File a truck accident claim! Filing a truck accident claim with the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney can let you focus on the physical recovery after an accident while being covered financially through filing a claim against the parties at fault. At Wyatt Law Firm, an experienced truck accident lawyer can handle the details of your insurance claim, negotiate on your behalf for a fair settlement, or represent you in court to pursue your legal claim. Learn more about truck accidents, personal injury law, and how to go about your claim process below.
Truck accidents are a terrifying reality on the highways and roadways in the U.S. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), around 510,000 crashes involving large trucks were reported in a recent year. Of the half million crashes, 4,479 of those crashes resulted in fatalities. At least 114,000 resulted in injuries.
The last thing anyone wants to think about or imagine is an accident with a heavy-duty truck. Sharing the road with tractor-trailers is not something many of us are comfortable with or accustomed to doing, no matter how often we travel the busy interstate highways. Watching these massive machines speed up next to us and roar past us is enough to trigger a panic attack in the calmest of drivers. Add rain, sleet, or slippery roads to the mix, and you have a disaster waiting to happen. Anything can go wrong, especially if a truck driver is speeding or driving distracted.
Common Truck Accidents
A rollover is a common truck accident that often has tragic results. A rollover accident happens when a vehicle rolls over on its side or roof. It is one of the most dangerous types of accidents with the highest fatality rates, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Rollovers may occur when the truck is poorly loaded, or the driver is speeding.
The main reasons for rollover truck accidents may include:
- Sudden lane changes
- improper maintenance
- Speeding truckers
- Hazardous weather
- Dangerous roads
- Unbalanced cargo
- Lapses in maintenance
- Fatigued driving
- Lack of proper training
When the cab and trailer of an 18-wheeler fold, it is known as a jackknife. Something may cause the back of the trailer to swing forward, and the driver can lose control. When a truck jackknifes, you and those driving nearby can be at elevated risk for injury.
Tractor trailers may jackknife when any of the following conditions are present:
- Losing traction—anything causing space between the tractor trailer’s wheels and the street can cause a truck to lose control.
- When the truck cab and the trailer portion of the vehicle are not coordinated
- Slick road surfaces and abrupt braking may affect the way a truck’s tires grip the road.
- Minimal weight on the trailer will lead to less traction on the road.
If you notice a truck’s trailer is weaving back and forth, the trailer may be empty, and the truck and trailer might be at risk for a jackknife.
Accidents often occur when a passenger car is driving close to a truck and the truck’s tire ruptures. Flying debris may hit the car’s windshield, and a driver can lose control of their car. A tire blowout happens when there is a puncture in a wheel that depletes its air. This happens due to tire wear from usage, manufacturing defects, air leaks in tires, air pressure differences, lack of maintenance, unbalanced cargo load, or hazardous roads.
An underride accident is when the car and truck experience a side collision and the passenger car slides underneath the truck. The top of the passenger car may be crushed, and victims inside may be seriously injured or killed.
Some of the main causes of underride accidents include:
- Sudden turns or lane changes
- Sudden stops by the truck
- Speed of the truck
- Passenger car in truck’s blind area swerving to the right
Unsecured cargo accidents
Unsecured cargo may shift in the bed of a truck and cause the truck driver to lose control. The cargo may come loose and fall in the roadway, causing an accident. Cargo loading and loads must meet federal guidelines. Cargo must be securely fastened to a truck. Weigh stations along highways check to ensure trucks have packed their cargo accordingly.
This isn't a complete list of the causes of truck accidents and there may be specifics with your case that affect the value of your claim. CALLING TODAY to discuss your accident and injuries with a seasoned attorney could be the difference between you receiving compensation.
Passenger cars and their drivers are more likely to sustain damage and injuries in truck crashes
A collision with an enormous truck may be devastating. Drivers and occupants in passenger cars tend to be the fatally or seriously injured victims of these accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that large trucks usually weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger cars, are taller, and have greater ground clearance than smaller vehicles. “In 2020, 4,014 people died in crashes involving large trucks. Fifteen percent of these deaths were truck occupants, 68 percent were passenger vehicle occupants, and 16 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.”
What to do after a truck accident (7 Steps)
Truck accidents are a leading cause of death on America’s roadways. So what should you do after a truck accident?
1. Report the accident
Call the police and report the accident if you are able. The police will either come to the accident scene and take a report, or you will go to the station to file a report. Ensure you receive a copy of the accident report, as it will be useful evidence in your personal injury claim. Be honest and provide all details regarding the accident to the police. If there were witnesses, give their information to the police.
2. Seek medical attention
You and the passengers in your car should seek medical care as soon as possible, even if you do not think you suffered an injury. Injuries often may not show up for days or weeks after an accident.
Document bruises, cuts, or other visible injuries by taking pictures. Don’t worry about the quality of your pictures, pictures taken with your cell should be sufficient. You should also document any pain or uncomfortableness you experience as well.
Seeing a physician will help you keep a running record of your injuries and medical bills. The longer you wait to see a doctor, the more difficult it will be to prove the accident caused your injury or pain. By seeking emergency medical help right away, you establish immediate documentation linking your injuries to the accident. Keep copies of all your medical receipts and records.
