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What to Do After a Truck Accident in California

Truck accident in California road

After a truck accident in California, the first thing to do is ensure the safety of everyone involved and then call 911 as soon as possible to get the police to the scene and EMTs, if needed. This can be done simultaneously, of course, by describing the scene to the emergency services while assessing the situation.

Safety is always the priority, and only then should you look to contact a lawyer to protect your rights. In our experience, too many truck accident victims contact their insurance company as the first port of call, but this can wait.

Why is this? Well, you have time to get in touch with them; you don’t have time to look after your own safety and others involved in the accident.

And, whatever you do, DO NOT leave the scene straight away — as per California law, it’s considered a hit-and-run accident if you do so, even if you weren’t to blame.

Let’s dig into this in more detail, though, to give you an exact roadmap of what to do.

11 Key Steps You Should Take Following a Truck Accident


1. Call 911

In the immediate aftermath of a truck collision, it’s crucial to call 911 without hesitation, regardless of the accident’s severity. This prompt action ensures a swift response from law enforcement, a key element in managing the situation effectively. Simultaneously, the immediate filing of an official police report at the accident scene is indispensable. This report serves as vital and irreplaceable evidence for subsequent insurance claims and potential legal actions.

When interacting with the police, provide accurate and detailed information to establish a clear, unbiased, and comprehensive account of the incident. This goes beyond mere formality; it significantly contributes to the creation of a detailed accident report. The accuracy and thoroughness of this report play a pivotal role in influencing the resolution of claims and legal proceedings that may follow.

By being transparent and cooperative with law enforcement, you contribute to a robust foundation for addressing the aftermath of the truck collision comprehensively.

2. Ensure Safety

While we generally advise people to move to a safe and secure location away from the accident scene, you also need to assess those involved in the crash before doing so. Severe injuries, such as spinal cord damage, might always be immediately apparent, and moving could cause permanent damage.

And so, you should only move from the accident if it’s safe to do so and if there’s immediate danger if you remain in location — such as near speeding traffic.

If you can, leave the moving of anyone to the EMT crew when they attend the scene.

3. Take Photos and Document the Scene

Capture details like the vehicles involved, any injuries you can see, the road, and important signs or signals. Also, write down the time, date, and weather conditions. These pictures and notes are like your proof folder – really important for dealing with insurance or legal necessities later on. They tell a clear story of what happened and make things easier to handle.

4. Exchange Information

Give the other drivers involved your name, contact details, insurance information, and vehicle number, and gather the same information from them. Also, write down the truck company’s name and anything special about the truck. This info is super important for dealing with insurance and talking to each other about what happened.

Doing this step fast helps things move smoothly after the accident and is a key part of gathering evidence to start building your claim.

5. Seek Further Medical Attention

Getting medical help right away after a truck accident is super important, even if you don’t see any obvious injuries. Some injuries might not show up immediately, so it’s crucial to have a medical professional check you out promptly.

This advice applies even if you feel fine but later start to feel unwell or start to notice a delayed injury. In addition, even if EMS attended the scene and checked you over, you can always seek further medical advice and support.

No matter what has happened, as experienced truck accident attorneys, we can’t stress enough the importance of seeking medical advice and following the exact guidance you’ve been given.

This not only helps address potential hidden injuries but also creates important records of any harm from the accident.

6. Collect Witness Statements

Acquiring detailed accounts and contact information from witnesses is crucial, as their perspectives can significantly support your version of events.

In our professional experience, waiting to do this further down the line is a bad move since memories fade and it’s just generally a tougher job to do, especially doing it yourself without expert legal support.

These statements play a huge role in creating a comprehensive and unbiased narrative, strengthening your position during insurance claims or legal proceedings.

7. Notify Your Insurance Company

Swiftly inform your insurance company about the truck accident, adhering to the policy’s reporting requirements. When providing information, be factual and concise, avoiding any speculation about fault.

Initiate the claims process promptly, as the accuracy and timeliness of your communication ensure that your insurer has the essential details to support you effectively in the aftermath of the accident.

8. Be Mindful Of What You Say

If you admit fault at the scene or to insurance companies, it can have serious consequences and impact your ability to claim damages. Don’t engage in extensive conversations with the other party’s insurance company; instead, direct them to your lawyer.

Also, be cautious about sharing details about the accident on social media, because the insurance company may use it against you. Even an innocuous selfie of you smiling after a stressful ordeal can be used against you.

9. Report Any Damage Over $1,000

Sooner than 10 days after the accident, law states that you have to report the accident or any damage to property exceeding $1,000. Note this also includes bodily damage rather than solely to physical property.

