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Truck Accident Dos and Don'ts
Washington, DC, Maryland & Virginia Truck Accident Lawyers
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 105,808 people killed or injured in crashes involving large trucks in 2007 alone. The average cost for large truck accidents between 2001-2003 was $91,112 (FMCSA). The majority of automobile drivers involved in these types of truck accidents are unaware of the steps that they should take in order to secure both their personal and financial safety. The trucks involved are usually part of a company, whose financial interests are highly vested in their shipping, and they bring their full resources to bear on a truck accident. It is essential that you know how to protect your interests and if you get in a truck accident, what to do.
Truck Accident Dos
The Scene of the Truck Accident
Most importantly, your initial concern should be for your safety and the safety of others. Once you are out of danger, make sure to contact law enforcement officials immediately.
Next, you should contact an experienced truck accident attorney who will defend your rights and fight for your interests. At this point, once your personal safety has been insured and the proper calls made, it is time to begin focusing on the accident itself and collecting information. This is of extreme importance because the statute of limitations on a truck accident is different than that of a regular motor vehicle accident, as are other federal regulations.
Pictures are a key piece of evidence once law enforcement and insurance companies become involved in a truck accident. Even if all you have is a cell phone, photographs can record priceless information. Possible items to photograph are:
- License plate numbers of vehicles involved
- License plate numbers of trailers involved (often different from truck number)
- Wrecked vehicles themselves
- Skid marks to and from accident site
- The truck's tires (worn or blown tires are often the causes of truck accidents)
If no camera is available, it is still vital that you obtain all applicable license plate numbers, and also:
- A copy of the police report and pertinent police names and numbers
- A copy of the medical examination report
- Contact information of any and all drivers involved, including license numbers
- Insurance information of any and all drivers involved
- Contact information of any and all witnesses
- Identifying names or labels on all trailers involved
Truck Accident Don'ts
Because of the increased financial implications of truck accidents, it is important not to sign anything other than the police report, and only sign that after having carefully read through the entire document. Do not give any statements without first consulting with an attorney. Trucking companies often have their attorneys or other legal representatives on the scene--you owe it to yourself to consult a lawyer before speaking to the trucking company, insurance agent, lawyers or employees.
Accidents involving large trucks are, for the reasons listed above, much different than your average motor vehicle accident, and therefore require quick and informed action.
If you or a loved one has questions about a truck accident, talk to an experienced truck accident lawyer about your trucking accident claim. Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. will give you answers and tell you about your legal rights.