There are many names for them, Eighteen wheeler, 18-wheeler, “semi”, “semi-truck”, “tractor-trailer”, “big rig”, “articulated truck”, “trailer truck”, “truck and trailer”, or simply “big trucks” or ‘long ones”. No matter what you call them, they are substantial and impactful. Collisions involving these vehicles can be devastating due to their sheer size and weight. In North Carolina, knowing the right steps to take after such an incident is crucial for both your safety and any potential legal actions. These accidents can lead to complex situations, from immediate safety concerns to eventual insurance claims. It’s essential to be informed and prepared, ensuring you protect both your health and rights.
The Immediate Aftermath: Ensuring Safety
In the chaos following a collision with a tractor-trailer, safety should be your primary concern. If possible and safe, move your vehicle to a secure location, like the shoulder of the road or parking lot, and turn on hazard lights. Immediately check for injuries and call 911, even if injuries seem minor, as shock can mask symptoms. Once secured, wait for police to arrive to ensure a detailed report is filed, which can be vital for any future claims or legal actions. During this time, remain calm and avoid admitting fault or assigning blame.
Document Everything: Evidence Gathering
Gathering evidence at the scene of a tractor-trailer collision is critical for any future legal or insurance actions. Start by taking clear photos of vehicle damages, injuries, road conditions, and any skid marks. Obtain the driver’s details, including name, license number, and insurance information. If there are witnesses, approach them for their account of the event and collect their contact information. Keeping a detailed record immediately after the incident can greatly bolster your case and provide clarity on the events that transpired.
Notify the Relevant Authorities
After a collision with a tractor-trailer, promptly notifying the relevant authorities is crucial. Reporting the accident to the police ensures an official record and helps establish the facts of the incident. Additionally, a police report can be invaluable when dealing with insurance companies or in any potential legal proceedings. It’s essential to cooperate fully, providing accurate information, while also refraining from making speculative statements or admissions.
Seek Medical Attention – Even If You Feel Fine
Following a collision, seeking medical attention is imperative, even if you feel uninjured. Some injuries, particularly internal ones or those related to trauma, may not manifest immediately and can worsen over time. Consulting a healthcare professional ensures your well-being is prioritized and also provides documented evidence of injuries, which can be vital in any subsequent legal or insurance matters.
Notify Your Insurance and Avoid Giving Statements
After an accident, it’s essential to promptly inform your insurance company about the incident. However, exercise caution when discussing specifics and avoid giving recorded statements without first consulting legal counsel. Insurance adjusters often aim to minimize payouts, and premature or uninformed statements can inadvertently jeopardize your claim. Protecting your rights and interests requires a delicate balance of cooperation and discretion.
Preserving evidence after a tractor-trailer collision is pivotal for any ensuing legal or insurance matters. Retain all medical records, receipts, and photographs relating to the accident, as they can be instrumental in supporting your claim. It’s also advisable to delay any major repairs to your vehicle until after it’s been thoroughly documented and inspected. Ensuring evidence is untampered and well-documented can significantly influence the outcome of your case.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney
Engaging with a personal injury attorney after a tractor-trailer collision is a wise decision. These professionals understand the complexities of such accidents and can guide you through the legal process. They can advocate on your behalf, ensuring that your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve. Navigating this challenging situation becomes more manageable with experienced legal support by your side.
Bradford Law Can Help If You’ve Been Injured in a Tractor-Trailer Accident
Facing the aftermath of a tractor-trailer collision can be daunting, but you don’t have to go through it alone; Bradford Law is here to support and guide you. Reach out to us today to ensure your rights are protected and to get the experienced counsel you deserve.