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Knowing what to do after a truck accident can impact your safety, well-being and the result of your insurance claim. Sargon Law Group wants you to have the information you need following a crash. That way, you or your loved one can set yourself up for a positive outcome.

Crashes with big trucks can be devastating due to their size and weight. Many of them lead to severe injuries, mental and emotional issues, time away from work and lost wages. In Arizona, there were 662 accidents with injuries involving a semitruck in 2022. Sadly, an additional 111 people lost their lives in these crashes.

What To Do After a Truck Accident, Step by Step

It can be challenging to think clearly after a crash. Knowing ahead what to do after a truck accident can boost your safety and help with your claim later.

Even a minor truck accident can leave you disoriented or full of adrenaline. Keep everyone’s safety in mind first, then follow these actions to make the claims process easier.

Check on Everyone

The safety of all drivers and passengers is the most important factor after an accident. First, assess yourself to see if you sustained any injuries. Then, check on passengers and other vehicle drivers to see if they are hurt.

Generally, don’t attempt to get out of your car or move it if anyone is seriously injured. You should also avoid moving a person with severe trauma as you can exacerbate their injuries. Allow the paramedics to do their jobs if possible.

An exception to this rule is if you are in imminent danger by remaining where you are. Only move a victim if you cannot safely stay put and you are physically able to move them.

Call First Responders

Call 911 after your accident to get help from medical providers and law enforcement. You may think you can skip this step after a truck accident if you only have damage to your vehicle. However, Arizona law states that a law enforcement officer must file a written report following a crash resulting in bodily injury, death or more than $2,000 in property damage.

Property damage can add up quickly, and it’s best to err on the side of caution and call the police. Law enforcement will assess the situation, write a report and issue citations if someone was at fault. The police report is an official record of the accident. It may contain beneficial information for your insurance claim.

If anyone has injuries, calling 911 is a nonnegotiable step; you must get medical treatment. Paramedics know what to do after a truck accident and will check for minor and major trauma.

Rendering reasonable assistance to the injured is also a legal requirement, at least by calling first responders.

Move to Safety

Arizona law requires you to move your vehicle to the roadside if you are in a minor crash. Moving to safety will:

  • Help prevent a secondary crash from other drivers hitting your vehicle
  • Avoid traffic backups
  • Allow first responders to work in a safe area

The law applies if your vehicle is operable and no one has injuries.

Document the Scene

Documenting with photos is an important step after a truck accident.

Once you have assured everyone’s safety, take photos and videos of the accident scene. This evidence can be crucial to your insurance claim, and It may also support your lawsuit if you file one.

Take photos of your vehicle, the truck and any other cars involved. Take pictures of the entire scene and close-up shots of damage.

The Significance of Skid Marks After an Accident

If you can safely do so, document skid marks. They help forensic engineers and accident reconstructors analyze the crash. These professionals know how to investigate causes and faults after a truck accident. Skid marks provide information such as:

  • The distance at which braking took place
  • The vehicles’ speeds at the moment of the crash
  • Other factors, such as speeding around a curve, braking efficiency and drag factor

Skid marks and tire impressions can also identify a vehicle’s make and model.

Other Surroundings

Take pictures or videos of anything around you that may have contributed to the accident. Some examples are falling rocks on the shoulder of a highway, ice patches or debris in the street.

Speak to Witnesses

Was anyone else in the area during the accident? If so, ask for their contact information. Third-party witnesses can help you build a strong case and increase your credibility. They can fill in the blanks by providing information about what they saw.

Witnesses may give their story to the law enforcement officers on the scene. However, getting their names and numbers is vital in case you or your attorney need to speak to them later. An attorney knows what to do after a truck accident and understands their testimony may be valuable if you have a case.

Approach witnesses if it is safe to do so — don’t put yourself in additional danger by crossing a busy interstate, leaving the accident scene or moving if you have injuries.

Exchange Information With Others in the Accident

Exchanging information after a crash isn’t simply a good idea — it’s the law. Arizona law requires the driver of a vehicle in an accident involving property damage, injury or death to give their name, address and vehicle registration number. The law also requires that upon request, the driver must exhibit their license to the struck party.

Ideally, you should also get the following information from the other driver:

  • Insurance provider
  • Policy number
  • Car make, model and year
  • License plate number

Hopefully, your accident won’t require a complicated insurance claim or lawsuit. However, the more information you have, the better — just in case.

Get Medical Attention

What to do after a truck accident? See a doctor.

If no one sustained severe trauma in the accident, an ambulance might not have come to the scene. However, the next step after a truck accident is to get checked out  — even if you don’t think you have injuries. Adrenaline can sometimes mask the pain, and if you’re busy gathering information and talking to the police, you might not notice you have an injury.

