Each day, trucks crisscross the roads and highways of this country to bring raw materials and finished products to wherever they need to go. With hundreds of thousands of trucks on the road and millions of miles driven each year, it is hard to fathom how safe the industry is. Each truck is a heavy-duty piece of machinery, with some capable of transporting several tons of freight at highway speeds. This type of transportation is safe because trucks are under serious scrutiny when it comes to protecting the public. Drivers need to undergo rigorous training and be adequately licensed. Owners must regularly service their equipment, and safety features such as brakes, lighting, and chains must be installed and maintained throughout the vehicle’s use. But accidents happen, and because of the nature of these traveling behemoths, their sheer size and weight can yield devastating results. The aftermath of an accident can be confusing and chaotic. Here we will look at what to do after a truck accident.
Immediately After the AccidentNow that you know some situations that could contribute to an accident, you should know what to do after a truck accident.
- Remain calm: By remaining calm, you can better assess the situation and limit any further damage that panic can cause. After an accident, your body will go into a fight-or-flight state. Attempting to escape the accident either in your vehicle or on foot can expose you to further collisions or being hit by traffic. You could also go into shock, which can be fatal even without serious injury.
- Get to safety: In a calm state, you can determine whether or not you are in danger by remaining in your vehicle. In a multi-car pileup, you might consider getting out of your vehicle, but then you would be exposed to other impacts, so leaving your vehicle is not advisable. If there is a fuel or chemical spill from the truck, exiting your vehicle and maintaining a safe distance is the safer alternative.
- Call 911: A truck accident almost always results in injury. Even if they are minor, the forces of an impact can result in concussion or internal bleeding that might not be obvious. You should almost always seek medical attention after any motor vehicle accident. First responders will also become a resource for collecting evidence in discovery for your attorney.
- Stay put: Do NOT leave the scene of the accident. You will be putting yourself in legal jeopardy. An attorney can explain why this is crucial in fighting your case. Instead, remain near the scene of the accident until help arrives. Do not attempt to move accident victims unless necessary. Firefighters and paramedics undergo training in ways of moving people with injuries without causing more damage.
- Render first aid: Emergency Medical Services could take several minutes or longer to arrive. If necessary, you might need to render first aid to stop bleeding. It is important to note that if anyone receives injuries from being penetrated by sharp metal, glass, or other objects, do NOT remove them. Attempting to remove these objects could hasten the blood flow and cause them to bleed out.
- Document everything: Your smartphone is a great tool to use in case of an accident. You can record video, photograph insurance information, collect contact information of the police and paramedics on the scene, and even document road conditions, traffic signals, and even the accident itself. In slippery conditions, you can establish whether or not the truck was using snow chains or whether or not their running lights were functional. In your state, after an accident, finding a pen and paper in your car or trying to remember the names of witnesses or police is impossible. Your attorney can use the information you collect in their investigation, comparing it with First Responder reports and statements from the liable driver’s insurance company. This information is vital in arguing your case in negotiations and a jury trial if necessary.
- Seek medical attention: This is important enough to stress again. Even minor injuries could be a sign of a more serious condition. The forces delivered upon impact in a truck vs. car collision could result in ruptured organs, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and even death if left untreated.
- Contact an attorney: Worry about your health first. A personal injury attorney can work with you to get you the compensation you deserve, which can go towards paying medical expenses, lost time at work, and even pain and suffering. Your attorney will also be able to field your legal responsibilities, such as meeting deadlines to file claims, negotiating with insurance companies, mediation, and even preparing your case to argue in a jury trial. In a stressful time such as this, your attorney can be a vital tool to have at your disposal to relieve stress and anxiety as you focus on your health and recovery,
- Seek professional help: The events of the collision with the truck might be far-reaching, from the stress of lost time at work, financial difficulties, dealing with pain and suffering as a result of your injuries and treatment, or even dealing with grief as a result of death due to the accident. Going to therapy and even seeking psychological treatment with medication could be a crucial part of your healing, especially in dealing with life changes from the accident.
What to Expect if You Survive a Truck AccidentSurviving a truck accident will result in injuries ranging from minor and easily recoverable to catastrophic life-altering events. Let’s look at some of the challenges you might face during your recovery.
- Medical expenses: From emergency medical services to surgery to hospitalization, the cost of saving your life can be overwhelming. Healthcare costs are staggering, from tens of thousands of dollars on one end of the spectrum to hundreds of thousands of dollars and beyond.
- Permanent disabilities: If you have lost a limb, or suffered extensive brain damage, or disfigurement, you will likely have to face those challenges for the rest of your life. A permanent disability will change the quality of your life in significant ways. You might have to undergo physical therapy to learn how to walk or function daily. You might need access to a wheelchair or other assistance in your home. Your livelihood could also be affected, and you might need vocational training to support yourself and your family. Some survivors need to be fitted for prosthetics, undergo plastic surgery, or learn to cope with losing vision, hearing, or other senses.
- Lost time at work: It is common to need time away from work to recover from a truck accident. Cognitive difficulties, extended hospital stays, and physical rehabilitation will prevent you from working, resulting in lost wages, loss of future wages, and even jeopardizing your job. An attorney can help calculate these damages and include them in negotiations with insurers to get you the compensation you deserve. Paying medical bills is hard enough when you do not take a serious pay cut due to missing time or having to go on disability pay.
- Cognitive difficulties: Traumatic brain injuries and the overwhelming tension resulting from post-traumatic stress can impact your cognitive function. Memory loss, problems in comprehension, long-term memory retention, and even headaches are common in surviving a truck accident. They affect your ability to enjoy your life as you once did.
- Property losses: People rely on their cars and other vehicles to function in this world, and if it was involved in a collision with a truck, it is likely a total loss. Insurance companies will often lowball you to protect their bottom line. Someone else’s negligence should not mean you have to sacrifice your property or mode of transportation. You need to receive compensation for the loss of your vehicle, and an attorney can help.
- Death/dismemberment: Many people do not survive a truck accident and must deal with the aftermath. It could be an alienating experience, especially with picking up the pieces if someone died due to the accident. Survivors must deal with the pain and suffering associated with death and grieving. There might be funeral expenses and medical bills to account for. Dismemberment is on a similar level of stress and grief you will encounter, requiring years of psychological healing even after adjusting to this loss.
- Psychological stress: The life-changing consequences of a truck accident haunt many people for the rest of their lives. Taking care of your mind is an important element in rebuilding your life. The path will not be easy; without financial compensation for loss and damages, it might be nearly impossible. An attorney can help you fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.