Truck accidents occur often in Arizona. As commercial trucks make their way across the country, they often use I-10 and I-8 in Arizona. In 2018 alone, large truck accidents in the US caused more than 112,000 injuries and 4,800 deaths, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If you get injured in a truck accident, take certain steps to make sure your rights are protected.
Get to Safety
Prioritize your personal safety. If you can, move your disabled vehicle out of the road to avoid further collisions. Set up road flares or hazard triangles, if you have them, and turn on your vehicle’s flashers. Wait in a safe location out of the road for help to arrive. Once you are in a safe place, check yourself and others for injuries.
If the crash was too severe to allow you to move out of the road, stay where you are and try to restrict your movements. Moving in the wrong way could exacerbate a serious injury, especially a spinal cord injury. If you believe you have a spinal cord injury, only move if it is necessary, such as if the vehicle is on fire.
Call the Police
Always call the police after a truck accident in Arizona. State law requires you to call 911 immediately at the scene of a crash that causes injuries, deaths or at least $1,000 in property damage. Most truck accidents are severe enough to meet this threshold. Dial 911 from the scene and wait for the police to arrive. Request an ambulance, if necessary. While still at the scene, give the police officer your side of the story for the official record.
Exchange Information at the Scene
If you can, exchange information with the truck driver at the scene of your crash. This includes the truck driver’s name, the name of the trucking company, the truck number, the license plate number and the driver’s insurance information. It is also helpful to write down the names and contact phone numbers of any eyewitnesses before you leave. If you are too injured to gather this information, the police can do so for you.
It can help your injury claim later to obtain photographs and video footage while still at the scene of a truck accident. If possible, use your smartphone to take pictures of the crash. Include images of both damaged vehicles, a wide-lens shot of the entire scene and closer shots of any important details, such as tire marks on the road. If you have to go immediately to the hospital after your crash, don’t worry. You can return to the scene later for photographs or rely on official photos taken by the police.
Go to the Hospital
Don’t delay in seeking professional medical care for your injuries. Truck accidents often cause severe physical injuries, such as broken bones and traumatic brain injuries. It is important for your health and safety to go to the hospital immediately.
Prompt medical care can also strengthen your insurance claim, as the insurance company can use it against you if you wait too long. This could signal to the insurance company that your injuries were not that serious – or the insurance company could use it to blame you for the extent of your injuries.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Call your auto insurance company to make an initial report. Do not admit any fault for the truck accident, however, and do not agree to give a recorded statement. The insurance company will want to do what it can to minimize your payout. Keep this in mind during conversations with an insurance claims adjuster. Before you accept the first settlement offered, contact an attorney.
Consult With a Truck Accident Lawyer
An experienced truck accident lawyer in Arizona can explain your rights and help you understand your legal options. Your lawyer can assist you with processes such as investigating the crash, gathering evidence against the at-fault party and negotiating for fair financial compensation. Consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after your truck accident for more information.