Have you ever been in a serious accident with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer? These accidents can cause catastrophic injuries with long recoveries and incur high costs. High medical costs, severe pain, and emotional trauma are common consequences of a semi-truck or tractor-trailer accident. If you have been in such an accident, you may be unsure how to move forward. You may be asking: "What do I do after a semi-truck accident injury?"
At McEldrew Purtell, we know how to handle your semi-truck accident case. We'll prepare you for what to do next and what steps to take following your injuries. Follow these 10 steps after getting hit by a semi-truck to protect your health and legal rights.
10 Important Steps Following an Injury from a Semi-Truck Accident
Follow these 10 critical steps to protect your case and yourself.
1. Call Emergency Services or Seek Medical Attention Immediately
If you are in a car and you get into an accident with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer, immediately call 911. Truck crashes are incredibly serious and can result in anything from minor to fatal injuries. Call 911 if you or anyone else was hurt or if you are even unsure if someone is hurt in the truck crash, semi-truck crash, or tractor-trailer crash.
After the accident, seek medical attention. Even if your injuries did not require an immediate trip to the hospital, follow up with your physician as soon as you can. While you might not feel any pain right away, some injuries only become apparent days or weeks after the fact. Medical attention is important to protecting your health and to preserving evidence in your personal injury case.
2. Obtain a Police Report for Severe Accident or Property Damage Incidents
After a car and semi-truck accident, the police will need to create a report. This report will include key details about what happened, who was at fault, and whether any traffic citations were issued.
These reports may contain information critical to your lawsuit, such as the truck driver's violations of law or trucking regulations. You can request the report yourself or a truck accident lawyer can do it on your behalf.
3. Get Testimonies from Witnesses Present at the Accident
If your injuries are minor enough that you are able to do so, gather contact information from anyone that was on the scene of the accident, including the semi-truck driver, anyone else who was injured, and anyone who witnessed the incident. Make sure you also obtain the name of the trucking company.
Ideally, get statements from these individuals or encourage them to speak with law enforcement to give a statement. This information can be very helpful in a later semi-truck accident claim.
4. Collect Relevant Information from the Accident Scene
If you are not incapacitated by the crash, collect any evidence that might be relevant from the truck accident scene. This could include evidence such as, but not limited to:
- Pictures of your injuries
- Pictures of property damage
- Contact information from witnesses or at-fault truck drivers
- Videos of the scene
- Copies of the police report
- Insurance information for anyone involved in the accident
5. Preserve Any Truck Accident Evidence
Be sure to preserve any evidence that you collect. Save all digital files and back them up in a second location. Keep all documents related to the case, including the police report and your own notes.
As a rule of thumb, if you are unsure of whether or not to keep a document, keep it. Your semi-truck accident lawyer will determine the importance of the evidence you kept. You are better off giving your lawyer more documentation than necessary rather than risking leaving something out.
6. Report the Accident To Your Insurance Company
Truck crashes should always be reported to your insurance company. Your insurance needs to know what happened and be ready to provide you coverage if you are eligible. Failure to notify your insurance company may create problems down the road, so always keep your company informed about the accident and new information that develops over time.
Reporting the accident also helps your insurance company and truck accident lawyer fight for your rights. The trucking industry often tries to avoid liability even when their truck driver is clearly at fault. Your lawyer and insurance company are very experienced in fighting for the compensation you deserve.
7. Consult a Truck Accident Attorney Promptly for Legal Advice
Speak to a qualified truck accident lawyer right away after an accident. Truck accident injuries can be costly, painful, and emotionally devastating. Your attorney can help you deal with this and fight for compensation from the negligent party. With the help of a truck accident attorney, you may win compensation such as:
- Past and future medical costs
- Property damages
- Costs of rehabilitation services
- Insurance reimbursement
- Lost income and earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship and support
- Wrongful death damages
You should also speak to an attorney quickly after the accident. Time limits on filing personal injury cases may differ depending on your circumstances. Filing late could mean you lose the opportunity to win compensation. Do not delay your consultation.
8. Keep a Record of Your Injuries, Treatments, and Symptoms
Keep all medical records pertaining to your accident, including medical bills, lists of procedures, and treatments your doctor has performed. Record all of the symptoms you have suffered following the accident. These symptoms can be physical and emotional, as both your physical and psychological harm may be compensable in a truck accident lawsuit.
9. Journal Your Experiences to Document the Impact of the Accident on Your Life
Keep a journal of everything you are going through. Contemporaneous notes help show what you have been through as you feel it. This information can be incredibly helpful in proving the extent of your damages. It may also significantly increase your chances of winning compensation in a personal injury claim.
10. Avoid Discussing the Accident With Anyone Other Than Your Attorney or Healthcare Professionals
As much as possible, limit discussions of your truck accident to your lawyer and your healthcare team. These individuals grant you some level of confidentiality or privilege so that your statements cannot be used against you later.
Discussions you have with others are likely not protected from disclosure. Avoid speaking with people about the accident, posting things on social media, or speaking in public about the accident. Especially avoid speaking with the party's insurance company unless your lawyer accompanies you.
Seek an Experienced and Compassionate Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accident claims can be complicated and difficult for you to face alone. Trucking companies will fight back with powerful legal teams to try and deny you the compensation you are rightly owed. At McEldrew Purtell, our experienced truck accident lawyers know how to fight back. We take a compassionate approach to your case while aggressively representing you against negligent drivers and companies.
Contact us today to learn more about your truck accident case. We are ready to help.