A fully loaded 18-wheeler can be more than 70 feet long and weigh up to 80,000 pounds. If one of these gigantic pieces of machinery impacts with a passenger vehicle, severe or even fatal injuries are likely to result. If you’re a surviving victim of one of these crashes, you have certain rights and responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to report the crash to Dallas law enforcement authorities. After the accident is reported you should also contact a Dallas truck accident attorney to determine if you should file a claim.
The Controlling Statute
As per Texas Transportation Code section 550.026, an “operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of a person or damage to a vehicle to the extent it cannot be normally and safely driven shall immediately by the quickest means of communication give notice of the accident to the: (1) local police department if the accident occurred in a municipality; (2) local police department or sheriff’s office if the accident occurred not more than 100 feet outside the limits of a municipality …”
Information That Police Reports Provide
Never get talked out of calling 911 to report an accident and request that police and paramedics be dispatched to the scene. The truck driver who caused the accident might have any number of reasons for wanting to avoid police contact. He or she might have an outstanding warrant or be under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both. If the trucker who hit you tells you that police were called, confirm that by also calling the police too. Here are some other reasons why calling police to the scene of an 18 wheeler accident is of critical importance:
- Contact Information: The investigating officer will obtain all appropriate contact information from the drivers, including their insurance companies and policy numbers.
- Statements of Drivers: The investigating officer will take the statements of the drivers as to how the crash occurred. Although the trucker might change his or her story in the future, a police officer’s version of what a party to an accident told him or her is considered to be highly credible.
- Admissions of Liability: In the unlikely event that the trucker admits to being at fault for the crash, it’s highly likely that the investigating police officer will memorialize that admission in his or her report.
- Statements of Eyewitnesses: If there were eyewitnesses to the crash who remain at the scene, it’s likely that their versions of events will also be memorialized in the report. Independent witnesses might verify one version of events or another.
- Damage to the Vehicles: Although damage to the 18-wheeler might be minimal, damage to a passenger vehicle can be catastrophic. The location and extent of the damage to both vehicles is typically noted in police accident reports. Attorneys, judges and jurors can draw their own inferences from that information.
- Weather Conditions: A tractor-trailer can take 50% longer to stop on a wet road than a passenger vehicle. A wet road can support an allegation of driving too fast for weather conditions, traffic conditions or both.
- Physical Condition: Whether an accident victim was alive and bleeding or apparently dead is ordinarily noted on the report. This information can be used in a legal claim against the trucking company or truck driver themselves.
All this Helps Your Dallas Truck Accident Attorney
Here’s another good reason for calling in the accident. You’re going to need a police report to recover compensation for your injuries or damages. Without a police report in connection with your 18 wheeler accident, it’s unlikely that you’ll prevail in your claim for injuries and damages. If it’s at all physically possible for you, call 911, get to an emergency room immediately and then, call our offices right away at any of our convenient locations to obtain a free consultation. Our experienced truck accident attorneys are here to help you.
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