What to Do After a Truck Accident

February 12, 2024 | By Impact Legal Car Accident Attorneys
What to Do After a Truck Accident

By its very nature, a truck accident often leads to severe consequences, setting it apart from typical car accidents. The sheer size and weight of semi-trucks mean that collisions can lead to devastating injuries.

Whether you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a truck crash. That’s why it’s crucial to seek guidance from a skilled truck accident lawyer who can navigate the complexities of such cases and advocate for your rights.

Seek Medical Attention

One of the most important things you can do is seek medical attention. It’s common to believe that you’re unharmed if you feel fine immediately following the incident.

However, this isn’t always the case.

Many injuries, especially those related to vehicle accidents, can be subtle and may not present symptoms until days later. These delayed injuries can range from minor to severe, including conditions like internal bruising, concussions, or whiplash.

When you visit a doctor or a medical professional after an accident, they will conduct a thorough examination to ensure you have no hidden injuries. This step is important for your health, safety, and any legal proceedings that might follow the accident. Medical records document your physical condition after the incident, which is important if you need to make an insurance claim or pursue legal action.

Also, seeing a doctor immediately helps to establish a clear link between the accident and any injuries you sustained. If you wait too long to seek medical attention, it might be more challenging to prove that your injuries were a direct result of the accident.

In addition to physical injuries, also stay mindful of emotional and psychological impacts. A traumatic event like a truck accident can lead to stress, anxiety, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These mental health concerns are just as important as physical injuries and deserve professional attention.


Notify Insurance Company

Your insurance provider should know about the accident, but be cautious when speaking to them. In fact, it’s best for you to hire a lawyer immediately so they can handle all insurance communications, even with your own company.

If you contact your insurance provider after a truck accident, relay only the basic facts of what happened. This includes the date and time of the accident, the location, and any other pertinent details like the contact information of the truck driver and their insurance company.

During this initial conversation, it’s advisable to stick to the facts and avoid making any statements adjusters can interpret as an admission of fault. It’s not always immediately clear who is responsible. Therefore, inadvertently admitting fault can complicate your claim and affect the outcome.

Additionally, avoid giving detailed statements or speculating about the accident without first seeking legal advice.

An attorney experienced in truck accident cases can guide you on communicating with your insurance company or handle this conversation for you, ensuring that you don’t say anything that might inadvertently harm your claim.

It’s also worth noting that your conversation with the insurance company might be recorded. As such, maintaining a cautious and factual approach is wise. Remember, your insurance provider has a process for handling these situations, and part of that process involves gathering information from you, the policyholder.

By staying factual and refraining from admitting fault or speculating, you’re helping to ensure that this process can unfold in a way that’s fair and just.

Keep Records

Document everything related to the truck accident. This documentation is a foundation for any insurance claims or legal proceedings that may follow.

Start by keeping a record of all medical treatments and evaluations you receive. This includes the initial visit to a doctor or hospital immediately after the accident and any follow-up appointments, physical therapy sessions, or other medical interventions.

The documentation of these treatments will provide a clear picture of the physical impact the accident has had on you, and it’s a part of demonstrating the extent of your injuries.

Equally important is keeping track of repair costs for any damage to your vehicle. If your car has sustained damage in the accident, collect all receipts and estimates related to its repair. These records will help in accurately assessing the financial impact of the accident on your property.

If the accident has kept you from working, maintain a record of lost income. This may include pay stubs, a letter from your employer, or other documentation that shows the income you’ve missed out on due to injuries sustained in the accident.

Additionally, keep a detailed record of all your correspondence with insurance companies. This includes dates of conversations, the names of the representatives you spoke with, and summaries of what you discussed.

Accurate and comprehensive records can make a difference in resolving your insurance claim or legal case. By keeping thorough records from the start, you are laying the groundwork for a smoother and more effective handling of your case. 

Remember, each piece of documentation acts as evidence supporting your account of the incident and its impact on your life.

Seeking Legal Advise

You may find yourself approached with settlement offers from insurance companies relatively quickly. While accepting these offers to quickly resolve the matter and get compensation might be tempting, approach them with caution.

Quick settlement offers may seem convenient, but they often come with a catch. Typically, these initial offers are lower than what you might be entitled to and may not fully cover your expenses or losses. Insurance companies are great at estimating the minimum amount that claimants might accept, and their primary goal is often to settle the claim as economically as possible.

Accepting such an offer prematurely can mean you end up with less compensation than you need or deserve to cover medical expenses, repair costs, and any lost income due to the accident.

