What to do After a Semi-Truck/Car Accident
When a semi-truck collides with a passenger car, the occupants of the car will usually sustain worse injuries than the truck driver. In many such accidents, the trucker is not hurt at all because of the height of his cabin and the enormous weight and momentum of his big rig.
If you are severely hurt in a truck accident, remaining still and accepting medical care is your first priority. However, if your injuries are relatively minor and you can move around the accident scene, there are many things you can and should do, if possible.
Reduce Immediate Danger
When a big rig hits a car, the car will often be pushed beneath the truck, trapping the car occupants. There is likely nothing you can do to help them without possibly increasing their injuries. However, take a quick look around the scene and if you can help reduce ongoing danger, go ahead. Perhaps you can move someone's car out of the path of oncoming traffic. Maybe you could get a car door open for a trapped person, or a seatbelt unbuckled; or you could remove debris from the roadway.
Call 9-1-1 while you look around. They will call the police for you and medical help. Be sure to give clear directions to the accident scene, or at least a clear description of the location. If someone is lying on the road injured, see if you can cover them with a blanket without moving them at all, and stay with them to give emotional support.
When the police arrive, obey their instructions and answer all their questions. You should ask them to send you a copy of their report when it is finished. Also ask for the name of at least one officer, and his or her badge number.
Ideally, you carry pen and paper and a disposable camera in your vehicle. Perhaps your cell phone has a camera. Now is the time to use them.
- Make notes as to what happened. You will likely forget some things later, so be detailed in your notes. They may be enormously helpful later on if an insurance company questions your injuries or vehicle damage. The notes don't have to be full sentences, just jottings to remind you how to fill them out later on. Note the truck's plate number and company and try to get the driver's name.
- Take photos of all involved vehicles, both close-up for the damage details, and more distant for their relative positions.
- Take photos to document the weather and lighting conditions and any road conditions that may have contributed to the accident, such as hidden signage, ice, potholes etc.
As soon as you can, later in the day or the next day, fill out your notes to make them readable by another person. Please see our page on Things You Need to Know for more on what to do at an accident scene and our page on Truck Accidents for more on how an accident attorney can help in this situation.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
Regardless of who or what you think caused the accident, contact a car or truck accident attorney and schedule a free case review. An experienced car accident attorney like John Polewski or Andrew Gross can look at your situation objectively, ask the right questions, and advise you of your legal rights and options.