Do you know what to do after a truck accident in Chicago? Those involved in collisions with commercial vehicles should remember to take a few important steps. These steps can keep you and other vehicle occupants safe, and can also protect your right to obtain compensation for your truck accident injuries.
If you were injured in a trucking accident in Chicago or the state of Illinois, Krzak Rundio Gorman, Injury Attorneys is on your side. Contact our office to learn more about how we may be able to help.
Steps To Take Following an Illinois Trucking Accident
Here are our recommendations about what to do after a truck accident in Chicago:
Truck accidents are rarely minor. A collision between two passenger vehicles may be categorized as a “fender bender,” but this term seldom applies to a crash involving a commercial truck. If you were involved in a truck accident in Chicago, call 911 right away to summon the police and emergency medical services.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, a passenger vehicle occupant may be suffering a very serious injury. When multiple vehicles or pedestrians are involved, the chance of an accident victim sustaining a catastrophic injury is even higher. The sooner help arrives at the scene, the better for all involved. Common truck accident injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Muscle and tendon tears
- Internal organ injuries
- Traumatic head/ traumatic brain injuries
- Crushing injuries
- Puncture wounds
Some injuries are immediately apparent, but others may not be. Many types of physical harm take time to manifest symptoms. These are referred to as “hidden injuries.” When the adrenaline of a traumatic event like a truck accident overtakes the body, these injuries can go undetected for hours or even days. Even if you were examined by an EMT at the collision scene, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician for a more thorough examination – make sure if something is bothering you that you let the doctor know – sooner rather than later.
Get to Safety
If possible, make sure that all involved parties are safely out of the way of traffic. In the case of a large vehicle accident, it may be that the truck is blocking the flow of traffic, requiring police and traffic officers to manage the situation. The confusion of a trucking collision on the streets of Chicago can create hazards for those on foot. Move to the shoulder of the road and wait for emergency medical services to arrive. However, if any accident victim is displaying signs of a serious back or neck injury, do not attempt to move them yourself.
It’s especially important to get yourself and others to safety if the truck involved in the accident was carrying hazardous materials. In this case, the risk of explosion or inhalation of toxic substances poses an imminent threat to those in the immediate vicinity.
Exchange Information and Communicate With Police
It is against Illinois law to leave an accident scene involving any injuries before an officer of the law arrives. As police attend to the collision scene, the officer on duty will fill out a report with details about the accident. Be sure to obtain a copy of this report for your own records. The police report will contain important information such as the names of involved parties and their license plate, vehicle, and insurance information, along with the specifics of where and when the crash occurred.
The police officer may make judgments concerning accident cause and liability, but not always. On your part, be careful not to make assumptions about fault. Don’t apologize for any error you may think you committed. In the immediate aftermath of the accident, liability is not clear. Anything you say at this time may damage your ability to obtain your rightful compensation later. If you are not thinking straight, you may make things more difficult for yourself later if you say something you shouldn’t have said.
At this point, all involved motorists will need to exchange information. This should include name, contact information, address, vehicle make and model, license plate number, vehicle registration, driver’s license number, and insurance information. All of this data will be needed when you file your insurance or legal claim.
Secure Available Evidence
If it’s within your ability, gathering evidence at the accident scene is one of the best ways to document proof that can support your claim. Eyewitness contact information can be a particularly valuable asset. The police report may contain the names of eyewitnesses at the scene, but you can also speak to bystanders and ask if they would be willing to provide testimony later about what they saw.
This is also the best time to take photographs. The evidence available at an accident scene will soon be erased by time, weather, and clean-up crews. If possible, take pictures or videos. If you’re unable to take pictures or videos because of your injuries see if someone can take pictures and videos for you) that show:
- The location of all involved vehicles in relation to one another
- Damage to vehicles
- Damages to surrounding property (such as trees, guardrails, light fixtures, or buildings)
- Physical injuries suffered by involved vehicle occupants, pedestrians, or bicyclists
- Traffic conditions
- The traffic laws governing the area (such as stop signs, traffic lights, and speed limit signs)
- Lighting and weather conditions
- Skid marks and debris on the road surface
- Both close-ups and panoramic views of the accident scene
- Any specific conditions that may have contributed to the crash (such as a broken stop light or large pothole)
Contact Your Insurance Company
You have an obligation to notify your insurance company if you are involved in any type of motor vehicle crash, including a truck accident. Be clear but brief about the details of the collision. Again, refrain from making any mention of fault or blame. Don’t apologize for the incident, and don’t make admissions about your potential involvement. Avoid discussing the severity of any injuries you might have sustained. Simply tell the insurance adjuster that you are seeking medical treatment.
Schedule a Meeting With a Truck Accident Lawyer
Finally, schedule a consultation to discuss your legal options with an experienced truck accident lawyer. Ideally, you will want to work with a legal representative who has a history of successfully litigating cases in the Chicago area.
Truck accident cases are highly complex and can be difficult to proceed with and win. We do not recommend going against a motor carrier and their insurer alone. If you suffered injuries and property damage in a truck accident, you need an attorney on your side who can make sure you are treated fairly by the insurance company.
Contact Krzak Rundio Gorman, Injury Attorneys
If you were injured in a truck accident in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois, we encourage you to get in touch with Krzak Rundio Gorman, Injury Attorneys. We’d be happy to speak with you about your potential legal options and help you if we’re able to do so.