Whether it happens in a busy intersection, at high speed on an interstate, or under any other circumstances, any traffic collision that involves a commercial truck or tractor-trailer is bound to be a shocking and traumatic experience for everyone involved. In the chaos and confusion that often follows this kind of incident, it can be understandably hard to keep your concentration and take proactive action to preserve your legal rights and personal best interests.
In light of that, knowing the first steps to take after a Chattanooga truck accident in advance can be beneficial for anyone who drives on state roads. A knowledgeable truck crash attorney could explain all the following steps in further detail during a private consultation and, once retained, provide crucial assistance completing them in a timely fashion.
While Tennessee residents are not required to report fender-benders that do not cause any injuries and result only in very minor property damage, state law requires anyone involved in a wreck that causes death, any personal injury, or property damage exceeding $400 in value to report the incident to law enforcement. The easiest way to do this is generally to call 911 first and then follow the instructions of the police officer(s) who arrive at the scene after that.
Aside from being a matter of compliance with state law, reporting an accident in the proper way can also be important to recovering fair financial compensation through ensuing litigation or settlement negotiations. Injured accident victims can request copies of accident reports filed by responding police officers and present it to insurance companies or before a civil court as evidence supporting their claim.
After taking the first step of summoning law enforcement, the next step that someone involved in a truck accident in Chattanooga should take is collecting contact information from everyone else involved in the incident. Accident victims should make sure they get every other driver’s name, home address, phone number, email address, insurance policy information, license number, and—as needed—information about a negligent truck driver’s employer.
In many situations, it can be helpful to get contact information for nearby witnesses who were not directly involved in a truck wreck but saw the incident occur. A seasoned attorney could help track down these witnesses at a later date, take their statements, and incorporate the information they provide into a comprehensive claim for damages.
Documenting and photographing the damage done to a personal vehicle during a truck crash is certainly important to maximizing recovery later on, but it is even more essential for truck accident victims in Chattanooga to get formal documentation of the physical damage they themselves sustained. Even if there do not appear to be any serious injuries immediately after a collision, every person involved should still go to their primary care physician or the nearest emergency room to get a professional appraisal of their condition, ideally right after complying with all lawful requirements at the scene of the crash.
Even if someone follows all these critical first steps to take after a Chattanooga truck accident, they could still do substantial damage to their ensuing civil claim simply by saying the wrong thing to the wrong person. Immediately after wrecks like this, insurance reps for the truck company involved will likely contact you and try to pressure you into making statements that could later be used against you.
Before speaking with anyone from any insurance company on your own following a serious truck accident, you should get in touch with a lawyer who knows how to handle situations like this. With seasoned legal counsel on your side, you could more effectively demand the restitution you deserve while avoiding common mistakes that could otherwise impede your ability to recover.