Data collected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) supports what most Americans already know—the number of 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, semis, big rigs and commercial over-the-road vehicles motoring across the country’s highways continues to increase every year. It’s also no surprise that, given the size of the state of Texas, the interstates that weave throughout the Lone Star State and the state’s healthy industrial and manufacturing base, that Texas sees more large truck accidents than just about any other jurisdiction.
When you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident involving a large commercial truck, there are specific steps you need to take to protect your legal rights. Here’s a checklist to help you do the right thing:
- Get the medical care that you and your passengers need—The most important immediate concern is your health. In a collision with a big truck, injuries are often catastrophic. Don’t try to minimize your injuries and don’t try to be strong. If you can’t move under your own power, wait until emergency responders arrive. If you need to go to the hospital in an ambulance, do so.
- Move to a safe place, if reasonable—A large truck can take up most or all of the road, and leaving your vehicles where they are can put you at further risk or jeopardize the safety of others. Look for a place nearby where you can get off the road safely. If you can do so without risking further injury, do so. In most instances, accident reconstruction can be done even if vehicles are moved.
- Call law enforcement officers—You’ll want a police report on the accident. In addition, police officers can ensure public safety during the cleanup after the accident.
- Take pictures of everything—You don’t need a fancy camera—the camera on your phone will suffice. Get pictures of anything potentially related to the accident, from the damage to all vehicles and any injuries sustained due to weather conditions, roadway defects, skid marks and nearby traffic signs or signals.
- Gather information from all parties involved, as well as potential witnesses. You’ll want all the necessary information to allow your attorney to find and contact those parties, including name, phone number, address and e-mail address. You’ll also want the driver’s DOT number, as well as insurance information from all drivers involved in the accident.
- Say as little as possible—A common mistake people make after a truck accident—they talk too much and may say something that can be construed as admitting fault. Answer the police officer’s questions as factually as you can.
- Hire an attorney—The sooner you retain legal counsel, the less risk that evidence will be lost, that witnesses will disappear or their memories will fade.
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a FREE initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.