Knowing what to do if you’re injured in a truck accident can ensure you get the care you need and have the necessary evidence to support your insurance claim later. Injuries from truck accidents can be both serious and expensive. In addition, the claims process is sometimes difficult because of how liability works in these cases.
Understanding the steps you should take between the moment the crash occurs and when you initially meet with a truck accident lawyer can make a significant difference in your claim.
Ensuring Your Safety and Reporting the Accident to the Police
Your priority immediately following an accident must be your safety and well-being, as well as the health of anyone in your vehicle. If there is a chance you could suffer additional injuries in a secondary accident, you will need to make good choices to determine whether you should try to get out of your car or move to a safer location.
As soon as you are safe from further injury, contact local first responders. This is a good idea even if you believe you are not injured. You will need a police report to file an insurance claim, and most jurisdictions will respond and prepare a report for you after a crash with moderate damage or any physical injury.
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Seeking and Continuing Medical Care for Injuries
When you call 911, the dispatcher who answers will send police and an ambulance if you indicate injuries are possible. If you have any pain, visible signs of an injury, or other symptoms, you should get a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Your options include:
- Taking an ambulance to the nearest emergency department
- Having someone take you to the emergency department of your choice
- Scheduling an appointment with your general practitioner
- Going to an urgent care clinic or another walk-in facility
Unfortunately, truck accidents often lead to catastrophic, life-altering injuries. If this happened to you, do not worry about gathering evidence in your case or taking any other actions. Instead, focus on stabilizing yourself and seeking medical care, and worry about recovering compensation after you are out of immediate danger.
Understanding and Documenting Your Personal Injuries
Getting medical attention as soon as possible for any injuries obtained in the accident is vital. Not only does this help many injuries recover more fully, but it documents them for your claim. In addition, it ties the personal injuries directly to the truck accident and leaves little room for the insurer to try to blame your injuries on other activities.
Possible injuries from truck accidents include:
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Internal injuries
- Bone fractures
- Joint injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
Begin Building Support for Your Claim
If you do not have significant injuries, you can act before leaving the scene to begin building your case for compensation. Use your phone to take pictures and videos, get information about others involved and any witnesses, and record the details of the accident in your own words as soon as you can, while it is fresh in your memory.
If your injuries require immediate medical care, do not fret. You can still work on your case as soon as your injuries are stable. Write or record the details of what happened and everything you remember about the accident when your injuries allow.
Gather all the evidence you collect in a file folder, email folder, or thumb drive to make it easy to share with your truck accident attorney later. Keep all paperwork, bills, and other documents you receive in this folder, as well as photographs of your injuries, video of the crash site, and other evidence.
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Speak With a Truck Accident Attorney About Your Legal Options
Truck accident lawyers generally offer free consultations for victims. You should reach out to a firm for your free case review quickly after your crash. There is no obligation to sign up for representation. However, the attorney can explain your legal options and discuss the strength of your claim with you.
Understanding Liability in Truck Accidents
Liability in a commercial vehicle accident is often complex. A legal doctrine called “respondeat superior” applies in many cases and lets victims hold the at-fault trucker and their employer liable for damages.
In some cases, this is based on statute. For example, La. Civ. Code Art. 2320 codifies vicarious liability in Louisiana. In others, it is case law. Alabama’s Supreme Court affirmed respondeat superior in 1929 in St. Louis-San Francisco Ry. Co. v. Robbins and in many decisions since.
State Statutes Limit Your Time to Take Legal Action
An attorney can also explain the timeline that applies in your case. While most do not require going to trial, suing is sometimes necessary. Deadlines in the Gulf South states vary from one year in Louisiana (La. Civ. Code Art. 3492) to three years in Mississippi (Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49).
Learn About Your Rights to Compensation for Injuries Suffered in a Truck Accident
Contact the Morris Bart law firm for your free consultation today by calling (800) 537-8185. We serve all areas of Louisiana, as well as Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. In addition, we have 15 locations in the Gulf South. We are a contingency fee law firm with a history of recovering compensation for our clients.
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