Vehicle motorists have a serious disadvantage in a crash with a large truck. A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds or 40 tons while the typical passenger vehicle weighs about 3,000 to 4,000 pounds.
Trucks cannot slow down or stop as quickly as cars. Car occupants are more likely to suffer catastrophic and fatal injuries because trucks have a tendency to hit cars at higher speeds and with more impact.
At the accident scene
If you are in a truck crash, stay at the accident scene until first responders arrive or you may face the risk of hit-and-run charges. If your car is blocking traffic or in an unsafe area, pull it over to the side of the road if it is operable. Activate your car’s hazard lights so other drivers can see you.
Stay away from traffic to prevent getting hurt. Call 9-1-1 immediately if you or anyone has injuries. Provide first aid to anyone who is hurt. Do not move them, however, unless they are in imminent danger.
Get the names and insurance information for anyone involved in the crash. Write down the accident location, the time it occurred and weather conditions.
You should also get other important information:
- License plate information and the make and model of the truck and other vehicles involved in the accident.
- The truck driver’s license number and employer.
- Names and addresses of the truck driver and all motorists involved in the accident and their passengers.
- Insurance company information and policy number for the truck driver and all other drivers in the accident.
- Names, telephone numbers and addresses of any witnesses.
- The police accident report when it becomes available. Ask the responding officer about the procedures for getting the report along with their badge number and contact information.
Never admit fault or apologize. Stay as calm as possible and do not argue with anyone.
Your smartphone can help gather important evidence. If you can, photograph the accident scene, any vehicles in the crash, property damage and other visible information that you cannot write down.
You may record video of the accident scene. Be careful what you say and do not admit or assume fault on the video.
These cases may be more complex than other accidents and involve more serious injuries. An attorney can provide advice shortly after the crash and help protect your rights.