Truck accidents often cause more damage than car accidents. Because of their large size and weight, trucks can cause catastrophic injuries and property damage. Knowing what to do after a truck accident is essential to ensuring that everyone gets the medical care they need. Taking these steps can also help if you need to file an injury claim to recover compensation for your losses.
Some things to do after a truck accident include getting off the road and to a safe location, calling first responders, identifying witnesses, and gathering evidence from the scene. After you leave the scene, follow up with a medical care provider, inform your insurance company about the accident, and contact a truck accident attorney.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
Taking the proper steps after a truck accident can positively impact a potential case. For example, if you or a loved one sustained injuries in the accident, following these steps could make the difference between recovering the compensation you need or not.
Get to a Safe Location
Immediately after the accident, get off the road and try to get to the safest location possible. If those involved in the accident stay on the roadway, they could get hit by oncoming traffic. Ensure that no one is in a place where they are in danger, and then wait on the scene until the emergency medical team arrives.
Call First Responders
As soon as possible, call 911 and alert them of the accident. Let them know if there are any injuries, and wait on the scene until the first responders arrive. Once they arrive, file a report in as much detail as possible.
When you speak to the police officer, tell them:
- What direction the vehicles were going at the time of the accident
- What caused the accident
- Any other factors that affected the accident
You should also get checked out by medical professionals on the scene. Even if you don’t think you have any injuries, your adrenaline could be masking pain that you will feel later. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) can do a thorough check to see if you have any injuries. If you do, they can document them and begin treatment immediately.
If you don’t get medical treatment at the scene, it could hinder your ability to recover compensation through a future claim. The insurance company could use the argument that you didn’t sustain the injuries during the accident and must have already had them. By getting medical attention at the scene, you can gain valuable evidence and documentation that proves the accident caused your injuries.
After a truck accident, people who saw the accident may pull over and stop to check if everyone is okay. Identify anyone who witnessed the accident and ask them to make a statement to the police. Also, get their contact information in case you need their statement again during an injury claim or lawsuit.
Witness statements are powerful in personal injury claims. They can corroborate what and who caused the truck accident to occur. Having more evidence against the liable party should give you a better chance at recovering compensation for your injuries.
Gather Evidence From the Scene
If you can, gather as much evidence from the scene as possible. Evidence helps prove how the accident happened, the extent of the damage, and the injuries you sustained. If you file an accident injury claim against the liable party, strong evidence could mean the difference between recovering the maximum compensation or none at all.
Evidence you could gather from the accident scene includes photos or videos of:
- All vehicles involved in the accident, including their license plate numbers and anywhere they have damage
- Tire tread marks on the scene, which indicate that a vehicle attempted to stop to avoid the crash
- Road conditions that may have played a role in the accident, such as bad weather, slick spots, potholes, or improper road maintenance
Get contact and auto insurance information from everyone involved in the accident as well. Once you hire an attorney, they will need to make contact with them to file a claim against the liable party.
Follow Up With a Medical Care Provider
Once the scene is cleared and you leave, seek medical attention immediately. Whether you visit your regular primary care doctor, an urgent care physician, or an emergency room doctor, get your injuries checked out. Once you’re at a medical facility, the medical team can investigate your injuries more thoroughly. They can perform diagnostic tests to see if you have broken bones or other injuries.
Getting medical attention is crucial to an accident injury claim. First, it shows that you are taking the proper steps to treat your injuries. Also, you can get the medical evidence you need to prove you sustained the injuries during the accident.
Inform Your Insurance Company
Even if the accident was not your fault, inform your insurance company that it happened. Let them know you aren’t pursuing compensation from them but still want to make an accident report. You might have to go through your own insurance if the other party isn’t insured or has low liability coverage.
Check your coverage to determine if you have uninsured motorist coverage. If the other party doesn’t have insurance, your insurance company should already know about the accident.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
The most beneficial step you can take to help your case is to contact a truck accident attorney. Your attorney can begin handling legal matters immediately, so you only have to worry about recovering from your injuries.
For example, your attorney can:
- Determine liability
- Investigate the case
- Identify recoverable damages
- Calculate your losses
- Negotiate with opposing counsel
- Represent you at trial if necessary
Hire a truck accident attorney if you sustained injuries in a crash that you didn’t cause. Experienced attorneys understand personal injury laws and can fight for you to get the compensation you need after an accident.