Once you accept a settlement offer and sign the agreement, you typically waive your right to pursue any further claims related to the accident. This means if you later discover that your injuries are more severe than initially thought, or if additional costs arise, you cannot later ask for more compensation.

It’s also worth considering that immediately after an accident, the full extent of your injuries or the total costs of the incident might not be entirely clear. Some injuries take time to fully manifest, and the costs of treatment can escalate as time goes on. Similarly, the full impact of the accident on your ability to work or on your daily life may not be immediately evident.

Given these issues, seek legal advice before accepting any settlement offer.

A lawyer with experience in truck accident cases can provide valuable insight into whether an offer is fair and can help negotiate a better settlement if necessary. They can evaluate the offer in the context of your specific situation, considering all potential current and future expenses and the impacts of the accident on your life.

The Role of Negligence

At its core, negligence involves a failure to exercise the level of care that a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances. In the context of a truck accident, determining who was negligent and how their negligence contributed to the accident is key to resolving the case.

Negligence can take many forms in truck accidents. The truck driver may have driven while fatigued, distracted, or failed to adhere to traffic laws. Truck drivers must meet high standards of safety, given the potential damage their vehicles can cause. Therefore, any lapse in adherence to these standards can be considered negligence.

The trucking company itself can also be a source of negligence. This might involve failing to maintain vehicles properly, not adhering to regulations regarding driving hours, or not conducting thorough background checks on their drivers.

Trucking companies must ensure their operations do not pose a risk to public safety. When they fail in this duty and cause an accident, you can hold them accountable for negligence.

In some cases, you can hold a third party responsible. This includes situations where a vehicle malfunction due to a manufacturing defect or poor maintenance by a service provider contributed to the accident. In these instances, the manufacturer or the maintenance company might be liable.

Proving negligence involves establishing certain key elements:

  1. The party at fault had a duty to exercise reasonable care.
  2. The party breached this duty.
  3. There is a clear connection between this breach of duty and the accident.
  4. The accident resulted in damages or injuries.

Determining negligence requires a thorough investigation of the accident. This can involve reviewing police reports, examining vehicle maintenance records, analyzing driver logs, and consulting experts.

Because truck accidents often involve multiple parties and complex regulations, get legal guidance. A lawyer with experience in this area can establish who was negligent and how their actions contributed to the accident.

Consider the Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident

Be mindful of the statute of limitations. This is the time limit set by law within which you can initiate legal proceedings or file a claim related to the accident. Failing to take action within this period can result in losing your right to seek compensation.

The statute of limitations varies depending on the state where the accident occurred. Each state has its own laws governing the timeframe for filing a claim.

For instance, in some states, you might have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, while in others, the timeframe might be longer or shorter.

The specific nature of your claim can also affect this deadline. Claims against government entities, for example, often have shorter statutes of limitations.

The clock typically starts ticking on the date of the accident. However, in cases where injuries are not immediately apparent, the statute of limitations may begin from the date you discovered the injury, known as the discovery rule. This rule acknowledges that some injuries or damages may not be immediately evident.

The statute of limitations is in place to ensure that claims begin while evidence is still fresh and reliable. Over time, memories can fade, witnesses can become unavailable, and records can be lost, making it difficult to build a strong case.

Consulting with a legal professional as soon as possible after a truck accident is advisable. They can provide guidance on the relevant statutes of limitations in your case, helping you to understand the timeframes and deadlines that apply.

Bring all relevant documents to the consultation. These documents play a huge role in helping your lawyer understand your case’s specifics and formulate a strategy for moving forward.

Key documents to bring include any police reports from the accident scene, medical records detailing the injuries you sustained, photographs of the accident scene and damages, any exchange of information with the truck driver, and correspondence with insurance companies.

Additionally, if you have records of lost income or receipts for any expenses related to the accident, such as vehicle repairs or medical bills, these should also be included.

You can expect your lawyer to review these documents thoroughly during the consultation. They will likely ask detailed questions about the accident and your injuries to better understand your situation.

The lawyer will also explain the legal options available to you, discuss the relevant statutes of limitations, and outline the potential timeframes and deadlines for filing a claim.

This consultation is an opportunity for you to gain clarity on your legal standing and the steps ahead. Your lawyer will provide guidance on how to proceed and what actions will be necessary to protect your rights and interests. Remember, this meeting is also your chance to assess the lawyer and decide whether they are the right fit for your needs.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer To Schedule a Consultation

A truck accident can be a life-changing event. By following these steps, you can recover compensation more easily.

Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Seeking professional legal advice from personal injury lawyer can provide the support you need to move forward. Case evaluations are always free, so you have nothing to lose by learning more about your rights today.