Some injuries manifest days or weeks after an accident. You may have spine or head trauma, such as whiplash or a concussion, without realizing it at the time.  Getting treatment right away can help you prevent an injury from getting worse from lack of care.

Medical records are valuable when you pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit. They provide proof that you sustained injuries and sought help. They also document your medical expenses.

Talk to a Truck Accident Attorney

A Phoenix truck accident attorney can provide valuable assistance after a crash. Your attorney will explain your legal options and help you make the best decisions for you and your loved ones.

Attorneys know the law and have experience handling similar claims. They know what to do after a truck accident. They can help you navigate filing a claim and pursuing a lawsuit.

Filing a Claim Within the Statute of Limitations

Arizona has a two-year statute of limitations for filing an injury claim. It may seem lengthy, but the process can take a while. Your truck accident attorney will file your paperwork on time. Getting an attorney’s help can take a lot of responsibility off of your plate, especially if you or your loved one is physically and mentally recovering from an accident.

Contact the Insurance Company

It’s good practice to call your insurance company regardless of who is at fault in the accident. The trucking company may contact your provider, and you want your insurer to know your side of the story. Do not admit any fault when talking to an insurance company.

If the trucking company or driver is at fault in the accident, their insurance company may contact you. Do not accept a settlement amount or sign an agreement without consulting your attorney. The insurance company may immediately offer you a low settlement, which might not cover your expenses.

Your attorney knows what to do after a truck accident and understands the value of your claim. A truck accident lawyer can deal with the insurance companies directly. Your legal team won’t accept a lowball settlement — they will work to get you maximum compensation to cover your expenses.

Keep Accurate Records

The records and receipts related to your accident provide essential information. They can help you summarize your expenses and lost income.

Property Damage

Keep car repair records, including damage estimates, body shop receipts, engine repair, tire replacement and car rental. Your insurance company may have records of your car’s value before the accident.


Keeping medical records and receipts is an important step in what to do after a semitruck accident. You may have ambulance and hospital bills, therapy appointments, follow-up visits, prescriptions, home health care equipment, therapy visits and more. These records indicate the amount of medical compensation required. They may also demonstrate your loss of quality of life.


One of the things to do after a truck accident is gather records of your income. Suppose you are unable to work temporarily or permanently. In that case, your pay stubs, W-2 and income tax forms show your financial losses. Your truck accident attorney can help you determine your needed records and how far back you should track them.

Arizona’s Comparative Negligence Laws

Arizona follows the principle of comparative negligence. You can file a claim against the truck driver if you sustained injuries in the accident. If you do, comparative negligence is a factor. This step may be necessary if:

  • The trucking company’s insurer does not offer you enough to cover your expenses
  • The trucking or insurance company refuses to accept your claim
  • You require compensation for pain and suffering, which insurance does not cover

Comparative negligence factors into the percentage of fault the court determines each party has. Your compensation amount is based on it. If the court decides you are 20% responsible for the accident, it will reduce your award by the same amount.

If you have questions about filing a claim, your dedicated Phoenix personal injury attorney can help you determine what to do after a truck accident.

The Danger of Large Truck Accidents

Semi truck on a highway

Tractor-trailers weigh 20 to 30 times the amount of a passenger vehicle. They have powerful, possibly deadly force when they collide with a car. Crashes between passenger vehicles and large trucks often result in injuries to those in the car.

It takes a tractor-trailer longer to stop than a car. The truck’s increased stopping distance is due to its size and weight. Poor road conditions can make stopping even more difficult, particularly if they are wet or slippery.

Driver fatigue is another risk factor for crashes. Drivers often log long hours without stopping. They may be behind the wheel for 11 hours without a break. Tired drivers may be less able to make good decisions, react quickly or notice road conditions.

All of these factors make truck accidents especially perilous. Knowing what to do after a truck accident can prepare you if you find yourself involved. However, avoiding a crash is the best policy.

Avoiding a Truck Accident

A few steps of caution may prevent a tragic accident. Remember to exercise patience and drive defensively near large trucks.

Leave Room for the Truck

While large trucks require extra time to brake, they also need more room to make turns. Allow plenty of space between you and the truck. You should leave four seconds between you and a semi in front of you, and remember it may require two lanes to turn.

Watch for Blind Spots

Trucks have more blind spots than passenger vehicles. They have large rear-view mirrors to help, but truck drivers cannot always see everything. They probably can’t see you if you cannot see them in the mirror.

Pass Carefully and Quickly

Always pass a truck by using the left lane. Use signals and pass quickly. Don’t cut too soon in front of the semi before returning to the right lane. Give the truck space and signal your intention.

Call Sargon Law Group To Learn What To Do After a Truck Accident

Our legal team at Sargon Law Group understands the challenges you may face after a tractor-trailer accident. We provide a free consultation, so contact us if you need to know what to do after a truck accident.