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4 important things to remember after an accident with a truck

Even if you're a safe driver, you don't stand a chance against the big rigs on the road if you encounter one whose driver isn't particularly concerned about safety.

It takes just one truck driver that's looking at his or her GPS system to cause a fatal accident. It only requires one trucker who has gotten drowsy while on the road to create a tragedy of epic proportions. Meanwhile, the occupants of smaller vehicles are often left wondering what they should do when they are involved with a truck accident.

Here are 4 things to remember:

1. Call 911 first. Don't worry about taking stock of exactly who is injured and how -- let the operator know a big rig is involved and emergency responders are needed. Ask them to contact police as well.

2. If anyone involved in the accident has roadside flares, use them. That will warn drivers at a distance to pull over into the other lane and avoid a potential pile-up. This is particularly important on a highway.

3. If you are injured, you need to go to the hospital. This isn't the time to push yourself or wait and see if you get to feeling worse later. You could have internal injuries or head injuries that are only showing mild symptoms now but could be fatal later. The appropriate scan at a hospital can save your life.

4. Don't worry about exchanging information if you're hurt. The police will obtain everyone's information and make sure that it is available.

Truck accidents tend to make a lot of headlines -- but that's often because the victim toll is high and it isn't the trucker falling prey. Only 16 percent of the victims of truck accidents are actually in the truck itself. Nearly 70 percent of victims are the occupants of the passenger vehicles that get caught up in the truck's way.

If you become one of those victims through no fault of your own, contact an attorney who is familiar with truck accidents and the special aspects of those kinds of claims. You may have a long period of healing ahead and you need to protect your rights as much as possible.

Source: Consumersafety.org, "Truck Accidents," accessed Oct. 27, 2017

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