Imagine you’re driving along I-75, I-85, or I-285 in Atlanta when suddenly your car collides with a massive 18-wheeler truck. Accidents involving big rigs are unfortunately all too common in the Atlanta metropolitan area. In fact, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation, there were over 5,000 accidents involving large trucks in Fulton County alone in 2022.

The sheer size and weight of these vehicles mean that when passenger cars tangle with them, the results are often catastrophic. Severe injuries, totaled vehicles, and even tragic fatalities frequently occur. After surviving such a horrific crash, it’s hard to think straight. But the steps you take immediately following a semi-truck accident in Atlanta can make all the difference in protecting your health, your legal rights, and your ability to recover fair compensation.

If you find yourself the victim of an accident with a commercial truck, here are seven crucial steps to take:

Step #1: Call 911 

Your first priority should always be everyone’s safety and well-being. If anyone is injured, request an ambulance right away. Even if the injuries seem minor, it’s best to get checked out by medical professionals. Some serious conditions, like brain trauma or internal bleeding, may not show obvious symptoms at first.

Calling 911 also alerts law enforcement. Getting the police on the scene is vital. They will secure the area, direct traffic around the crash site, and, most importantly, generate an official accident report. This report will become a key piece of evidence for any insurance claims or legal proceedings.

Step #2: Gather Evidence

While waiting for first responders to arrive, gather evidence if you can do so safely. Take plenty of photos from various angles showing the positions of the vehicles, damage, skid marks, road conditions, traffic signs and signals, and the surrounding area. 

Capture images of the truck and trailer from all sides, being sure to get clear shots of the US DOT number, license plates, and any company names or logos on the cab or trailer. Jot down the truck driver’s name, contact, insurance information, and the trucking company’s name and address.

If you’re too hurt or unable to, don’t worry. Your Atlanta truck accident lawyer can gather evidence and witness statements for you. 

Step #3: Notify Your Insurance Company

As soon as reasonably possible after the big rig accident, contact your auto insurance provider and inform them that you were involved in a crash with a commercial truck. Provide the basic facts of what occurred, but stick to objective information only. 

Don’t editorialize, speculate about fault, or admit liability. You must promptly report the incident to your insurer, but be cautious about giving recorded statements or signing anything without consulting a truck accident attorney in Atlanta first.

Step #4: Keep Detailed Records

Start a file and keep meticulous records of everything related to the accident and your injuries. Include a copy of the police report, photos from the scene, witness statements, medical records, doctor’s notes, test results, medications, therapy prescriptions – everything. 

Also, track all expenses you incur, such as hospital bills, pharmacy receipts, medical equipment costs, transportation to appointments, and any other out-of-pocket money you spend due to your injuries. If your vehicle was damaged, get a repair estimate or keep documentation of the replacement cost.

Step #5: Watch What You Say (and Post)

In our social media age, it’s natural to want to share details of your harrowing experience online with friends and family. Resist that urge. In fact, it’s best to refrain from discussing the truck accident or your claim with anyone other than your doctor and truck accident attorney.

The trucking company’s insurance provider will likely be scouring your social media profiles for any posts they can use against you. A picture of you having fun or a comment about how you’re feeling better can be taken out of context and used to downplay your injuries and damages. To be safe, don’t post anything about the accident or your physical condition.

Step #6: Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney 

Crashes involving commercial trucks are infinitely more complex than a typical fender-bender between two passenger vehicles. Trucking companies and their insurers have teams of truck accident lawyers ready to swoop in and start building a case against you. The sooner you level the playing field by hiring your own experienced truck accident attorney, the better.

Look for an Atlanta truck accident lawyer with considerable experience handling big rig accident claims and who understands the numerous federal and state regulations governing the trucking industry. They will immediately investigate the crash, preserve vital evidence, identify all potentially liable parties, and advocate for your full and fair compensation.

Step #7: Preserve the Truck’s Black Box Data

One of the most critical pieces of evidence in a truck accident case is the information recorded by the truck’s Event Data Recorder (EDR), also known as its “black box.” These devices capture and store a wealth of data about the vehicle’s speed, braking, steering input, airbag deployment, and more in the seconds before, during, and after a crash. 

However, federal regulations only require trucking companies to preserve this black box data for a limited time (as little as 30 days in some cases) unless they receive a formal notice to maintain it. An experienced truck accident lawyer in Atlanta will immediately send a spoliation letter notifying the company of your claim and demanding they preserve all potential evidence, including the EDR data. Otherwise, this vital information could be lost, putting your case at risk.

Crashes involving commercial trucks killed 4,842 people in the US in 2020, according to the latest data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Another 146,930 people were injured in wrecks with big trucks that same year. Yet trucking companies and their insurers often put up a tough fight against compensating accident victims.

These businesses have extensive resources, and they’re well-practiced at denying, delaying, and minimizing claims. Their insurance adjusters may swoop in while you’re still reeling from the trauma of a wreck and pressure you to accept a lowball settlement or even try to shift the blame onto you.

This is why it’s so critical to have an aggressive truck accident lawyer in your corner who knows how to go toe-to-toe with these companies and their insurers. 

Contact Our Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers

If you’ve been hurt in a wreck involving a semi, big rig, tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler, delivery van, or any large commercial truck in the Atlanta area, following these steps can help protect your right to full and fair compensation. But don’t go it alone. Contact a knowledgeable Atlanta truck accident attorney at Kim Law today to discuss your case and explore your legal options.

Call Kim Law today or fill out our confidential contact form. There are no upfront costs and no out-of-pocket expenses when you hire us.  You only pay us if we win. The consultation is also free. 

Pick up the phone, just call 404-JUST-WIN, and JUST WIN.

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Edward Kim

At the Kim Law, We are committed to providing world class legal representation. We take pride in providing elite service and delivering outstanding results. An accident can happen to anyone. Resulting injuries and medical bills can turn your life upside down. You are not alone during this physically, emotionally, and financially draining time. Turn to us at this frustrating crossroad. Our Atlanta personal injury lawyers will ensure you receive proper medical attention for your injuries. View Attorney Profile