Truck accidents are one of the biggest dangers facing drivers in West Virginia, and truck-related accidents often cause the most severe injuries to the drivers and passengers of a smaller vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 46 large trucks were involved in a fatal accident in the state in 2008. If you’re ever involved in such an accident, it’s important to stay calm and follow these steps:

Call for help — After a trucking crash, you may suffer from shock or physical injury. If you are injured, stay calm, dial 911 and wait for medical assistance to arrive. Do not strain your body or exacerbate your injuries by moving unnecessarily. However, if you are in a hazardous location or you smell gas, try to get out of your vehicle and move to a safe place. Even if it doesn’t appear that you sustained injuries, let emergency medical personnel conduct an examination. This could yield crucial findings in the event of a lawsuit.

Gather information — If you were not seriously injured in the crash, take photographs of the accident scene with a camera or smartphone. Photograph the entire truck and any other vehicles involved, including license plates and any corporate markings or logos. Ask witnesses for their contact information, including full names, addresses and phone numbers. Lastly, don’t forget to ask for the other drivers’ insurance and contact information.

Collect your thoughts — Before the details gets fuzzy, write down your personal recollections of the accident. Include every point, no matter how small.

Contact your insurance company — Contacting your insurance company after a crash gets the claims process started promptly. If you are too weak from injuries or shock to make the call, ask a family member for help.

Hire an attorney — After a crash with a large truck, you need a serious truck accident attorney to represent your best interests. The trucking industry has lawyers and insurance companies working hard to ensure as little as possible is paid to victims of truck crashes. Don’t admit fault, settle or sign a waiver before speaking with an attorney.

If you or a loved one was involved in a truck-related crash, contact an experienced truck accident attorney today. An attorney can defend your legal rights and help you seek maximum compensation for your injuries and property damage.