Truck accidents can be devastating, both in terms of the potential consequences for the parties involved as well as for the company that the truck belongs to. If you are a commercial driver or an owner of a trucking company that transports large amounts of goods, familiarizing yourself with the procedures related to truck accidents will significantly help you in minimizing the long-term consequences.
Transportation companies must follow regulations set by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Furthermore, DOT and FMCSA keep track of the safety records of trucking companies and their employees. Certain accidents qualify as DOT-recordable accidents and directly impact the safety rating of a trucking company.
These are the criteria for an accident to be considered as a recordable DOT accident:
- At least one individual that has sustained bodily injuries that require medical attention.
- At least one vehicle damaged to the extent that it requires to be towed away.
- The location of the accident must be a public road.
- Human fatalities.
In order for an accident to be classified as a DOT-reportable accident, only one of the conditions listed above needs to be met. If you do find yourself involved in an accident, aside from ensuring the physical well-being of everyone involved, it is of the utmost importance to follow procedures and guidelines to make sure you are legally protected.
Here are 6 accident procedures you’ll want to keep in mind when involved in a truck accident:
- Assess the situation and make sure everyone involved is safe, conscious, and showing vital signs.
- Notify the police no matter how minor the accident may seem at the time. It is required by law, and you will need to fill out several reports that will later be used as evidence and for filing insurance claims. If the accident qualifies as a reportable accident, you will need to file a DOT accident report as well.
- Seek out medical attention if needed. Even if it is just a minor bump on the head, you’ll want to have it checked by a healthcare professional. Truck accidents can cause a lot of underlying injuries that might not appear until later on. From a legal standpoint, getting a thorough check at the scene will help you later to prove that the injury you sustained is related to the accident.
- Secure the scene with hazard warning lights and other visual cues that will help prevent further accidents.
- If you are a commercial driver, make sure to contact your dispatch officer and your insurance company. You’ll probably also need to talk to the insurance company that represents other parties involved in the accident. We suggest avoiding going into too much detail without a lawyer by your side.
- Speaking of lawyers, you should call one that specializes in trucker accidents, possesses the necessary knowledge to handle your case and reach a settlement in your favor.
Here at The Whisler Law Firm, we are a group of highly respected trial attorneys that will work tirelessly on your case to provide you with a positive outcome. We offer valuable legal advice to clients that have recently been in a trucking accident and need assistance with filling out reports. We can also handle your case and ensure you get full and fair compensation. Contact us and find out how Whisler Law can help you out.