Tractor-trailer accidents often result in catastrophic injuries because of the size and weight of these trucks. According to the Insurance Institute on Highway Safety, semitrucks often weigh up to 30 times more than a small car and take up to 40% longer to stop.
Protect your safety and your ability to seek legal damages in New Jersey by taking these steps after involvement in a tractor-trailer collision.
Seek medical help
Call 911 right away after this type of accident. Even if you feel OK, you may have injuries that will arise in the hours and days after the accident. The 911 dispatcher will also send law enforcement officers to make a report, which you will need to file an insurance claim for damages.
If another person has a serious injury, do not move him or her, which can worsen a spine or brain injury. However, you can provide first aid if it is possible and safe for you to do so while awaiting medical assistance.
Document the scene
If you can safely do so, take pictures and videos of the crash scene. Leave your vehicle in place until law enforcement arrives and provides further instructions. Take notes about the crash circumstances and gather names and contact information for witnesses. These individuals may be willing to provide information that will support a legal claim in the case of a serious injury.
Notify your insurance company
Your auto insurance provider will cover the costs of personal injury and property damage up to your coverage limits. However, if the truck driver was at fault for the accident, your insurance company will pursue his or her insurer for damages.
Often, an auto insurance company will provide a limited settlement to reduce its out-of-pocket costs. Do not speak to the truck driver’s insurance company or agree to a settlement without legal advice. You have the right to negotiate a settlement or file a lawsuit that covers the full cost of your injuries.