Benefits of Hiring an Attorney After a Truck Accident
If you sustained injuries because of the actions or negligence of another driver on the road, you could recover compensation for your injuries. The claims process is complex and can be difficult to navigate on your own, especially as you try to recover from your injuries.
As mentioned above, a truck accident attorney can handle all legal matters on your behalf and address any issues that arise.
Some of the most significant benefits of hiring an attorney include:
- They have knowledge of personal injury law
- You could recover more compensation
- They will ensure that you don’t miss deadlines
Without an attorney, you could accept a settlement offer that is way lower than you deserve. An attorney can let you know the accurate value of your case so you don’t get taken advantage of by the insurance company. They can also ensure that you don’t miss any deadlines to get the compensation you deserve.
They Have Knowledge of Personal Injury Law
After sustaining injuries, you might be dealing with extensive pain, emotional turmoil, and financial worries. It might be hard to imagine adding the stress of a personal injury case on top of that. With an attorney, you don’t have to worry. Truck accident attorneys know the laws and provide an objective legal perspective to the case.
First, your attorney can investigate the accident to prove who the liable party is. Once they determine the liable party, they can send a demand letter asking them to pay a certain amount of compensation. If the insurance company refuses to pay, they can work to negotiate a fair settlement agreement on your behalf.
If both parties cannot reach a settlement agreement, a truck accident attorney knows the procedures to file a lawsuit against the liable party. Through the lawsuit, they can represent you and look out for your best interests, including presenting your case to the judge and jury to convince them that you deserve to recover the compensation you seek.
You Could Recover More Compensation
With an attorney by your side, you could recover more compensation than if you represent yourself. Many personal injury attorneys are powerful negotiators and know how to provide compelling evidence of your losses. They are also skilled at identifying which types of damages you could recover.
Recoverable damages are the amount of money the courts require the liable party to pay someone else for causing their injuries. Injury victims can also recover damages through settlements.
Examples of recoverable damages in a truck accident case could include:
- Medical bills: Because truck accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, such as spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), they may require extensive medical care to treat. If you had to pay for emergency room care, ambulance transportation, diagnostic tests, hospitalizations, or surgeries, you could recover compensation for your medical bills through a personal injury claim.
- Future medical bills: Some injuries take years to recover from. If so, you could have medical bills far into the future. An attorney can make sure that projected costs of future medical bills are included in the damages for your personal injury claim.
- Lost earnings: An injury from a truck accident could leave someone out of work for a long time. If a physician instructs you not to return to your job until you recover, you could lose significant income. An attorney can help you recover your lost income through a truck accident claim.
- Future lost income: If you cannot return to work in the near future or ever again because of your injuries, you could also include future lost income. An attorney can calculate that value and add it to the total of your claim.
- Pain and suffering: You could recover compensation for the physical pain you felt because of the injuries sustained in the truck accident.
- Emotional distress: You could recover compensation if you experienced any emotional issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), because of the accident.
Both pain and suffering and emotional distress are not associated with monetary losses. A truck accident attorney can calculate the value of all your losses, including those in the non-monetary category. Experienced attorneys leave no stone unturned to help you recover as much compensation as possible for your injuries.
They Will Ensure That You Don’t Miss Deadlines
Every state has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases. The statute of limitations is the amount of time that can pass from the date of the injury before time runs out to file a lawsuit. Reaching a settlement agreement is imperative before the statute of limitations time runs out.
Contacting an attorney as soon as possible after the truck accident helps give them enough time to build a solid case. Before the statute of limitations runs out, they must investigate, gather evidence, and negotiate for a fair settlement. These tasks take time. By contacting an attorney right away, you give them more time to work with.
Find out How a Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You
Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has regulations in place, truck accidents still happen. If you need more information about what to do after a truck accident, contact a truck accident attorney today. If you have extensive medical bills or are out of work, an attorney can help you avoid financial ruin by holding the liable party accountable.
Many law firms offer free consultations, so you can speak with a member of their team about your truck accident. During this meeting, they can answer your questions and provide details about your legal options. With a knowledgeable personal injury attorney on your side, you can rest assured that you will place your case in good hands.