Trucks typically weigh many times the amount of a standard passenger vehicle. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a truck, it’s important that you take immediate action. Moving swiftly is often the difference between a full recovery and a long, drawn-out process.
4 Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
Research shows that more than 500,000 truck accidents occur in the United States each year. These accidents result in more than 5,000 deaths annually. That’s a rate of nearly 14 deaths per day. Tens of thousands of additional people experience severe injuries, with many suffering lifelong consequences as a result.
Truck accidents are caused by any number of factors, though the most common ones include distracted driving, fatigue, speeding, mechanical defects, drinking and driving, drugs, poor driver training, and improper weather or road conditions.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, there are several steps you can take to ensure a faster recovery (physically, emotionally, and financially). Let’s take a look:
- Get Immediate Medical Treatment
The first step is to get immediate medical treatment for your injuries. This is important for two very specific reasons:
- Quick treatment gives you the best possible chance of identifying all injuries (including any that may be life-threatening) and increases the likelihood of reaching a full recovery.
- From the moment you get medical treatment, a record of care is established. This documentation plays a key role when filing a claim and negotiating a specific payout or settlement number.
Don’t assume that you aren’t hurt. Just because you don’t see any blood or obvious broken bones, doesn’t mean you’re 100 percent. Adrenaline can mask pain for several hours after an accident. It’s always wise to get checked out right away to ensure everything is fine.
- Record Evidence
Record as much evidence as you can from the scene of the accident. This information can be used later on as part of your claim. Here are some examples of evidence:
- Pictures or videos of the accident scene and vehicles involved
- Contact information for any witnesses or passengers
- Physical evidence of anything that could incriminate the other driver or prove guilt
- Personal notes about what happened
- Audio recording of what happened at the scene
You might think you’ll remember certain facts later on, but it’s amazing how quickly your memory can fade after an incident like this. It’s best to record evidence right away so that you don’t lose any valuable information.
- Work With an Attorney
Don’t try to handle the legal and financial aspects of the accident on your own. It’s highly recommended that you hire a truck accident lawyer to guide you through the process.
There are so many case-specific factors that can come into play. An attorney understands how to handle anything that comes up. You, on the other hand, have never had to deal with a situation like this before. Take liability, for example.
“If the driver in a personal vehicle causes an auto accident that harms you or your property, they become the defendant to pursue for your damages, together with the trucking company,” Matthews Injury Law explains. “However, because trucking accidents are complicated by other factors, it is more difficult to determine liability and therefore important to prepare your case correctly from the outset.”
Hopefully, you can see why it’s important to hire an attorney. Filing a claim isn’t as simple as filling out some paperwork and waiting for a check to arrive in the mail. There are hundreds of individual factors and elements involved. An experienced attorney streamlines all of this on your behalf and ensures you don’t get taken advantage of.
- Focus on Recovery
Recovery doesn’t happen in a day. It can take weeks or even months before you’re ready to return to normal. Don’t let this frustrate you. Be patient and diligent. Follow all of the steps that your doctors outline for you and you’ll eventually reach a point where you’re ready to resume a normal post-accident life.
Look Out for Your Best Interests
In a situation like this, you have no choice but to look out for your best interests. After all, nobody else is. The insurance companies are focused on themselves. The truck driver is trying to protect his own freedom and best interests. You and your attorney are the only ones focused on you. This is one of those rare situations in life where it actually pays to be selfish.