What to Do In The Event of a Commercial Vehicle Accident — A Checklist

car accident
by Arthur Williamson

Unlike road accidents involving passenger vehicles, commercial vehicle accidents can be more complicated as there are other parties other than the driver that may be at fault in the accident.

Fatal crashes involving large trucks are the most common commercial vehicle accident. In fact, 57% of these fatal crashes often occur in rural areas and on interstate highways.

The protocols for any typical commuter car are very clear: tend to injuries, take the insurance information of the other driver, and call for police assistance. But in commercial vehicle accidents, you may need to call a commercial truck accident lawyer.

The difference between commercial and non-commercial vehicles are these:

  • Commercial vehicles are used for businesses, whereas non-commercial vehicles are for personal use
  • Commercial vehicles can transport more than 8 passengers for compensation and more than 15 passengers not used for compensation
  • Commercial vehicles transport hazardous material with signage required under federal regulations

1. Stop immediately

Any drivers involved in a commercial vehicle accident need to stop regardless if it’s a minor accident. Never drive away from the scene. Check the situation. Switch off your engine, set the brakes, and turn your hazard lights on to alert other vehicles. As expected, you will cause incoming traffic to that area. Give a signal to other drivers on the road. 

2. Keep calm and keep safe

Take a deep breath and compose yourself. Do not jeopardize your safety. The roadside is a dangerous place. You have to ensure that you are safely away from the traffic. You can wait for the police and ambulance before taking any actions. 

3. Call the police and seek medical attention if necessary

Call 911 immediately. The operator will route your call to the nearest local law enforcer and emergency responders. 

Check how many people are involved in the collision. Give the exact location of the accident and essential information about the injuries. It is not recommended to move the injured person unless they are in imminent danger. 

Even for minor impact, some people may sustain serious injury to the spinal cord. Loss of consciousness after the collision can cause closed head injury or concussion. 

Other vehicle injuries are not immediately apparent. Others may report the pain or injuries a day or two days after the accident. It is better to get medical assistance immediately to ensure that there is no harmful damage to your health.

4. Take photos for documentation and evidence 

Safely take a photo of important details to use as evidence, such as the following:

  • Close-up and mid-range shots of damaged commercial vehicles from all angles 
  • Commercial vehicles position before they are moved
  • Road layout
  • Signals and signage
  • Skid marks and debris
  • Truck license plate number

5. Take note of the essential and basic information 

You can do this if you are not injured. Take note of the details for an accident report and the insurance claim. Here is a list of information you need to document: 

  • Date, time, and exact location of the vehicle accident 
  • Truck driver’s employer and trucking company
  • Contact information of all the passengers involved, such as their name, address and contact number
  • If applicable, insurance details of all drivers or the name of the insurance carrier and policy number
  • Specific details of the injured person/people in the accident 
  • Concrete details of the commercial vehicle damages 
  • Contact details of police officers (name, badge number, department location) and other witnesses (name, address, contact number, and notation of comments made)
  • A brief description of the weather conditions 
  • A short description of the road quality, lighting condition, or if the driver is under the influence of alcohol

6. Maintain a professional demeanor

Regardless of who is at fault, you have to maintain your professionalism and avoid any heated arguments. Stay calm and be polite. Even if the other party is ranting and playing the blame game, keep your composure.

To avoid complicated and multiparty issues, do not admit your fault. The other involved in an accident may use your words against you. So be careful about what to say.

7. Inform your insurance company 

Call your insurance company immediately, whether or not you will ask for an insurance claim. Many insurance policies would require full cooperation and immediate reporting of a car incident. 

8. Take correct actions 

Your actions in the first hours after the accident are crucial if you hope to get compensated for your injuries.

But road accidents happen in the most unexpected moments, even if you are an expert driver. Preparing a checklist of what to do after a commercial vehicle accident can save you time and lessen your anxiety in times like this. Precautionary measures are basic things every driver must take into consideration. 

If you want to know more about what to do during a commercial vehicle accident, contact Assured Standard today!

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