What to Do After a Truck Accident

June 26, 2024

The day after a truck accident can overwhelm you as you begin to process what happened and consider your next steps. You may experience physical pain, emotional trauma, and uncertainty about your legal rights and financial future.

However, even in this challenging time, you are not alone. You can protect yourself and start on the path to recovery. Continue reading below to learn more about what to do after a truck accident and how a truck accident attorney can help you with your case.

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Step 1: Follow Up on Your Medical Needs

Make your health your top priority after a truck accident. Even if you don’t think the truck accident seriously injured you, get a thorough medical evaluation as soon as possible.

seeking medical evaluation after a truck accidentSome common injuries after a truck accident include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): These can cause severe, life-altering damage like headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and mood or behavior changes.
  • Spinal cord injuries: These injuries can lead to partial or complete paralysis.
  • Broken bones: Fractures are common in truck accidents, particularly in the limbs, ribs, and pelvis. These fractures can require extremely painful, extensive medical treatment, including surgery and physical therapy.
  • Soft tissue injuries: Injuries such as whiplash are caused by the sudden jerking motion of the head and neck during an accident. While these injuries may not be visible, they can cause significant pain and limit your mobility.
  • Internal organ damage: The force of the impact can cause bleeding or ruptures in organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys. These injuries may not be immediately apparent, so get a thorough medical evaluation.
  • Psychological trauma: Truck accidents can also cause psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms of PTSD may include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression.

Once you receive medical care, follow your doctor’s treatment plan closely, including taking medications, attending follow-up appointments, and participating in therapy or rehabilitation.

Keep detailed records of all medical visits, diagnoses, treatments, and expenses, including bills, receipts, and insurance correspondence. This documentation helps establish the extent of your injuries and their financial impact.

Step 2: Collect and Organize Accident Documentation

If you could collect information at the accident scene, compile all the photos, witness contact information, and details of the truck driver and trucking company involved.

Photographic evidence of vehicle damage, skid marks, road signs, and weather conditions can help reconstruct the events leading up to the crash and support your claim. Witness statements can provide valuable third-party accounts of the incident and corroborate your version of events.

Obtaining a copy of the police accident report should also be a top priority. This official document contains crucial information about the accident, including the date, time, location, parties involved, and any citations issued.

Police reports often include descriptions of the scene, statements from involved parties and witnesses, and the responding officer’s initial assessment of fault. This report will serve as a key piece of evidence in your insurance claim and legal case.

In addition to the police report, other official documents related to the accident may strengthen your case. These may include:

  • Department of Transportation (DOT) reports: The DOT regulates the trucking industry and ensure compliance with safety regulations. A DOT report can provide valuable evidence for your case if the truck or trucking company involved in your accident violated any DOT regulations, such as hours of service limits or vehicle maintenance requirements.
  • National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigations: The NTSB is an independent federal agency that investigates significant accidents in various transportation modes, including trucking. If your accident was severe enough to warrant an NTSB investigation, their report could offer detailed insights into the cause of the accident and any contributing factors.
  • Traffic camera footage: Many intersections and highways are equipped with traffic cameras. If your accident occurred in an area covered by traffic cameras, the footage could provide an objective view of how the accident unfolded, potentially supporting your version of events.
  • Toxicology reports: If the truck driver was suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, a toxicology report can confirm the presence of these substances in the driver’s system. This can be crucial evidence in establishing liability and negligence of the driver and the trucking company.
  • Criminal records or prior traffic violations of the truck driver: If the truck driver involved in your accident has a history of criminal offenses or traffic violations, especially those related to reckless driving or substance abuse, this information can demonstrate a pattern of negligent behavior. Such evidence may help establish the driver’s and trucking company’s liability in your case.

Organizing Your Accident Documentation

As you gather and organize your accident documentation, create a file or folder to store all relevant information.

This may include:

  • Photos and videos from the accident scene
  • Witness contact information and statements
  • Police accident report
  • Insurance policies
  • Medical records and bills
  • Receipts for out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident
  • Pay stubs or other documentation of lost income

Organizing and making your accident documentation easily accessible can ultimately help build a compelling case on your behalf.

Step 3: Communicate With Your Insurance Company

Notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. Be honest and accurate, but stick to the facts and avoid admitting fault or liability.