Common truck accident injuries
Check yourself for bumps, bruises, and cuts, notice any pain or numbness and don’t delay seeing a doctor. Obtain medical care promptly if you experience:
- Loss of movement
- Loss of balance
- Light sensitivity, strange sensations
A simple ache or pain can be a sign of something serious. Don’t delay seeking advice and guidance from a doctor.
You may want to seek medical care from a specialty doctor trained to diagnose and treat injuries caused by accidents, such as whiplash, concussions, fractures, and soft tissue injuries.
Depending on the initial examination, your doctor may order further testing, prescribe pain medication, suggest home remedies, and prescribe physical therapy or other specialist services.
You may need surgery to fully recover from a truck accident. Some injuries will necessitate immediate interventions that include hospitalization and surgical procedures.
Some injuries that may result in surgery include internal injuries and bleeding, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, soft tissue injuries, and scarring. Medical and surgical costs add up quickly.
3. Exchange information and gather evidence
If you can, take pictures of the accident, any damage to your vehicle, and other evidence at the scene. Try and acquire contact information for any witnesses and be sure to obtain the contact information for the truck driver, including their insurance company, and any other parties involved in the crash. This information is necessary in the truck accident recovery process.
As stated above, keep track of all medical expenses and any lost wages you may experience due to the truck accident. A personal injury lawyer will assist you with gathering information and evidence, such as witness accounts, copies of the police report, and the truck driver’s contact and insurance information.
4. Informing your insurance company
After filing a police report, seeking medical attention, and gathering evidence, you should also inform your insurance company. You should have a lawyer handle this task if you already hired one.
They will ask for information regarding the incident. Be sure to include as many details as possible. They will need a copy of the police report, information on witnesses and contact, and insurance information on the truck driver and the carrier. Once you notify your insurer of the truck accident and give them all the details, they will begin processing your claim.
Never provide a statement to the other driver’s insurance company or insurance adjuster until you have talked to or consulted with a lawyer. Unfortunately, you cannot trust everyone, and the other insurance company may try to take advantage of the situation, so you must have a lawyer present when speaking with insurance representatives for the truck driver or trucking company.
5. Avoid social media
Avoid posting pictures or anything about your truck accident online. Even if something is deleted from your profiles, screenshots of posts may exist. What is posted on social media can be used against you, so always watch what you say and do on your social media accounts.
6. Give your body time to heal
- Follow health plans prescribed.
- Limit activities, take time off from work, and allow for healing after a truck accident.
- Take medicines prescribed as directed.
- Manage your pain with rest, hot and cold compresses, massage, exercise, and over-the-counter pain medications.
- Attend all physical therapy sessions and perform exercises at home; stretching and movement will help you to heal.
- Don’t miss scheduled doctors’ appointments.
- Sleep and rest. Sleep increases blood flow to muscles and drops stress hormones which can reduce inflammation.
- Don’t push yourself too hard; know your limits.
- Eat a healthy diet and drink lots of fluids to fuel your body and repair muscle and tissue. Good nutrition may optimize healing and recovery.
- Find emotional support if needed from family or friends; a counselor might be necessary due to trauma from the accident.
- All injuries heal in their own time. Common injuries from accidents include broken bones, whiplash, and concussions, which can take 6-8 weeks to heal, sometimes longer. Emotional trauma and more serious conditions may take months or years to manage.
Remember, it takes time to heal from a traumatic truck accident. Physical, mental, emotional, financial, and social struggles may result from terrifying encounters with big rigs on the open road.
You must be patient. Give yourself and your family time to process, heal and recover. An experienced personal injury attorney will help protect and defend your interests and provide the best guidance possible to win your personal injury case. But it still may be a lengthy process. Recovering from a truck accident is no easy task. Take things one day at a time, follow medical advice and hire a truck accident lawyer you trust.
7. Obtain legal representation
It will benefit you to retain legal representation. A personal injury lawyer can explain your legal options and help you understand how insurance companies and trucking companies may attempt to deny your claim and offer inadequate settlements. A trucking company may send representatives to the accident scene to collect evidence and talk to witnesses to help prove they were not liable. Experienced truck accident attorneys are your advocates, working to defend your interests.
Never sign any documents from the trucking company or insurance company without an attorney present. You may accidentally waive your legal rights and your chance to pursue a personal injury claim.
A personal injury lawyer will make sure this does not happen and will help you recover compensation after a truck accident for:
- Ambulance fees
- Emergency room visits
- Extended hospital and treatment center stays
- Pain and trauma
- Current and future lost wages
- Future medical costs
Again, this makes obtaining medical attention promptly key to your case. Your injuries and pain may be questioned if you do not seek care immediately.
Call a Truck Accident Attorney at Wyatt Law Firm Today
If you or a loved one suffered injuries or wrongful death in a truck accident, you deserve to receive full compensation for your damages. A lawyer with experience handling truck accident claims is a valuable advocate. Your attorney will work with local police to investigate what happened, review your medical records to document your serious injuries, and negotiate to identify the liable party or parties and hold them accountable for your financial recovery.