5 Things to Do After a New Mexico Truck Accident
Motor vehicle accidents involving big rigs are quite common in New Mexico. According to the 2016 Traffic Crash Annual Report prepared by the state’s Department of Transportation, a semi/large-truck crash occurs, on average, every 4 hours. In 2016, the total number of such collisions was the highest in the last 5 years period and, with 2,326 crashes, accounted for 5.2% of all accidents and 10.4% of all fatalities.
If you are a regular driver in New Mexico, then, you should be aware of the risk of being involved in a crash with a large truck. Knowing what to do in the event of a collision with a big rig can help drivers to react in a way that will, first, minimize the impact of the crash on their future well-being and, second, maximize their chances of obtaining just compensation in a personal injury claim. In this blog, we will review the most important steps you should take after a truck accident in New Mexico.
Get Help Immediately
Due to the sheer mass of the vehicles involved and the resulting forces at play, truck crashes result in considerable, even catastrophic, damage to any involved passenger vehicles and can result in extremely serious injuries. If you are involved in a truck accident, the first thing to do is check if everyone involved in the accident is ok and make sure that emergency services are on their way. Depending on your state and level of injuries, you should take care of the following:
- Call emergency services
- Give reasonable assistance to the injured
- If possible, position your vehicle in a safe spot, preventing obstruction on the road
- Receive medical attention if needed
Preserve the Accident Scene
If after taking care of your own safety, as well as the safety of other people involved in the accident, you feel physically capable, you should take some steps to preserve, or document, the scene of the accident. This is important because the details of the scene and the crash itself – such as the initial position of the car after the collision, the way the debris is scattered, the features of the road, etc. – can later become valuable pieces of evidence, helping to determine the fault and liability in the accident. Some ways to gather such evidence include:
- Calling the police as soon as possible
- Taking pictures of the scene of the accident and its surroundings
- Documenting the damage to your car and to the truck
- Looking for details such as skid marks and photograph those as well
- If witnesses are available, get their names and contact information
Cooperate with the Police
When the police arrive, you should cooperate and provide a statement as required. However, when talking to the police and recounting the events that led to the accidents, you should strive to only give facts. Sharing opinion, speculations, or hypotheses can easily backfire as you can say things that can later be viewed as incriminating or at least tantamount to accepting a portion of the fault in the accident. Once the police have drafted a report, you should ask for a copy of it. This report may contain valuable information that can later help you obtain compensation in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Get Truck Driver Information
You should ask the truck driver about their basic personal details such as full name, address, company they work for as well as their insurance information. Again, you need to be cautious not to say anything that can be taken as an admission of guilt (or partial guilt). Even simply saying “I’m sorry” can later affect your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. This is especially important to keep in mind if insurance representatives of the trucking company arrive at the accident scene. It is your right to decline to speak to them about the accident at this point. It’s even more important to refrain from making any provisional arrangements with regards to the amount of any potential compensation.
Contact a Lawyer
Because the damage and the scope of injuries in a truck accident are usually much more serious than in another type of vehicle accident, the financial compensation you may get as the injured party can also be substantial. Insurance companies representing trucking firms rarely have your best interests at heart. Before even talking to the insurance company you should contact a trusted lawyer with experience in dealing with truck accident cases. Having a lawyer on your side is the best way to ensure that your interests and rights will be protected. It is also an effective way to increase your chances of obtaining the full amount of compensation you deserve.