Home Law What to Do After a Truck Accident: Preserving Your Rights to Compensation

What to Do After a Truck Accident: Preserving Your Rights to Compensation

by Paul Watson

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, you likely experienced a tremendous amount of fear and confusion in the aftermath. Your world is suddenly turned upside down. 

You may be facing serious injuries, vehicle damage, lost income, and uncertainty about how to move forward.

It’s completely understandable to feel overwhelmed in the wake of a collision with a massive truck weighing up to 80,000 pounds. However, it’s crucial to take certain steps immediately following the crash in order to protect your health and legal rights. 

Assess the Situation and Get Medical Attention

In the chaotic aftermath of a truck accident, your first priority should be to ensure your safety and the safety of others involved. Once the collision site is secure, call 911 to alert first responders if there are any injuries. Even if you do not feel hurt at first, insist on being examined by EMTs or go to the hospital to get checked out. 

Some injuries like concussions or internal bleeding may not have obvious symptoms initially. Having your wounds documented in medical records will help support your claim later.

If it is safe to do so, take photos of the accident scene from different angles before vehicles are moved. Capture images of the truck, your car, and any debris on the roadway. Photograph any visible injuries you or others sustained as well. These pictures can provide vital evidence to show how the crash occurred. Avoid posting about the accident on social media, as this could come back to hurt your case.

Report the Incident to Police

After seeking medical care, your next call should be to law enforcement to report the collision. Provide the dispatcher with details on the location, vehicles involved, and any injuries. 

Cooperate fully with officers when they arrive at the scene. Offer a factual account of how the crash occurred, but avoid speculating on who was at fault. Ask for a copy of the police report, as this will be a crucial piece of evidence later on.

If the truck driver seems impaired or admits to any wrongdoing, be sure to tell the officer. Any statements made at the scene can be very helpful in establishing liability down the road. If possible, get the badge numbers and contact information of all responding personnel.

Document the Accident Scene

While waiting for the police and medical assistance to arrive, take photos of the accident scene from different angles if you are able to do so safely. 

Capture images showing the position of the vehicles, skid marks on the pavement, debris scattered around, weather conditions, and traffic signs or signals. Take close-ups of the property damage to both your vehicle and the truck. Document any visible injuries as well with photos.

If there were any witnesses to the collision, ask for their names and phone numbers. Obtaining witness statements in the immediate aftermath can be invaluable because details tend to get fuzzy over time. Make sure to write down your own firsthand account of how the crash happened as soon as possible.

Consult a Truck Accident Attorney

It’s highly recommended to consult an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the collision. An attorney can conduct a prompt investigation of the scene, vehicles, companies, and drivers involved. They can also preserve crucial evidence like black box data, phone records, log books, and maintenance records that could otherwise disappear.

An attorney levels the playing field against powerful insurance carriers looking to minimize your claim. They deal directly with insurers on your behalf and make sure you receive full and fair compensation. 

Experienced truck accident lawyers are familiar with common defenses used by insurance companies and know how to overcome them. They can handle every aspect of your injury claim so you can focus on healing.

Notify Your Insurance Provider

Contact your insurance company about the accident right away. Provide basic details about what happened and inquire about the claim process. Ask what forms need to be submitted and what other information is required. 

While the truck driver’s insurer should cover your losses, you may also have coverage under your own policy for medical payments, lost wages, or collision damage.

Be aware that recorded statements you give to insurers can be used against you later. Politely decline to provide an official statement until you have legal representation. Provide the basic facts and put the insurance adjuster on notice about your potential injury claim.

Catalog Your Losses and Expenses

Make sure to fully document the ways the truck accident has impacted your life, health, and finances. Keep detailed records of all medical bills, prescriptions, hospital visits, physical therapy appointments, assistive devices, lost income due to missed work, child care costs while recovering, property damage, and other losses. 

Your lawyer can retain expert witnesses to calculate both the economic and non-economic damages in your injury claim.

Explore Your Legal Options

In West Virginia, injury victims can recover compensation under modified comparative negligence laws even if they were partially at fault for the accident. This means your percentage of fault will reduce your damages award, but you are not barred from suing if you share some blame.

It is advisable to seek a personal injury claim well before West Virginia’s two-year statute of limitations for filing a truck accident lawsuit expires. 

Your West Virginia truck attorney can assess if yours is a valid legal case and identify all liable parties to pursue damages, such as the driver, trucking company, parts manufacturers, cargo loaders, etc. Strong evidence will have to be presented to prove negligence. 

Focus on Your Healing Process

During your recovery, be sure to follow all medical advice closely. Attend every therapy appointment, take medications as directed, and avoid overexerting yourself. 

Your actions could be used against you if you are not taking proper care to get well. Be aware that some symptoms, like headaches, memory problems, and emotional distress, may take time to surface fully.

Lean on trusted friends and family for support rather than isolating yourself. Maintain records of how your injuries impact your personal relationships and mental health as well.

Take Action After a Truck Accident in West Virginia

The aftermath of a truck collision can feel chaotic and scary. There are so many concerns competing for your attention. 

Will I fully heal? How will I pay these medical bills? What if I can’t work? How will I get my car fixed? What should I tell the insurance company? 

An experienced truck accident attorney at Miley Legal can provide knowledgeable guidance at this critical time. 

Their team knows the ins and outs of dealing with trucking companies and navigating the claims process.

Over the years, they have helped numerous truck accident victims recover millions in compensation. They offer compassionate support while aggressively fighting for the maximum settlement you deserve. Don’t go through this alone. Contact their team today for a free consultation, and take the first step toward getting your life back on track.