What Happens if I’m in a Car Accident With a Commercial Vehicle?
Getting into a car accident with any type of vehicle can be a very stressful and traumatic situation. There are several elements to consider in order to effectively handle the scenario.
Becoming involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle can be even more nuanced than a collision with a standard passenger vehicle. Keep reading to learn what happens after a car accident with a commercial vehicle.
Commercial Vehicles Defined
Commercial trucks, also commonly known as “big rigs,” are vehicles used in order to conduct business and/or transport commercial goods. Dissimilar to other trucks, commercial trucks necessitate a commercial driver’s license to operate and typically serve a particular purpose. Some examples are as follows:
- Tanker trucks
- Cement trucks
- Delivery vehicles
- Other large freight trucks
Determining who’s responsible for an accident with a commercial vehicle is a bit more layered and complex than determining liability in a standard passenger vehicle collision. Commercial vehicles and their drivers are required to adhere to strict regulations due to their size and purpose.
There are several parties that may be held liable for the accident, depending on how the collision occurred. The following are the parties that may be held responsible:
- Truck driver
- Commercial transportation company
- Owner of the vehicle
- Cargo loaders or manufacturer
Steps to Take Immediately After a Crash
While there are many steps you should take after an accident with a commercial vehicle, the following are the most immediate steps you should worry about:
Seek Medical Care
Obtaining medical care may be the most important step you take after an accident with a commercial vehicle. Your first priority should be the safety and health of yourself and anyone else involved in the accident.
Call the Authorities
No matter how much damage is sustained as a result of the accident, it’s in your best interest to obtain a police report. This documentation will be very valuable for your claim later on, even if you’re only going after property damages.
Do your best to photograph the vehicles as they are before moving them out of the way (if moving them is necessary). Take photos of any visible injuries you’ve sustained and be sure to document the road and weather conditions. If falling cargo caused your accident, take as many photos as possible of the cargo and where it fell from the vehicle.
Be sure to obtain the following information from all drivers and passengers involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses present:
- Phone number
In addition, it’s wise to take photos of the following pieces of information from the driver(s) involved in the wreck:
- Insurance card
- License plate
- Vehicle registration
- Driver’s license
Report the Wreck
You’ll most likely need to submit a claim to the insurance company in order to begin the process of recovering damages. When you do so, keep in mind that you have the following options for providing your statement:
- Over the phone
- In writing
- Your attorney can provide a statement for you
Speak With an Attorney
Keep in mind that the statute of limitations for personal injuries as a result of vehicular accidents is two years. That means you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit to recover damages from the incident. If you wait longer than two years, the court will most likely throw out your case and you’ll be left to fend for yourself.
Our attorneys here at Templeton Smithee Hayes Heinrich & Russell, LLP are highly skilled in the area of commercial accident personal injury law. Our team has helped many other people just like you obtain justice, and we may be able to help you, too. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our firm with any questions you may have right away.
Call Templeton Smithee Hayes Heinrich & Russell, LLP today at (806) 397-0300. We represent clients in the Texas panhandle and Eastern New Mexico.