As a truck driver, commercial vehicle accidents are only too familiar. Nearly 388,000 truck accidents happen annually across the U.S.
While you can’t always avoid accidents, you should be well informed on how to deal with them in case they do happen. Knowing what to do will help you deal with commercial truck accidents swiftly while minimizing the impact of these accidents.
Our guide covers the essential information related to these accidents and how to deal with them to help you be better prepared for potential truck accidents.
What Qualifies as a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
A commercial vehicle accident refers to any collision or accident involving a vehicle that is used for business or commercial purposes.
These accidents can vary in severity, from minor fender benders to catastrophic collisions. They Can involve various types of commercial vehicles.
Why are Commercial Vehicles at Risk for Accidents?
Commercial vehicles are at a higher risk for accidents due to their size, weight, limited visibility, and long hours on the road.
Many factors can cause commercial vehicle accidents, and even the most experienced truck drivers end up in accidents due to their high mileage and the inherent risk of operating a commercial vehicle.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Commercial truck accidents can result from many different factors. Here are some of the most common causes:
- Driver Fatigue: Long hours on the road and tight schedules can lead to driver fatigue, impairing a truck driver’s reaction time and decision-making abilities.
- Speeding: Excessive speed reduces a truck driver’s ability to react to sudden changes in traffic conditions and increases the severity of accidents.
- Distracted Driving: Distractions like texting, phone calls, eating, or adjusting GPS devices can divert a truck driver’s attention from the road, leading to accidents.
- Inadequate Training: Insufficient training in handling large commercial vehicles can result in errors and poor decision-making on the road.
- Overloaded or Improperly Loaded Cargo: Improperly loaded or overweight cargo can affect the stability and handling of a truck, increasing the risk of rollovers and accidents.
- Equipment Failure: Mechanical failures in the truck’s components, such as brakes, tires, or steering, can lead to accidents. Poor maintenance practices contribute to equipment failure.
- Weather Conditions: Adverse weather, such as rain, snow, ice, or fog, can reduce visibility and traction, making accidents more likely.
- Blind Spots: Large trucks have significant blind spots, making it challenging to see smaller vehicles. This can result in accidents, especially during lane changes or turns.
- Hazardous Materials Incidents: Trucks carrying hazardous materials can pose additional risks, as spills, leaks, or explosions can result in severe accidents and environmental damage.
Common Injuries Resulting from Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can cause a range of injuries, often more severe than car accidents due to the size and weight of commercial vehicles.
Severe injuries could include whiplash, fractures, head and brain injuries, traumatic brain injuries, burns, and psychological trauma. Seeking prompt medical attention is crucial, as the injuries can vary from minor to life-altering, and early intervention is essential for recovery.
Steps to Take After a Commercial Vehicle Accident
Responding swiftly to commercial vehicle accidents is essential. Here are some of the most critical steps commercial drivers should take after an accident with a semi-truck.
First, check for injuries and move to a safe location if possible. Turn on hazard lights, set up warning devices, and secure the accident scene to prevent further collisions.
Call for Help
Dial 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance and law enforcement to the scene. Commercial accidents often involve severe injuries and may require specialized attention.
Exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved, including witnesses. Note the other driver’s license plate number and insurance details.
Document the Scene
Take photos and notes of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, and traffic signs. This documentation can be vital for insurance claims and legal purposes.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don’t feel injured directly after the accident, it’s crucial to see a healthcare professional. Some injuries may not be apparent immediately, and a medical record is essential for potential claims.
Cooperate With Law Enforcement
Provide a statement to the police and answer their questions honestly. Request a copy of the police report for your records.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Follow their guidance on filing a claim and provide all necessary information.
Consult An Attorney
Consider seeking legal counsel, especially if there are injuries or disputes regarding liability. An experienced truck accident attorney can help protect your rights and navigate complex commercial accident cases.
This is especially important if you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit with accident victims claiming medical expenses. An experienced personal injury attorney will make this process a lot easier.
Keep any evidence related to the accident, such as medical records, repair estimates, and correspondence with insurance companies or legal professionals. The more evidence you have, the stronger and easier your claims process will be.
Avoid Discussing the Accident
Refrain from discussing the accident on social media or with anyone other than your legal representation and insurance company. Statements made publicly can be used against you.
Remember that commercial vehicle accidents can be complex, and it’s essential to protect your rights and interests throughout the process. Seeking professional guidance from legal and medical experts is advisable to navigate potential legal and insurance challenges effectively.
It’s also vital that you understand the risks involved in commercial accidents and that you take all necessary precautions to avoid the accidents from happening in the first place. Ultimately, this comes down to responsible driving practices and taking good care of your vehicle.
If you’re looking to purchase a new semi-truck after a commercial vehicle accident, then you’ll probably need to find the right financing solution. Get in touch with us at Mission Financial, where we can help you secure financing for your commercial vehicle with ease.