According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 6.2 million police-reported motor vehicle crashes occurred on the U.S highways in 2005, that is one every 5 seconds. With such numbers, we couldn’t help but worry that we might be next, considering the nature of hotshot trucking.
Since accidents are inevitable, it would be good to stay prepared and know what you should do when involved in an accident.
1. Stop your vehicle and remain calm
If you get involved in a minor accident and you did not suffer any serious injuries, move your vehicle and trailer to the safe side of the road. If this is not possible, make sure that other drivers can see you by putting cones around your vehicle and trailer, turning on hazard lights and lighting road flares if needed. Doing so will prevent another accident.
Remain as calm as possible and do not react in anger, particularly when confronting the other driver as this will just worsen the situation.
2. Seek medical help
Whether you are seriously injured or not, it is important to seek medical attention after an accident. You may not immediately notice any injury or feel pain due to adrenaline but to be sure, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention. If you do not receive it at the scene, visit your doctor as soon as possible to determine if you need to receive treatment.
Moreover, having checked by a doctor after an accident can help you seek compensation for injuries if you are not at fault.
3. Contact the police
Call the police or instruct someone to do so. It’s your best course of action especially if you are dealing with someone who is angry or behaving irrationally. The police could also address the traffic situation and make an official report.
4. Do not admit fault
Do not discuss the details of the accident with anyone except the police. Don’t assume blame or make any statement that will cause the other party to believe that you are admitting fault.
5. Document the accident
Having a disposable camera comes in handy in case of an accident as it does not run out of power, unlike a mobile phone. Take photos of your vehicle and that of the other vehicle. Also include photos that will show the context of the accident including the road condition, lights and traffic signs among others.
Moreover, don’t forget to get your notepad and pen to record the following information:
- Data and time of the accident
- Exact location of the scene
- Any information of your vehicle’s functioning prior to the accident
- Information about the other parties involved including the driver’s name, license number, contact details, insurance company and policy information
- Information about the responding police officers and where to get a copy of their police report
It is important to get the above information at the scene of the accident. Once the other parties leave, it can be difficult to track them down. It will be easier to seek compensation if you have complete details.
6. Check for witnesses
Check if there are witnesses of the accident and get their names and contact details. They may be called to testify in court.
7. Mind what you say
After the accident, an insurance adjuster will contact you to get more information about the accident. An insurance adjuster or claims handler is responsible for investigating insurance claims by interviewing the claimant, police, witnesses and getting other relevant information. You need to be extra careful about what you should and should not say as it can be used against you.
It is against the law to lie to your insurance company but be mindful as well of the information you provide. Just relay the facts and let the insurance company and the police determine who is at fault. If you are not sure what to say, it is best to consult your attorney.
We don’t want to be involved in a truck accident but we don’t know when it will happen. No matter how careful you are in driving, you may cross paths with an irresponsible driver, ending up in an accident.
The steps we listed above can help protect your rights following an accident and regardless of who is at fault.