As Virginia truck accident injury attorneys we know that If you're one of the hundreds of thousands of people involved in an accident with a big rig every year, there are some things you certainly must do if you want to recover a dime from the trucking company.
Contact the Authorities
The very first thing you must do is call 911. An ambulance should arrive on scene to make sure that no one is seriously injured or to give care to those who are. The police will also show up to take witness statements, gather evidence, and fill out a report about the crash.
Do Not Admit Fault
You should never admit fault in a car or truck accident. Even if you feel that you are partly at fault, it is within your rights to keep from making any statement to the other driver. You should only give your contact and insurance information. This can be hard to remember when you're in an accident, but the rules of evidence generally permit anything that you say at the scene of the crash to be introduced against you at trial. The impact of your admissions can be so great on a jury that they outweigh all the other evidence.
Obtain Insurance Information
Be sure to get the other driver's name, driver's license number, insurance, and vehicle plate information. You should make a copy for yourself even if the police are on the scene filling out a report. Remember, even if everyone seems to be physically ok the day of the car crash, there may be some injuries that have later onsets.
Check Your Car for Damages
One great tip is to take pictures with your cell phone. Take pictures from all angles, remembering to get street signs and other landmarks in the shots. These photos can later be used at trial. If you don't have a camera, you should make careful notes about the damage you notice on your car.
See a Doctor
When you leave the scene of an accident, you should stop at a doctor's office or a hospital if you have any pain or discomfort. The longer you wait after an accident, the harder it will be to state a claim for personal injuries.
Call Your Insurance Company
You should let your insurance company know as soon as possible after the accident. Most insurance companies have complex rules about what you have to do after a crash. In addition to your phone call, you should send written notice. If you fail to do this, you might risk the insurance company denying any claim that you have because you waited too long. But don't talk to the trucker's insurance company under any circumstances. Let your lawyer handle any communications with the other company.