Focus on three key areas at the scene of a truck accident:
- Tending to your medical condition,
- Tending to the welfare of others involved in the accident, and
- Protecting your rights.
We shall explain the importance of each of these areas, along with how to manage them, in this article.
Why You Should Address These Areas
The rationale for what you should do at the scene of a Chicago truck accident is multifold. Make sure you remove yourself from danger, if possible, and call for an ambulance if you need medical treatment. This is just a matter of survival.
However, seeking medical attention helps more than your health. It also could help you later in your pursuit of compensation. In fact, there are several things you should do at the scene of your accident. You can protect your rights should you sustain injuries that prompt you to seek compensation from the party at fault for the collision.
Still, other steps are important to address because failure to do so could land you in criminal trouble. Now, we shall put these priorities into context by reviewing the actual steps you should follow at the scene of a truck accident.
Report the Collision
Immediately call 911 and report the accident. While you are waiting, you are required to check on other people involved in the accident and render reasonable assistance—if you are able to do so. When the police arrive, give your factual account of what occurred. Do not, under any circumstances, admit to any fault for the crash.
625 ILCS 5/11-402 requires that you stay at the scene of your accident. If you leave the scene, you can be charged with a hit and run and with possible fines and time behind bars. Furthermore, fleeing the scene makes you look guilty. When law enforcement arrives, they will have only the other driver’s account of the crash, and the fact that you left will not look good to the insurance company and/or a jury when you try to recover damages.
Check Yourself for Injuries
If you can, move your vehicle off the road but near the scene. Turn on your hazard lights so other drivers do not accidentally crash into your car.
Accept Medical Treatment
If paramedics offer to check your physical condition, allow them to do so. They know what types of injuries to look for, some of which you might have suffered and not exhibit visible signs of at that particular moment. Tell the emergency medical technicians about any pain or discomfort.
If you turn down medical attention at the scene, then later discover you sustained serious injuries, the fact that you turned down the EMTs at the scene could work against your later financial recovery efforts.
Exchange Information with the Other Driver(s)
One of the most important things you should do at the scene of the accident is to exchange insurance and contact information with other people involved in the collision. Be sure you collect the following details:
- Driver’s license number
- Insurance provider
- Policy number
- License plate number
- Contact information for the employer of the truck driver
Talk to Witnesses
If you are able to move around, scan the scene for anyone who might have witnessed the accident. Ask people what they saw happen—specifically, the events that led up to the crash. Be sure to jot down their names, phone numbers, email addresses, and home addresses so your lawyer can contact them later to get their testimonies. Otherwise, once they leave the scene, you will have a tough time figuring out who they were and how to reach them.
Document the Scene
You can’t collect too much information at the scene of a truck accident. Write down how you feel, what you see, and what you remember happening. Photograph your injuries and those of your passengers—even the truck driver’s injuries. While you are at it, take pictures of the damage to any vehicle, not just yours, as this can provide important clues for an accident reconstruction specialist.
If you see anything around the scene that reflects the accident, document it, too. Take pictures of skid marks, broken glass, knocked-down signs, or anything else that you see stemming from the collision. Do not limit your documenting of the scene to still images. Videos can also provide an excellent source of information when trying to assess how the accident unfolded.
Call a Lawyer to Help You Secure Compensatory Damages
In the best-case scenario, a truck accident lawyer might be able to make it out to the scene while the evidence is still intact, and witnesses’ memories are fresh. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the more time you give them to build your case before the Illinois statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits runs out, per 735 ILCS 5/12-1102.
Now that you know what you should do at the scene of a truck accident, you should call The Kryder Law Group, LLC at (312) 223-1700 for a free consultation.