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What Happens When a Truck Driver Has an Accident?

The Carolina Law Group > Blog  > What Happens When a Truck Driver Has an Accident?

What Happens When a Truck Driver Has an Accident?

Matt Whitehead | Attorney, The Carolina Law Group

Matt Whitehead | Attorney, The Carolina Law Group

When a commercial truck driver is involved in a traffic accident, what happens next is in some ways the same, and some ways different, from when a driver of a passenger car is involved in an accident. That’s because the holder of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is subject to additional state and federal laws and often additional employer regulations, too.

Here’s what happens after a large truck driver has an accident, and what it means for you.

What Happens After a Commercial Truck Traffic Accident

Exchange Information and Render Aid

First, the driver must stop and exchange information with the other driver(s) involved (if any) and render aid if necessary and/or call for medical assistance.

Report the Accident

The commercial truck driver must also report the accident to the police if it results in property damage or bodily harm. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, also requires commercial truck drivers to report an accident to the DOT if it results in fatalities, bodily injury requiring medical attention, or damage to the vehicle so severe it can’t be driven away from the scene of the accident. Finally, a commercial truck driver’s employer may have rules about when and how an accident must be reported and recorded.

Undergo Drug and Alcohol Testing

The FMCSA and/or the truck driver’s employer may also require drug and/or alcohol testing after an accident. Alcohol testing must occur within 8 hours, and drug testing within 32 hours, of the accident.


After an accident involving a commercial truck driver, the trucking company usually sends out a team to begin investigations at the site of the accident. The trucking company is interested in protecting itself and its driver from liability.

This is a big difference between accidents involving commercial truck drivers and passenger vehicle drivers. Non-commercial vehicle drivers don’t have their own team of investigators to come to the accident scene and collect evidence on their behalf.

Insurance companies also conduct their own investigations as part of the process of negotiating a settlement between parties. Additionally, law enforcement may investigate, too.

Negotiations, Settlement, and/or Legal Action

After a traffic accident, the parties work towards an outcome that’s acceptable to everyone involved. Typically, this ends in a settlement, but a small percentage of cases go to trial when the parties can’t find an acceptable resolution.

This can be a long process after a truck accident, since accidents involving big trucks are often more damaging than accidents between passenger cars. Plus, there may be many more parties involved who may be liable – not just the truck driver and their employer, but others such as the truck manufacturer, truck mechanic, party who loaded the cargo, and so on.  

Speak with the Truck Accident Attorneys at The Carolina Law Group

Have you been injured in a traffic accident involving a large truck? If so, it’s important to contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible to help you with your case from the start. As discussed above, trucking companies have their own team of investigators working in their interests, which is something you as a regular driver don’t have. Trucking companies may also aggressively fight in negotiations to limit their liability and financial obligations, meaning you need an experienced truck accident lawyer who is prepared to fight back and get you the compensation you deserve.

Protect yourself and your rights by calling the truck accident lawyers at The Carolina Law Group today. We are ready to investigate, build a strong case, and stand up to the truckers and their insurance companies so you can get the compensation you need to recover and get back to life as usual. Don’t wait – call us at one of the numbers below to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.

The Carolina Law Group has four offices in South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.312.4444) & West Columbia (principal office; call 803.881.1110).

Call us at one of our four offices or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys. Our business hours are Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 5:30pm & Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm. Weekend and evening hours by appointment only. Our Greenville, SC law firm offers Spanish, Hindi, and Gujarati language translation services for your convenience.



Matt is a graduate of the South Carolina’s Honors College and the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina where he obtained an undergraduate degree in Business Administration. Matt later obtained a Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law where was a member of the South Carolina Law Review and the legal fraternity Phi Alpha Delta. Matt’s education and experience provides valuable insight into how insurance companies approach the litigation process. This allows Matt to closely work with his clients in protecting their legal rights from the initial claim stage through trial.

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