Information on ALL parties involved in the accident must also be reported at this time.

It’s nuances like this that make it even more important to get expert advice, and your lawyer can help do this on your behalf so you can focus on your injuries.

If you’re local to Los Angeles, contact us today for expert advice from a Torrance truck accident lawyer


10. Keep Detailed Records

Keeping thorough records makes life a hell of a lot easier down the road. They’re a powerful tool when dealing with truck companies and insurance giants:

  • Medical Expenses: Document all medical expenses related to the accident, including hospital bills, doctor visits, medications, rehabilitation costs, and any other healthcare services.
  • Repair Bills: Keep records of all expenses incurred for repairing your vehicle or any property damaged in the accident. This includes invoices, receipts, and estimates for repairs.
  • Lost Wages: If the accident resulted in time away from work, document the details of lost wages. Keep pay stubs, time-off requests, and any correspondence with your employer regarding the impact on your income.
  • Other Costs: Identify and record any additional costs directly linked to the accident, such as transportation expenses for medical appointments, costs for hiring temporary help, or any out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to the collision.
  • Insurance Correspondence: This includes emails, letters, and notes from phone conversations. Note claim numbers and the names of representatives you speak with.
  • Photographic Evidence: Take detailed photos of the accident scene, vehicles involved, visible injuries, road conditions, and relevant traffic signs or signals. These visual records provide tangible evidence of the accident’s circumstances.
  • Witness Statements: If there were witnesses to the accident, gather their statements and contact information. Witness accounts can provide additional perspectives and strengthen your case.
  • Police Report: Obtain a copy of the official police report filed at the scene. This document is a critical piece of evidence and can impact the resolution of insurance claims and legal proceedings.
  • Journal or Incident Log: Maintain a personal journal or incident log where you record your experiences, emotions, and any ongoing challenges resulting from the accident. This can serve as a subjective account of the impact on your life.

11. Hire an Attorney

An attorney plays a critical role in navigating the legal complexities, dealing with insurance companies, and ensuring the protection of your rights. They become your advocate, providing expert guidance throughout the entire process.

In this challenging time, having a legal professional by your side can alleviate stress and significantly increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

Truck accident cases often present unique challenges, such as:

  • Determining liability
  • Dealing with multiple parties
  • Addressing the extensive damages and injuries involved

Even if your injuries are minor, gathering evidence and fighting the legal battle on your own is an uphill battle. An experienced truck accident lawyer will:

  • Effectively communicate with insurance companies
  • Gather essential evidence
  • Negotiate for fair compensation
  • Maximize compensation for damages

How Our Legal Team Can Assist

Our legal team at Feher Law is dedicated to helping individuals involved in the accident navigate the complexities and challenges that follow a truck accident, ensuring you know what to do after a semi-truck accident.

From the immediate process, including calling the police and seeking medical attention, to the later stages, involving insurance claims and legal proceedings, we are here to assist every step of the way. 

Our team understands the unique challenges of truck accident cases and is committed to maximizing the outcomes for our clients. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, don’t face it alone.

Let us help you navigate the complexities, advocate for your rights, and secure the compensation you deserve. Your journey to justice starts with us.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, contact a San Bernardino truck accident lawyer for a free consultation to discuss your case.


These Stats Underpin the Prevalence of Truck Accidents in the Golden State

In busy California, you often see trucks on the roads, moving goods across long distances and playing a big part in the economy. But with so many trucks around, there’s a higher chance of accidents happening than you might think. These accidents can be a big deal because trucks are so big and heavy, and there are rules and issues to deal with.

In 2023 alone, California experienced a total of 5,782 commercial truck crashes, involving delivery truck drivers, tractor-trailers, and buses. These incidents resulted in over 4,800 injuries and 321 fatalities reported in collisions with commercial trucks in the state.


Our team is standing by and ready to assist you. Consultations are completely free and confidential. We will help you determine if you have a case.

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In California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim after a truck accident is generally two years from the date of the incident. It's crucial to initiate the legal process within this timeframe to preserve your right to seek compensation.

The amount of a truck accident settlement varies widely based on factors such as the severity of injuries, property damage, and the circumstances of the accident. Settlements can range from thousands to millions of dollars, and the specific amount depends on the unique details of each case.

The duration to settle a truck accident claim in California varies based on the complexity of the case. Some cases may be resolved relatively quickly through negotiations, while others that proceed to litigation can take several months or even years to resolve.

Yes, in California, you can still receive compensation for a truck accident even if you were partially at fault. The state follows a comparative negligence system, meaning your compensation will be reduced proportionally based on your degree of responsibility. It's crucial to consult with legal experts to understand how this might affect your specific case.

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