Insurance adjusters may try to get you to make statements that can be used to undermine your claim, such as downplaying the severity of your injuries or admitting partial fault. They may also press you to accept a quick settlement before the full extent of your damages is known.

Furthermore, keep detailed records of all correspondence with insurance companies, including phone calls, emails, and letters. Take notes during conversations, and save copies of all written communications.

Step 4: Research and Contact a Truck Accident Attorney

Truck accident cases are complex, often involving multiple parties, extensive regulations, and aggressive insurance companies. To protect your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation, work with an experienced law firm that can offer you a free initial consultation.

This allows you to discuss your case, ask questions, and get a sense of our experience and approach without any upfront cost. Bring your accident documentation and a list of questions to make the most of this meeting.

Step 4: Begin Documenting Your Recovery Journey

As you continue on your path to recovery, keep a journal to document your physical pain, emotional state, and the impact the accident has on your daily life.

Note any challenges you face in working, caring for family, enjoying hobbies, or maintaining relationships. Continue to track all expenses related to the accident, including medical bills, therapy costs, transportation to appointments, property damage, and lost wages. Keep receipts, bills, and pay stubs to verify these losses.

Step 5: Focus on Your Well-being and Recovery

Don’t lose sight of your most important priority: your health and well-being. Take time to rest and heal, and be patient with yourself as you recover from this traumatic experience.

Surround yourself with a supportive network of family, friends, and professionals who can offer guidance, assistance, and a listening ear during this challenging time. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help when you need it, whether it’s with practical tasks, emotional support, or legal assistance.

Damages and Compensation: What You Need to Know

You may be entitled to various types of damages and compensation. These damages are designed to help you recover from the losses you’ve suffered due to the accident.

Here’s an overview of the types of damages that your truck accident case may recover:

1. Medical Expenses

  • Compensation for all medical bills related to the accident, including emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, medication, and rehabilitation
  • Future medical expenses if you require ongoing treatment or care

2. Lost Wages

  • Reimbursement for income lost due to missed work as a result of the accident and recovery process
  • Compensation for future lost earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from returning to your previous job or earning at the same level

3. Pain and Suffering

  • Non-economic damages that compensate you for the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish caused by the accident and your injuries
  • Compensation for loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, or disability

4. Property Damage

  • Reimbursement for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other personal property damaged in the accident

5. Punitive Damages

  • In rare cases involving particularly egregious negligence or intentional misconduct, the court may award punitive damages to punish the at-fault party and deter similar behavior

How a Truck Accident Attorney Can Help Maximize Compensation

Consulting a truck accident lawyerAn experienced truck accident attorney can maximize the compensation you receive for your damages.

An attorney can help you by:

  1. Thoroughly investigating your case and gathering evidence to establish liability and the extent of your damages
  2. Identifying all potential sources of compensation, including the truck driver’s insurance, the trucking company’s insurance, and any third parties who may share responsibility for the accident
  3. Accurately calculating the full value of your damages, including future medical expenses and lost earning capacity
  4. Negotiating aggressively with insurance companies to secure a fair settlement that adequately compensates you for your losses
  5. Representing you in court and advocating for your rights if a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations

Insurance companies are primarily concerned with protecting their own interests and minimizing payouts. An experienced attorney can level the playing field and fight for the compensation you deserve. This allows you to focus on your recovery and rebuilding your life after a devastating truck accident.

The Importance of Acting Promptly

Given the strict time limits imposed by Florida’s statute of limitations, act promptly to protect your legal rights after a truck accident because:

  1. Evidence may disappear or degrade over time, making it more difficult to prove your case.
  2. Witnesses’ memories may fade, making their testimony less reliable.
  3. Waiting too long to file a lawsuit may give the impression that your injuries are not as severe as claimed.
  4. If you miss the statute of limitations deadline, you may lose your right to seek compensation through the court system altogether.

To ensure that you don’t lose your right to file a lawsuit, consult an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident.  They will explain your legal rights and file your case within the appropriate time frame.

Consult a Truck Accident Attorney Today

Remember, the path to recovery after a truck accident may be long and challenging. However, with the right support, resources, and legal representation, you can work toward healing, justice, and a brighter future.

Trust in the process and know that experienced professionals, like our team at Grife Law Firm, are ready to fight for you every step of the way. Contact us today at (561) 998-0770.