What to Do After a Trucking Accident: Navigating the Claims Process

Mobile towing truck with the crane jib raised and side tools boxes transporting broken semi truck to repair shop

Anyone, including the most trained, seasoned drivers, can be involved in a trucking accident when they least expect it. And when this moment happens, it can be scary and may leave you unable to focus on what to do next.

Having a plan in place and understanding how to get through the claims process can make this situation a little more manageable — both at the time of the accident and in the aftermath.

Here’s what you should do after a trucking accident, whether minor or severe.

Call for Help

The very first thing you will want to do when an accident occurs is to call 911 for help. This will get emergency responders to you immediately so that any injuries can be assessed.

In addition to paramedics, the police will arrive to complete an investigation, gathering details so that an official report can be filed. A copy of this report may be requested by your insurance company.

Follow Steps for Emergencies

As a trained truck driver, there are things you know that you are supposed to do in an emergency situation. This is the time those steps need to be put into action.

Put on your hazard lights to alert other drivers that you are stopped. And, if possible, maneuver your truck out of the lane of traffic. Set up your warning devices like cones or warning triangles as an additional safety measure.

Gather Evidence

If you are unharmed in the accident and do not require medical transport, do what you can to take pictures of the accident scene. These will help your insurance company when you file your claim — especially if the other party involved tries to take legal action.

Here are a few things you will want to include in your photos:

  • All sides of vehicles involved
  • How the vehicles were left after the accident, including any detached parts and roadway debris
  • Skid marks, if applicable
  • Identifying landmarks, such as road signs
  • Varying distances and angles, including 50 feet away and 10 feet away
  • License plate of vehicles involved

Do not take photos of people or their injuries. But do gather these additional things from the scene:

  • Insurance information of other drivers involved
  • Names and contact information for those involved in the accident
  • Names and contact information for witnesses
  • Current weather and lighting conditions

Jot down the weight of your truck and whether or not you were carrying a load. This can be used to determine the stopping distance.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Once everything has been cleared up at the scene, it is time to contact your insurance company and report the accident. This will kick off the claims process. Expect to be asked about the details and provide everything you collected, such as photos, contact information, and a copy of the accident report.

Ask any questions you have about the process – and your policy – to ensure you understand what is going to happen next. For many, an insurance adjuster will come out and assess the damage to the truck and investigate the accident as a whole. They will also provide the company with an estimate for repair. Some insurance companies ask the repair shop to assess the damage and report directly to them as to the estimate for repair.

Your insurance company will advise you of how much they are going to give you towards the cost of your repairs.

This entire process may be a bit overwhelming, but your insurance team is always there to answer any questions you may have along the way.

Daniel & Henry provides comprehensive, value-added commercial truck insurance solutions designed for your trucking business while reducing your overall insurance costs.