If you’ve never been in a vehicle accident, consider yourself lucky. Many people can’t say the same. For those who have been in a car wreck, and especially a truck accident, there are things you can do immediately following the accident, provided it’s safe to do so. Odds are, you will be approached by witnesses who will ask if you’re OK and if you can safely leave the vehicle. If you can, and especially if fuel is leaking, get as far away as possible and try to ensure passersby aren’t too close. In fact, ensuring any other passengers or other victims are out of danger is a priority. You’ll want to call 911 or at least be sure someone else has made the call. This too is a priority. Once emergency personnel arrive, everyone who was involved in the accident, even if they say they’re not hurt, will need to at least have emergency personnel speak to them and do a cursory exam.
Once police arrive, any of the victims who can speak and comprehend what’s being said and provided they are not in immediate danger will be asked to tell what they witnessed. Witnesses are encouraged to remain on the scene, even if they are unsure of exactly what to do after the truck accident. In Florida, the laws allow an insurance company to “take the side” of their clients, even if there is evidence that suggests otherwise. A witness who remains on the scene can often be invaluable during any subsequent investigations or court hearings.
Provide the facts of what you saw and when you saw it when being interviewed by the police. If possible, have someone take pictures of the scene as soon after the accident as possible.
Be sure to ask for a copy of the police report. In some states, the report may not be available until later in the day or the next day and copies can be picked up at the police department or agency investigating the accident.
It’s always a good idea to know the police officer’s name.
Be sure to get as much information as you can about the truck and the truck driver. Remember, this is all secondary to ensuring there are no injuries. If possible, take photos of the license plate, any debris that could suggest bigger problems (beer cans, drug paraphernalia) and memorialize if you can any strange behavior from anyone involved in the accident, including the truck driver. Remember, though, law enforcement will also be collecting that information. It’s just never a bad idea to have your own memorialization.
In many, if not most, instances, putting the accident behind you takes time. Be sure to keep copies of everything not only from the day of the wreck, but other documents you’re bound to receive, such as insurance papers, hospital and doctor bills, bills for towing and estimates for repairs and anything else associated with the accident. In fact, having more than one copy is prudent.
Finally, be sure to contact a Florida truck accident attorney who can help navigate these overwhelming days. Proper legal guidance can protect your rights and ensure you’re back to where you need to before a truck accident in Florida interrupted your life.