The initial moments after a collision with a commercial truck can be incredibly hectic, especially if your vehicle has suffered catastrophic damage and you yourself have sustained serious injuries. However, it is vital to take steps that can protect your health—as well as the viability of any personal injury claim—as soon as possible following such a crash.
Your first priority should always be is make sure that everyone involved is alright. After that, there are several actions you can take to improve your chances of proving the negligence of the truck driver and having a successful claim to recover damages. These first steps to take after a Chicago truck accident can fulfill your obligations under the law and help document the scene to facilitate a strong civil case. Work with a skilled truck accident attorney that could guide you through the case process.
Responsibilities After a Crash
625 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/11-401 requires all parties involved in an accident that results in personal injury to remain on the scene until police arrive. A failure to follow this law is a Class 4 felony offense, and a conviction for this charge results in a loss of license for the offender.
Involved parties also must take reasonable steps to provide medical aid to any people injured at the scene. This typically involves calling for an ambulance, but in certain situations may involve helping someone escape from an immediately dangerous situation.
How Can Accident Victims Fulfil Their Responsibilities?
Accident victims can often easily fulfill this legal obligation by simply calling 911 immediately after the accident. This will result in the appropriate police department being dispatched to the scene, as well as an ambulance if anyone is injured. In addition to this being the legal duty for all people after an accident, this step can also improve an individual victim’s chances of having a successful claim.
The responding police officer is required to author a report concerning the accident. This report is an unbiased accounting of the facts that led to the accident. In many cases, this can serve as evidence of truck driver negligence, especially if the police officer issues the truck driver a ticket.
Other Steps to Take to Strengthen a Case
While some steps of the first steps to take after a Chicago truck accident are required by law, others are recommended to improve the chance of a successful claim. To reiterate, though, the most important step to take following truck wrecks is to seek immediate medical attention. The adrenaline rush that follows an accident can mask serious injuries, and many people do not even realize they were hurt for some time after the actual crash.
It is recommended that all individuals involved in truck accidents go to the closest emergency room as soon as possible, even if they do not feel injured at the time. Simply tell the staff that the injury is a result of a truck accident, and they can provide information about how billing for treatment will work.
Documentation Following a Truck Accident
Another important step that accident victims can take is to document the scene. If they are able, involved parties should take pictures and videos of the accident scene, including:
- Pictures of the vehicles, including their damage and resting spots
- Pictures of any traffic control devices including stop signs and traffic lights
- Video of the weather at the time of the accident
- Panoramic shots of the intersection where the accident happened, if applicable
These pictures are admissible evidence in a truck accident case. More importantly, they may be the only chance for individuals to obtain on-the-scene evidence before the vehicles are moved or towed away.
Taking These Steps After a Chicago Truck Accident Can Fulfill Legal Obligations and Strengthen a Case
The moments following a truck accident can be frightening and confusing. However, if you are involved in this type of accident, you have a legal obligation to secure aid from a truck accident lawyer for anyone who is injured. By calling the police, you fulfill this duty.
In addition, you should take pictures and videos of the scene if they are able, as this can make for powerful evidence that you will not have the chance to gather again. These first steps to take with a truck accident lawyer after a Chicago truck accident case can help ensure your own personal health and have a positive effect on any future legal claims.