even if you don’t feel that you have suffered a severe injury, it is best to get checked out. Physicians and other healthcare providers who treat patients involved in crashes may know what to look for, can ensure there is no lurking injury that might worsen, and can provide you with peace of mind.

Step 5: Set up an Insurance Claim/Reach Out to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Many times, this is where people are tripped up. They call the opposing party’s insurance company to set up a claim and expect them to do the right thing. This usually goes one of two ways: (1) the person setting up the claim is very nice and works to get as much information out of you as they can, usually in the form of a recorded statement or (2) they are not very nice and make accusations throughout the process. We typically advise people to reach out to a personal injury attorney before even opening an insurance claim to ensure you don’t fall into any traps, but definitely do not give a recorded statement. That rarely works out to your benefit.

For more information about the dangers of recorded statements, check out our blog, “Recorded Statements.”

Step 6: Hire an Experienced Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney

As we briefly mentioned before, you will want to consult an experienced attorney. Commercial vehicle insurance adjusters are typically much savvier and more experienced than typical insurance adjusters since their insurance policies are usually larger and there is more risk involved. While you could try to navigate the legal process by yourself, it will be much easier and less stressful with an experienced commercial vehicle accident attorney. You will also have a much higher likelihood of ensuring you receive full value for your personal injury claim. Commercial vehicle accident attorneys know the arguments and strategies insurance adjusters will use, and they know exactly how to document your claim in order to be the best advocate for you.

Watch the video below for more information about what makes commercial vehicle wrecks different:

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Wrongful Death and Commercial Vehicle Accidents

We know that losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things to go through. Losing a loved one in a commercial vehicle accident is devastating and unfair, but you don’t have to deal with it alone. If you lost a loved one in a commercial vehicle accident, it is essential to consult an experienced commercial vehicle attorney. An attorney knows what experts to hire, what evidence to gather, and how to best negotiate and maximize compensation. Most importantly, however, an attorney will help alleviate the stress that comes with navigating this legal process.

We Are Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorneys Ready to Fight for You

At Snellings Law, we pride ourselves on our dedication to providing white-glove service to all our clients. We know the fears and stresses that come in the aftermath of a commercial vehicle accident, and we’re here to help you heal and get back on your feet in all aspects of your life. Not only that, but when you hire Snellings Law, you don’t just hire one of our excellent commercial vehicle accident attorneys – you hire our whole team. We put our brains together to find solutions, overcome obstacles, and get you the settlement you deserve. At Snellings Law, we only help personal injury victims in North Texas, and we’d be glad to talk to you about your commercial vehicle case. Give us a call at (214) 387-0387 to schedule a free strategy session with an attorney and discuss your next steps.

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