After being involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler or other commercial truck, you may be feeling shocked and confused. As a result, you may end up inadvertently saying things to the truck driver while exchanging information that may later end up hurting any claim for compensation you might bring. Below are some things you should not say to a truck driver after getting into an accident with them.
Immediately after an accident with a truck driver, you may out of instinct blurt out “I’m sorry!” or some other form of apology. Even if you believe or know that the truck driver caused the crash, human nature can drive us to offer apologetic words after a traumatic accident as a form of comfort or a sign of empathy for the other person. However, even apologizing as a gesture of kindness may later hurt your claim against the truck driver and trucking company. The company and its insurers may argue that offering an apology indicates guilt, or that you knew that you caused the crash.
Don’t Suggest Not Involving the Police
For a minor accident with no injuries and minor vehicle damage, you might want to avoid the time and hassle of reporting the accident to law enforcement. But you should avoid suggesting this to the truck driver for several reasons.
First, as with an apology, suggesting not getting the police involved may later be used as evidence that you knew caused the accident and wanted to avoid a ticket or criminal summons.
Second, the law requires that most motor vehicle accidents be reported to the authorities, so in many cases, the police must be informed of the accident.
Third, if the police are not called to the scene, then no police accident report is created. This report usually serves as a critical piece of evidence in motor vehicle accident cases, and many insurance companies will deny claims in the absence of a police accident report.
Don’t Say That You Aren’t Injured
You may also feel tempted to reassure the truck driver by telling them that you weren’t hurt. However, many injuries suffered in truck accidents may take days or weeks to begin causing you pain or other symptoms. If you tell the truck driver at the crash scene that you were not injured, but later file an injury claim, the trucking company or its insurer may use your statement to argue that you either aren’t actually injured or that your injures were caused by something other than the accident. If the truck driver asks if you need an ambulance, you can politely refuse if you don’t feel that you are experiencing medical distress and just tell the driver that you plan to see your doctor later.
Don’t Discuss the Moments Leading Up to the Accident
Drivers often inadvertently blurt out statements after an accident such as “I didn’t see you!” However, you should never talk to the truck driver about what you saw or what you were doing in the moments leading up to the truck crash. If you do later try to pursue a claim arguing that the truck driver caused the crash, the trucking company may try to pin some or all the blame for the accident on you based on your statements about what you were doing or what you saw immediately prior to the collision.
What Should You Say to a Truck Driver Following a Crash?
Of course, these tips do not mean that you should avoid talking to the truck driver completely. But you should keep your conversation to the minimum required by law. You can ask if the truck driver needs immediate medical attention or if they need you to call 911. You should also exchange information with the truck driver, including getting the truck driver’s CDL number, state or U.S. DOT registration number for their truck, as well as their employer’s contact information and insurance information, if the truck driver has access to that.
Contact Our Truck Accident Attorneys to Learn More about Your Rights
After you have been injured in a truck crash, call Gibson Hill Personal Injury at 512-580-8334 or reach out to us through our website’s contact form for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can discuss your legal rights and options and help you understand how we can help you obtain the financial recovery you need and deserve after a devastating truck accident.