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A Checklist of What to do After a Trucking Accident in Texas

What are the 5 Steps to Follow Immediately After a Truck Accident Occurs?

The important steps to follow immediately after a Texas truck accident occurs are:

  • Check if there are any fatalities or if anybody needs aid or immediate medical attention.
  • Call the police and make a detailed report when they arrive.
  • Collect information from the other party involved.
  • Gather evidence from the accident scene.
  • Get a truck accident lawyer and report the incident to your insurance company.

What Information do I Need to Collect After a Truck Accident?

People involved in trucking accidents in Texas should ensure they collect important information about the truck and the truck driver. The information should include the name, phone number, email address, and home address of the driver, the truck driver’s insurer and policy details, the truck driver’s license number, the truck driver's employer’s name, and contacts. The individual should also collect information on the truck and the trucking company. They should get the name of the trucking company, the license plate number, and the truck number. If they can, they should also find out about any insurance information about the vehicle. This information would be necessary for law enforcement officers and insurance companies. The insurance company would also need this information to gauge the damage done and determine what is payable. 

Individuals involved in a trucking accident may need to hire a truck accident lawyer and provide the lawyer with information about the accident. Law enforcement officers may aid in collecting this information, especially if the victims need to be transported away from the scene due to injuries.

It is necessary to preserve evidence after a truck accident. Sometimes, people involved in the accident may be dishonest about the occurrence to avoid liability, or the insurance company may try to get a vehicle repaired quickly so that the evidence regarding the full extent of the damage is destroyed. Therefore, truck accident victims should be proactive and take detailed video recordings or pictures of the environment the accident occurred in, as well as the damage that the vehicles sustained, both internal and external. Other things at the scene of the accident like road signs, debris on the road, skid marks, and other damage at the scene may also be important. Steps should also be taken to get computer data from the big rig truck's black box or other devices. The recordings or images taken should clearly show the extent of damage caused at angles that make it easy to determine the extent of the damage. The victim should also look around for any surveillance cameras, or security cameras from businesses around, that may have captured the event and also collect information about people that witnessed the truck accident in case they are needed as witnesses.

When is the Right Time to File a Police Report After a Trucking Accident in Texas?

People involved in trucking accidents should file a police report immediately after the incident.

After a truck accident, the drivers are expected to clear the road as soon as possible to ensure that the accident does not lead to traffic. Texas truck drivers are required by law to remain on the scene of the accident and not to drive far away from it.

In the event that the accident caused serious bodily damage and the victims had to be rushed to the hospital, the party at fault has an obligation to take the victim to the hospital or help them get the necessary medical attention. The victim should make a police report as soon as the doctors discharge them. This is to ensure that they do not forget important details about the accident. Such information would be necessary in case of a claim for damages. Texas law requires that drivers involved in accidents report the accident if it results in property damage exceeding $1,000, death, or injury. Failure to report the accident in those circumstances may lead to a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment. Some of the important details to include in the police report are:

  • Driver's information, which includes the name of the driver, address, phone number, driver's license state, number, type, and status. The driver’s age, ethnicity, and gender.
  • Vehicle information, including, the make, model, and body style, license plate number, vehicle identification number, insurance company name, and policy number. 
  • Drug and alcohol information that shows whether a sobriety test was administered, type of specimen taken, and sobriety result.
  • A detailed description of the scene of the accident and how the accident occurred.
  • Any information on any witnesses at the scene of the accident.

Immediately after the accidents, Texas truck drivers are to check for and assess damages to people around and the vehicle. They should immediately dial 911 and report the accident in detail, stating the exact location of the accident. They can then go ahead to collect or exchange information with the other people involved in the accident and witnesses.

What Should the Truck Driver do After an Accident?

For the trucker, it is important for the driver to inform the law enforcement officers of the incident, this is of course after an assessment of the damage. Texas truck drivers should not be in a hurry to leave the scene of the incident. They should also collect certain information about the other vehicle, such as the driver’s name, the description of the vehicle, the driver's license number, the plate number of the vehicle, and the insurance details. The truck driver should also write a police report and inform their employer about the accident. It is very common for truckers to be blamed for accidents of that nature, as such, it is important that the truck driver documents adequate evidence to show the actual event that occurred. Also, the truck driver must be careful to not apologize or accept blame as this could later be used as evidence against them.

