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What to do when there’s been a truck accident

Michigan truck lawyer gives 7 tips to protect drivers at the scene of a truck crash

No one wants to think they are going to be hurt someday or will need to find an accident lawyer to help them. But it happens. Today, I’m listing some important steps to take at the scene of a truck accident so you can be prepared.

This list is not meant to scare, but to protect you and your legal rights. It’s important to keep the following tips in mind – especially for when truck accidents occur. Why? Well, large trucking companies have rapid-response teams and often will do almost anything to avoid liability for crashes they have caused. I’ve seen time and again critical evidence – that could have proved willful disregard for truck laws – legally destroyed by delay. Here’s how to be prepared:

1. Stay calm and assist injured passengers.
If anyone is hurt or injured in the truck accident, call an ambulance. Do not move injured passengers unless it’s necessary to avoid further injury.

2. Call the police.
Even if the truck driver says he will pay for the damage or if the injuries appear to be minor, call the police immediately in order to file a report.

3. Document ALL injuries.
Make a detailed list of all injuries and pain you’re experiencing, even if it seems to be minor at the time. This is important because many serious personal injuries that don’t seem severe can worsen over time, or they be totally masked by more apparent injuries, such as bleeding. Auto insurance companies need notice of all injuries within one year of the accident. Otherwise, they will not cover your No-Fault insurance benefits.

4. Write down as much information as you can.
Document as much information as possible at the truck accident scene, because it’s common for the driver who caused the crash to change his story later on when the attorneys for the trucking company meet with him. Errors may also appear in the police report, so documentation by the accident victim can be instrumental in correcting mistakes. If you can, take note of the following information:

o All injuries that you have from the truck accident.
o The location of the truck accident.
o The names and phone numbers of any eyewitnesses to the truck accident.
o The time, weather conditions and direction other vehicles were traveling at the time of the accident.
o A description of how the truck crash happened.
o License plate numbers of all vehicles involved.
o Any damage to vehicles that occurred as a result of the accident.
o Statements by other drivers admitting responsibility, and/or saying they were not injured in the truck accident.
o Name of all police officers who arrive at the truck accident scene.
o Name, address, phone number, driver’s license number and insurance information of all other drivers involved in the accident.
o Whether you think any drugs or alcohol contributed to the accident (and insist on a breath test if you suspect alcohol is involved).

5. Photograph the scene.
Our truck lawyers recommend you take pictures of the accident scene in Michigan, if you can do so safely. Remember, most good law firms also have private investigators that can be sent to the accident scene as well. Be sure to photograph:
o Vehicle damage.
o Injured truck accident victims.
o Skid marks on the roadway next to a measuring stick, shoe or other object so that the size of the marks can be estimated.

6. Cooperate with police, but speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Avoid speaking with anyone, other than police, about your truck accident. Do not talk with investigators from the insurance company or accident lawyers that represent the trucking company that caused the crash. Also, if a representative of the insurance company tries to meet with you in the hospital or at home shortly after the crash, do not accept “cash” in exchange for the suggestion you blame others. I’ve seen this happening more and more often.

7. Do not leave the scene of the accident.
Unless you are being transported to the emergency room by ambulance, please remain at the truck accident scene until all other drivers and police have left.

To speak with a truck lawyer now, call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028. We can answer all of your questions, and there’s no fee or obligation.

Steven Gursten is a truck lawyer and partner of Michigan Auto Law. He is past president of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Litigation Group, and has received the top-reported jury verdict in Michigan for truck accidents, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Steve was named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly Leader in the Law for his efforts in promoting national truck safety.

– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons by ER24 EMS

Related information:

Support for truck drivers

8 things to know about Michigan truck accident cases

How to drive safely around trucks

Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Detroit to better serve you.

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