6 Things to Do Immediately After a Truck Accident in Bakersfield, CA
A tractor-trailer collision is one of the most horrifying highway scenarios anyone can imagine. Unfortunately, they are fairly common in California, and the injuries tend to be extensive. The legal disputes that follow are typically complex too.
We think every local driver should give some thought to what they’d do after a truck accident in Bakersfield. As California commercial truck accident attorneys, we’ve seen enough of these cases to know that your response plays an important part in the outcome.
Here are six steps accident victims should follow whenever possible:
1. Report the Accident
Every single California vehicle collision must be reported to law enforcement immediately. If you are safe and able to do so, this is the first thing you should do. If you are unable to pick up the phone and call 911, someone else at the scene can contact the authorities instead.
In ordinary auto accidents, we often have to remind drivers that even minor car crashes must be reported. This cautionary note isn’t as relevant to semi-trailer accidents because, frankly, very few California truck accidents are “minor.”
If, however, you and all the other parties manage to emerge from a truck accident in Bakersfield with only minimal damages, please remember that you must still contact law enforcement before leaving the scene.
2. Seek Safety and Medical Attention
Even after the crash is over, you and your passengers could still be in danger. Nearby traffic poses an immediate threat. In fact, two-vehicle accidents sometimes become pile-ups after the fact. That’s because oncoming traffic might fail to brake properly when approaching the crash scene.
Accordingly, you should get yourself and your passengers to physical safety as soon as possible. While the appropriate course of action will depend on the circumstances and location of your crash, it’s usually best to get off the road and as far away from traffic as possible.
Only move your vehicle if it is absolutely safe to do so — remember that vehicles sometimes ignite or explode after a major semi-truck accident.
If you suspect that you or another person needs emergency medical attention, tell 911.
3. Stay at the Scene
You are not free to leave after calling 911. Even if uninjured, you have a legal duty to remain at the scene of the crash until a police officer has arrived to document the accident. The officer will let you know when you’re free to go.
4. Gather Evidence
Enduring a semi-truck accident is typically a traumatic experience. In the moment, civil litigation might be the last thing on your mind. Keep in mind, though, that this accident will ultimately have financial consequences for almost everyone involved.
If you are able to safely do so, there are steps you can take while still at the scene to safeguard your legal interests. It’s a good idea to:
- Take detailed photographs.
- Get license plate numbers for every vehicle.
- Obtain names and contact information for all eyewitnesses, drivers, and passengers.
- Write down everything you remember about how the accident happened (it is so easy to forget little details after the shock sinks in).
- Find out who owns (or employs) the truck (or truck driver).
- Ask the responding police officer for a copy of the police report (or at least for a reference number so you can obtain the report at a later time).
Be careful of what you say while interacting with others. The statements you make to police officers, eyewitnesses, other drivers, or insurance representatives can all be used against you.
If you’ve been in a truck accident in Bakersfield, your best course is to remain calm, say as little as possible, and refer any questions to your lawyers.
5. Make a Doctor’s Appointment
It is always a good idea to see a doctor after a semi-trailer accident. Unfortunately, most of these incidents require immediate emergency room treatment. Indeed, many are tragically fatal.
But even if your case does not result in severe injury, you should still book an appointment with a physician — preferably within a week of the accident (or even sooner).
There are many reasons for talking to a doctor soon after the crash. First, physicians can detect medical issues you aren’t aware of. Second, the doctor might be able to prescribe medications to help relieve some of your more minor symptoms. Third, the mere fact that you visited a doctor might help your insurance claim down the road.
6. Get Strong Legal Representation on Your Side.
Never sign an agreement with an insurance company adjustor until you’ve discussed your case with an experienced, licensed attorney. For that matter, it’s best to avoid even talking with the insurance company. That’s what your lawyer is for. (It is fine for you to notify your own insurance provider about the accident, but leave all other discussions to an attorney.)
The insurance companies aren’t on your side. Neither is the company or employer responsible for the commercial truck involved in your crash. These parties have a lot of money on the line, and they will do everything they can to protect their own wallets.
It is in your best interest to put experienced Bakersfield truck accident lawyers on your side. At The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we represent semi-truck accident victims on a contingency basis. That means we’ll fight for you and represent you without requiring one cent from you upfront. We only get paid if we get you money.
Put our experience on your side. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today. Simply call, text, or contact us online. We’re here for you.