What Should the Driver of the Other Vehicle do, Even if They are Not at Fault?

For the owner of the other damaged vehicle, who is not at fault for the accident, they should also access the damage and properly document evidence to show what actually occurred. They should take note of the truck description and number, the name of the driver, the truck company, and the license plate number. Asides from filing a police report, the driver could also file an official complaint against the driver with vivid details about the incident. If the truck driver acted in gross negligence, the other driver may also send a report to the Texas Department of Transportation detailing the events that occurred. The driver may also want to seek the services of a personal injury lawyer to help with claims for damages and general advice. The driver should contact their insurance expert to help with an insurance claim. 

What are All the Information You Need and Steps for an Insurance Claim?

After a truck accident in Texas, it is important for the victim to take the following steps to get compensation for the damages from their insurance company:

  1. Involve the police and make written reports.

  2. Call your insurance company and give a detailed account of the occurrence, even from the scene of the accident, regardless of who is at fault.

  3. Speak with a Claims Specialist for more advice.

  4. Use a mobile app to jumpstart your claim. Many insurers now have mobile apps to help allow you to report a claim, upload pictures of the accident, schedule appraisals, and so on. This would help save time.

  5. Claim your payment.

Some of the information you would need when submitting an insurance claim include:

1.  Verification of personal and policy details.

2.  The location and time of the accident.

3.  Detailed information about the accident and how it occurred.

4.  Descriptions of all the vehicles involved in the crash.

5.  Details of any other party involved in the accident.

In some instances, the insurer would require certain documents as evidence. There will be a need to provide this evidence to verify the claim. This can include items such as receipts, police reports, medical certificates, or photographs. Before making a claim, the driver may have a quick look at their Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to confirm whether there are any exclusions on the policy and also to confirm details such as the excess they need to pay. However, individuals that are unsure can always check with their insurer when they call them to make the claim.

What Happens if I Leave the Scene of a Truck Accident?

Sec 550.022 of the Texas Transportation Code places a duty on anyone involved in an accident that results or is reasonably likely to result in injury or death of a person to remain on the scene of the accident until an operator complies with the requirements of Section 550.023. A person commits an offense if they do not conform to the requirements of the session. The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident, pursuant to section 550.023, is under a duty to give information and render aid. The operator of the vehicle must provide any person injured in the accident with reasonable assistance, including transportation or making arrangements to transport the person to a hospital for medical treatment. People involved in truck accidents are advised to call the police and report the incident, whether they are at fault or not.

What to do if Your Trucking Accident Involves Pedestrians? 

If your trucking accident involves a pedestrian, the driver should immediately attend to the pedestrian and ensure that they receive immediate medical attention if need be. This should be done irrespective of who is at fault. The trucker would also need to report the incident to the police, and their employer, and hire a truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Texas truck drivers are not always at fault in accidents involving pedestrians, the fault could be the pedestrian’s and consequently, liability may fall on the pedestrian. For instance, where the pedestrian clearly failed to follow the right of way rule, ignored the crosswalk direction, or was jaywalking. In any event, the truck driver should speak with a truck accident attorney with experience in truck accident cases and related issues. The trucker should provide the attorney with details of the events that occurred in case of any accident lawsuit or claim for damages. The truck driver would need to also provide their truck accident lawyer with the details of the place and time the accident occurred, and the speed limit the driver was maintaining, backed by evidence if possible. If the driver is at fault, they may reach out to the person hurt and negotiate a settlement. The payout would be limited to the level of the driver’s insurance coverage. To hire a truck accident attorney in Texas, interested parties may simply use referrals from family and friends, or conduct a google search for terms such as "truck accident lawyer near me". In addition, concerned individuals may use the find a lawyer feature in the state bar association website to find the contact information of qualified accident attorneys in Texas.