What to Do if You Are Injured in a Truck Accident
A semi-truck accident can change your life. Although truck accidents are extremely stressful and often traumatic, the things that you do right after the crash can significantly affect your case. At Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys, PC, our Oregon semi-truck accident attorneys recommend that you take three specific steps after the accident that will not only help you with your legal claim, but it will also help you recover from your injuries after the collision.
These steps include 1) follow all of your doctor’s treatment advice; 2) be your own advocate and gather evidence after the truck accident, and 3) get detailed legal answers before you give a statement to the truck driver’s insurance company or otherwise accept any settlement offer.
Below, we’ll go through each of these steps in depth.
#1. Get Medical Attention and Follow Up on Treatment recommendations.
You should get checked out by a doctor immediately following a trucking accident. Because semi-truck accidents are often severe, it is often obvious that the injured party should go to the hospital. However, most people don’t realize that acute medical emergencies may not always be visible. For example, a person may not realize until hours or even days later that they or a loved one have a head injury after the crash. Internal injuries, such as bruising and bleeding, can be life-threatening, but they may not notice it right away. Given these facts, any attorney worth their salt would advise that persons involved in a semi truck crash should always see a doctor after the accident.
It is also worth noting that your medical treatment should generally not stop with the initial assessment. You need to follow up with recommended medical care as well, including:
- Follow up appointments with doctors
- Physical therapy
- Surgery or other invasive treatment, including injection therapy
- Counseling and any psychological treatment
Getting the medical and other recommended treatment after a semi truck crash will not only be good for your health, but it will also be helpful for your legal case as well. By doing so, you are documenting your injuries, your symptoms, and your recovery. You are also showing the insurance company, judge or jury that you are committed to making a full recovery.
#2. Gather Evidence and Information.
Getting information about the truck driver and the trucking company will be very helpful to your case. You will need this information to start any insurance claim or legal action. Just like a regular car crash, you should talk with the other driver after a crash to get information that includes:
- Name and contact information
- Driver’s license number
- Insurance information or trucking company information
- USDOT number (this is usually posted on the side of the tractor trailer)
Be sure to gather the contact information of any witnesses from the accident as well. These people will provide helpful information on what they saw and heard just before the collision, which can be very helpful to prove fault in your case. You would be surprised how often the truck driver will completely change their story to the trucking company, their insurance carrier, or to your lawyer. Independent witnesses are the best way to guard against that happening. You will also want to photograph the scene, weather and road conditions, as well as the property damage to both vehicles, as these facts are often important later on in the process.
Additionally, be sure to note which law enforcement agency responds. Oftentimes, the police report makes or breaks your case - particularly with any change in the story by the truck driver or other witnesses. Moreover, police officers, sheriff deputies and state troopers are trained in gathering and documenting physical evidence at crash scenes, as well as interviewing witnesses. It is not unusual for a seemingly innocuous fact to make or break your case down the line.
Your semi-truck accident attorney will be able to help you with this process. Because trucking accidents are often severe, you may not be able to get this information at the scene of the crash. In many cases, you should be focused on getting medical care right away. However, to the extent you are able to help gather this information, it is recommended you do so.
#3. Get an Attorney Who Has Experience With Truck Accident Cases.
Truck accident cases are unique. They often involve serious injuries, large amounts of property damage, and specific laws - both federal and state - that only apply to truck accidents. You need an attorney who has experience with truck accident cases—not just passenger vehicle crashes.
Lawyers who knows truck accidents will be able to help you with:
- Gathering evidence unique to truck accidents like driver logs and GPS data
- Talking to witnesses
- Determining whether a truck driver is complying with federal and state trucking laws
- Negotiating with an insurance company or trucking business
- Recommending the type of medical professionals that you need to heal
Our Oregon Trucking Attorneys Can Help You After Your Truck Accident — for FREE
Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys, PC has over 50 years of experience helping truck accident victims. We want to put that experience and knowledge to work for you to get you the money you need to recover as much as possible after a semi-truck accident. That’s why we offer a FREE consultation to anybody injured in trucking accidents. Call us at (800) 286-8678 or fill out the form on this page to get your free consultation today!