What to Do if You’re Involved in a Commercial Vehicle Accident

By  //  April 19, 2021

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Roads are some of the most perilous places on earth. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, an estimated 1.35 million individuals die annually due to road crashes, with about 3,700 people losing their lives on a daily basis.

In addition, up to 50 million persons are injured and may suffer from long-term disabilities from these road mishaps.

Like personally-owned cars, commercial vehicles, whether a bus, truck, or van, are operated by companies for business use. These modes of transportation are used by staff members to ferry themselves in and out of the office, as well as carry business equipment, fuel, goods, and other physical assets. These commercial vehicles ply the roads on a daily basis, too, making them equally susceptible to mishaps.

Being ubiquitously present on the major highways and thoroughfares, these vehicles may, unfortunately, succumb to dangerously bumpy roads, harsh weather conditions, or driver errors. Trucks have a bad reputation of causing major damages, being that they weigh up to 30 times more than a sedan.

Although getting involved in a vehicular accident is never part of a driver’s bucket list, accidents may and do happen. In such an instance, you may be entitled to compensation after meeting specific conditions per business vehicle policy.

Here’s what to do if you’re involved in an unfortunate collision with a commercial vehicle:

Get medical help promptly

Turn off the engine and secure the vehicle, as well as make sure that you and your passengers are okay. If you’re not seriously injured, check the other passengers. Immediately call 911 or any of the emergency services to receive prompt medical attention.

If you or any of your passengers can’t move, don’t force yourself and ask bystanders to call for help instead. Don’t leave the accident site.

Have you and your passengers checked even in cases of minor mishaps as you may have incurred other damages that could be harmful or may cause serious injuries in the future. 

Take the details of the other driver 

Don’t engage in unprofessional behavior even if the collision was caused by the commercial vehicle driver.

Keep calm as you ask for the following details:

■ Driver’s name and address

■ License number and issuing state

■ Commercial vehicle type, model or make, and year of manufacture

■ Commercial vehicle number and issuing state

■ Name of insurance company, address, and policy number of the vehicle in question

■ Description (and photos) of the damages

On the one hand, don’t:

■ Discuss with other persons about the incident

■ Apologize because it may be used to your disadvantage

■ Admit fault even if you think you should as it can complicate things and your claims

■ Sign any document or provide any information unless it’s the police

■ Talk to anyone, especially insurance adjusters, before speaking with your attorney. Click here if you want to get more information.

Make sure you’re safe

Ideally, you should never move an injured person unless the said individual is in imminent danger. Some roads are more dangerous than others.  If such is the case and you need to move the injured person, get yourself and your passengers to safety by staying on the side of the road. 

Call the police 

In the majority of the states in the US, any vehicle collision should be reported either to the police of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Report the incident to the police for proper documentation and appropriate action. Provide pertinent information, such as the location, number of persons involved in the accident, and a quick assessment of the scene.

A preliminary accident report is filled in for every vehicle involved in the collision.  Put simply, it provides authorities with information about what happened, who was involved, and the insurance carriers of all parties. It typically includes the following:

Background information (date, time, location, and description and sketches of the accident)

Damages to property, if any, including the name of the owner and the description of the damage(s)

Details of injured persons and injury descriptions

Additional information (names, addresses and contact details of witnesses, and names of police officers who responded, among others)

Snap some photos 

While waiting for the medical and police personnel to arrive, don’t forget to take photos of the accident scene for your own documentation. If you can, take clear shots of all the angles so that you won’t be accused of bias.

If you need to file a vehicle insurance claim in the future, you’d need to have all the photos you can get of the mishap to back up your claims.  

Inform your car insurer about the accident

While waiting for a response, take the time to contact your car insurer to inform them about the accident and ask about the processes in order to qualify for insurance claims. An insurance representative will be able to walk you through the information you need to collect and forward to the company.

Depending on the type of insurance coverage you have, you may be asked to submit various documents, but, typically, you should have the following prepared:

■ Police report

■ Accident report

■ Additional information, such as witnesses and their contact numbers

■ Filled up insurance claim application form

■ It’s recommended to keep all the accident-related documents in one place for easy access. Keep all your car rental receipts, premium payments, and documents. 

Consult with your attorney

If you have problems or concerns, it’s best to consult with a personal injury lawyer. Insurance companies may assign an adjuster to you, who’ll claim to be acting on your behalf. Be cautious, however, as insurance claims adjusters are working with insurance companies to lower the amount of their reimbursement to claimants.

Personal injury lawyers can provide you with sound advice on getting the best medical treatment and increasing the chances of compensation.

Final Thoughts 

Road accidents involving commercial vehicles can be damaging, sometimes, fatal.  If the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the company’s driver, you may be eligible for compensation. As the aggrieved party, you should hire an attorney to represent your interests and gather all pertinent information that will help you win your case.