5 Things You Should Do Immediately After Being in a Truck Involved Collision

As Georgia lawyers with years of experience handling tractor-trailer claims, we’ve identified 5 important steps everyone should take immediately after being in a truck involved collision.

1. If Possible, Move Your Car Out of Danger of the Truck Involved Collision

Most people think that they must leave their car exactly where it was located after a crash. Of course, if you think you are seriouly injured or if your car is unable to be safely driven, it is wise to leave the vehicles where they are.

Georgia law actually requires cars to be moved there are no serious injuries and the vehicles do not have disabling damages. (OCGA § 40-6-275) [1]

If it can be done safely, we recommend taking photographs of the vehicle layout immediately after the crash and then moving the vehicles safely off the roadway and out of traffic. Of course, use your judgment to decide whether it is safer to stay where you are or move the car.

Most of our cases involve significant injuries or wrongful death and obviously moving the vehicles is not possible or advisable in those scenarios.

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2. Make a Police Report at the Scene

ALWAYS contact law enforcement so that a Police Officer can make an official motor vehicle accident report.  Most insurance companies will require a police report before considering a claim.  Sadly, far too often we talk to potential clients who were not at fault but the other driver changes his/her story if there is no documentation of what happened in the wreck.  A police report will be invaluable should the driver later blame you for the accident. Be sure to request the citation number for the report to obtain it later.

3. Get Contact Information of Anyone Present at the Accident Scene

Memories fade. People change their stories. It is important to make sure you have witnesses who will verify the true version of events. Make sure to get the contact information of anyone who was on the scene and who witnessed any portion of the truck involved collision. Most jurors trust independent witnesses who have no personal stake in the outcome of the case.  Do not trust that the law enforcement officer(s) will be able to speak with every witness

4. Call your insurance company

Even if the you are not at fault, you need to let your insurance company know about the claim. Sometimes, the at-fault driver’s insurance will not “accept” liability for quite a while. If you are unable to safely operate your vehicle due to disabling damage, it may be necessary for your insurance company to pay for the damage to your vehicle. IF that happens, usually the at-fault driver’s insurance will reimburse your insurance company and pay you the deductible. It is also important in case you need to use your UM/UIM coverage.

5. Get prompt medical attention

Not all accidents require medical attention. However, if you think that you have been seriously injured in a truck involved collision, it is important that you still see a doctor because there may be injuries that have not yet revealed themselves such as a concussion, internal bleeding or swelling of the brain or even bone fractures.

Also, be sure to tell the doctor what happened during the accident and all symptoms, even those that seem minor to you. Your health may depend on it.

Read more on tips to reduce your chance of being in a truck involved crash.

A truck involved collision is often catastrophic and complicated requiring in-depth experience in personal injury law as well as significant expertise in federal and state trucking regulations.  But you don’t have to go it alone, here at Shiver Hamilton we can put our experience and expertise to work for you. We’ve successfully handled numerous automobile and trucking accident cases and want to hear from you and see if we can serve your needs.


[1] Ga. Code Ann., § 406275

§ 406275. Duty to remove vehicles involved in traffic accidents on expressways and multilane highways of state

Currentness

(a) Any other provision of this article or any other law to the contrary notwithstanding, motor vehicles involved in traffic accidents and the drivers of such motor vehicles shall be subject to the provisions of this Code section.

(b) This Code section shall apply to motor vehicle traffic accidents which occur on the public roads of this state as defined in paragraph (24) of Code Section 32-1-3. Any violation of this Code section shall be punishable as a misdemeanor pursuant to Code Section 40-6-1.

(c) When a motor vehicle traffic accident occurs with no apparent serious personal injury or death, it shall be the duty of the drivers of the motor vehicles involved in such traffic accident, or any other occupant of any such motor vehicle who possesses a valid driver’s license, to remove said vehicles from the immediate confines of the roadway into a safe refuge on the shoulder, emergency lane, or median or to a place otherwise removed from the roadway whenever such moving of a vehicle can be done safely and the vehicle is capable of being normally and safely driven, does not require towing, and can be operated under its own power in its customary manner without further damage or hazard to itself, to the traffic elements, or to the roadway. The driver of any such motor vehicle may request any person who possesses a valid driver’s license to remove any such motor vehicle as provided in this Code section, and any such person so requested shall be authorized to comply with such request.

(d) The driver or any other person who has removed a motor vehicle from the main traveled way of the road as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section before the arrival of a police officer shall not be considered liable or at fault regarding the cause of the accident solely by reason of moving the vehicle pursuant to this Code section.

(e) This Code section shall not abrogate or affect a driver’s duty to file any written report which may be required by a local law enforcement agency, but compliance with the requirements of this Code section shall not allow a driver to be prosecuted for his or her failure to stop and immediately report a traffic accident.

(f) This Code section shall not abrogate or affect a driver’s duty to stop and give information in accordance with law, nor shall it relieve a police officer of his or her duty to render a report in accordance with law.

(g) Employees of the Department of Transportation, in the exercise of the management, control, and maintenance of the state highways, may require and assist in the removal from the main traveled way of roads on the state highway system of all vehicles incapacitated from any cause other than having been involved in a motor vehicle accident and of all vehicles incapacitated as a result of motor vehicle traffic accidents and of debris caused thereby when such motor vehicle accidents occur with no apparent serious personal injury or death, where such move can be accomplished safely by the drivers of the vehicles involved or with the assistance of a towing or recovery vehicle and will result in the improved safety or convenience of travel upon the road. However, a vehicle incapacitated as a result of a motor vehicle traffic accident with apparent serious personal injury or death may not be moved until the enforcement officer has made the necessary measurements and diagrams required for the initial accident investigation.