What to do After Being Injured in a Truck Accident
Summary: Truck accidents happen every day. People at the wrong place at the wrong time find themselves being struck by a commercial vehicle through no fault of their own. If you find yourself in this situation, what you do afterwards can impact your health and your legal rights.
Seek medical attention
Unless the accident is literally just a fender bender, you should see a healthcare professional for an exam even if you don’t feel injured. If you have suffered an injury but are capable of driving, go to the nearest hospital, or at the very least see a physician as soon as possible.
Given the weight of commercial vehicles and the force they put into vehicles they crash into, it’s likely crash victims will become seriously injured. If that’s the case, you should be sent to the nearest emergency department in an ambulance. If you’re seriously shaken up but aren’t sure whether you’re injured, request an ambulance from the first responders because it may not be safe for you to drive. You may have been injured but you can’t feel it because of the stress of the situation.
Getting medical attention as soon as possible is a good idea for two reasons: to protect your health and to preserve your legal rights. Don’t try to “tough it out” or “shake it off.” You may worsen injuries you feel and those you cannot. Failing to properly treat your injuries could cause long-term health problems for you in the future.
Depending on the facts of the situation and the laws in your state, you may have a valid basis to file a lawsuit against any number of parties responsible for the truck so you can seek compensation for your injuries and any economic losses you suffered.
The longer it takes for you to see a medical professional, if you are injured, the more likely the defendants in such a lawsuit will claim that your injuries actually happened away from the accident. They may also claim that your injuries were worsened because you failed to act reasonably and get medical attention. That initial exam and diagnosis sets the stage for your legal claims. You don’t want it made more complicated by the fact that it was days or weeks after the accident. Read more about what steps you can take following an accident.
Learn about your legal rights and what you can do to protect them
After your medical situation is addressed, you should talk to an attorney with experience representing those injured by commercial vehicles. Normally these consultations are free, and attorneys often will see prospective clients at their home or while they’re in the hospital. There should be no obligation -- you must agree to be represented by an attorney for him or her to speak to you. If one presses you to sign a representation agreement, you should politely decline and talk to someone else.
If you decide a lawsuit is something worth seriously considering, you should take some time and chose the attorney who’s right for you, but putting this off for a long time won’t be helpful. Just as a doctor examines you after an accident to see what injuries, if any, you suffered, an attorney needs to examine the facts and perform an investigation to see if you may have a valid legal claim.
The longer the investigation is put off, the more difficult it may be to complete. As time goes by ...
- Memories fade and witnesses may become more difficult to locate and talk to.
- Security camera footage that may have captured the accident may be erased.
- Your car and the truck may be repaired and valuable physical evidence could literally become scrap metal lost in a junk yard.
A truck accident can be a very violent, traumatic, life-changing event. But through the stress, strain, pain and fear, you need to keep your wits about you. You need to take steps to protect yourself and your family. You must make sure that your health and your legal rights are protected by getting medical attention and discussing the incident with a truck accident attorney. This will help you decide what needs to be done to get your health back and decide what should be done, if anything, to hold those responsible accountable in a court of law.
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