What To Do Immediately After a Truck Accident
Being involved in a commercial truck accident can be terrifying. You could suffer painful injuries, face costly medical bills, and live with lasting emotional trauma —and in Utah, you may be able to pursue compensation for those losses. The steps you take immediately after a truck accident can protect your health and your right to file a personal injury claim. Here’s what you need to do in the aftermath of a truck accident in Utah.
Find a Safe Place
A truck accident can leave you feeling afraid, disoriented, or confused. Remain calm and prioritize your safety first. If your vehicle is blocking traffic and your injuries don’t prevent you from moving, try to park the car in a safe place. Find a well-lit area on the side of the road where other drivers can see you and your vehicle. Do not leave the accident scene unless you suffer serious injuries and need emergency medical care.
Check for Injuries
Once you are in a safe place, check yourself and others for injuries. External injuries tend to be obvious, but internal trauma can be harder to detect.
Symptoms of internal injuries can include the following:
- Bruising – If an area of the skin turns dark purple, there may be bleeding in the soft tissue underneath. Seek urgent medical care if the bruising is accompanied by pain, swelling, or difficulty breathing.
- Nausea – Vomiting or nausea after an accident may be the result of injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening, such as anxiety, a brain injury, whiplash, and damage to digestive organs. Always seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms of an injury after a truck accident.
- Pain – Pain and tenderness can also be a symptom of an internal injury. Just because the pain is not excruciating does not mean you should ignore it. In cases of internal bleeding, the pain intensifies as the bleeding worsens. Broken bones, torn ligaments, or sprains can also cause pain.
- Shock – You could go into physical shock after a trucking accident. Shock occurs when an accident victim loses blood flow to their internal organs. This condition can prevent the organs from receiving oxygen, potentially leading to organ failure and even death. Symptoms of shock typically include dizziness, shallow breathing, increased heart rate, clammy skin, sweating, and loss of consciousness. If you notice symptoms of shock after an accident, inform police or medical staff on the scene that you need immediate medical attention. If you are waiting for help to arrive, try to breathe normally. Sit down and lean your head between your legs if you feel dizzy. If possible, try to loosen any tight clothing and keep a blanket or a coat around you.
Call the Police
If you are involved in a commercial truck accident, you must call the police to the scene. Utah law mandates motorists to notify police if a collision results in an injury, death, or property damage of $1,500 or more. Leaving the scene of the accident could result in hit-and-run charges filed against you, which can impact the outcome of any injury claim you choose to file later.
Exchange Insurance Information With the Other Driver(s)
If you are involved in a truck accident in Utah, you must exchange identifying information with the involved driver(s), including your name, address, vehicle registration number, and insurance policy information.
Utah requires all drivers to purchase auto insurance. In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates that all interstate and intrastate carry commercial auto liability insurance. If the driver claims not to have insurance or proof of insurance, write down the truck’s license plate number, details about the truck, and the trucker’s name and contact information. Then consult with a truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
Seek Medical Attention
If you have been in a truck accident, seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible, even if you are not experiencing pain. Some injuries may not be painful for some time following the accident. Symptoms of a concussion, fractures, whiplash, and other internal injuries may not manifest until days or even weeks have passed.
Seeking prompt medical attention also creates essential documentation of your injuries. Your medical records and any receipts or proof of costs incurred for medical care will be significant evidence if you decide to pursue financial compensation.
Assigning Fault After a Truck Accident
Assigning fault after a truck accident is determined through evidence gathered at the scene, such as witness statements, police reports, photographs, videos, and other accident analysis methods.
In some truck accident cases, the truck driver is at fault due to negligence, such as driving under the influence, speeding, texting while driving, or fatigue. But in some truck accident cases, third parties may be found liable or partially liable for the crash. These parties could include:
- The trucking company, if it failed to maintain its equipment or employed unqualified drivers
- The manufacturer of the truck, if a defective design or faulty part played a role in the crash
- The loading company that secures the truck’s cargo, if weight instability caused the accident
- Other drivers, if a negligent motorist was driving recklessly
It can be challenging to identify every liable party after a wreck, especially if the truck company’s insurance company refuses to cooperate. An experienced Utah truck accident attorney can help determine who should be held accountable for your injuries.
Contact a Utah Truck Accident Lawyer
A Utah truck accident lawyer can play an important role in your pursuit of the compensation you need to get your life back on track. Let the attorneys at Swenson & Shelley help with your case. Our legal team handles truck accident claims from start to finish. We are committed to the relentless pursuit of justice for truck accident victims™. Contact us today for a free consultation with a knowledgeable attorney.