The roadways in the Pacific Northwest are some of the most scenic in the country. Unfortunately, accidents happen—often when we least expect them. However, the damages and injuries can be catastrophic when a large commercial truck is involved. The sheer size of a big rig or other large truck can wreak havoc on a smaller vehicle, causing drivers or passengers to suffer severe injuries that may require hospitalization, surgery, and lengthy recoveries. In addition to physical pain and emotional distress, truck accident victims often face financial anxiety as the medical bills, lost wages, and other unanticipated expenses start to pile up. It’s essential to recognize that Washington gives truck accident victims the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party to assist with the costs of their recovery. As you start exploring what this process may entail, consider enlisting the guidance and support of a compassionate and experienced Vancouver personal injury attorney to ensure you maximize your settlement offer and secure the compensation you need to rebuild your life.
Understanding Why Truck Accidents Happen
First, it’s helpful to look at some of the most common causes of truck accidents in Washington state. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are six factions that specifically lead to truck accidents:
- Decision: The driver was driving too fast for conditions, misjudged the speed of other vehicles, or followed the other vehicles too closely.
- Recognition: The driver was inattentive, distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle, or failed to observe the situation adequately for some other reason.
- Non-performance: The driver fell asleep, was disabled by a heart attack or seizure, or was physically impaired for another reason.
- Vehicle: Vehicle failures, such as brake problems, were responsible for the crash.
- Performance: The driver panicked, overcompensated, or exercised poor directional control.
- Environment: Fog, heavy rain, bad weather, or poor roadway conditions caused the crash.
Any one factor (or a combination of factors) can lead to dramatic and devastating consequences. It’s essential to report the accident to local law enforcement so the responding officer can compile a police report. This document will serve as an objective account of the events and factors leading up to the accident, and you can request a copy to include in your accident claim to show that the other party was responsible for causing your injuries.
Steps to Take After Suffering a Trucking Accident Injury
The moments immediately after the accident can be disorienting and chaotic. However, there are several steps you can take to ensure your safety and strengthen your eventual accident injury claim. Here are some actions to take, beginning with the scene of the incident.
Seek Medical Attention
The first thing you should do is assess yourself and others for any injuries requiring immediate medical attention. Call for an ambulance immediately if there are obvious or serious injuries. Some truck accident victims may not believe their injuries are severe enough to warrant medical attention, but you should still visit a doctor within the next day or two for a full evaluation. Your doctor will look for any harder-to-detect injuries, such as concussions or internal bleeding. Additionally, the medical records created at the hospital or your doctor’s visit can be used to strengthen your accident claim, as they will quantify and demonstrate the impact the accident has had on your physical health and quality of life.
Prioritize Your Well-Being
Although your primary focus should be your physical recovery, it’s common to experience emotional and psychological distress after such a traumatic event. Many truck accident victims develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbances, anxiety, and depression as a result of the accident. Give yourself the space to acknowledge your experiences and recognize that you have options for coping with these conditions. Consider working with a therapist or mental health counselor to help you manage your anxiety. Sometimes, just knowing that you are never alone during this vulnerable time can bring you the comfort you need to support your recovery.
Contact an Empathetic and Trusted Personal Injury Attorney
The last thing many truck accident victims want to do is battle with insurance companies and the at-fault party to obtain the compensation they’re owed. Instead of wasting your time and energy engaging in contentious negotiations, let your attorney step in to represent your best interests and secure a fair and favorable settlement offer on your behalf. Truck accident claims can be especially complex, as there may be more than one party to blame for the accident (i.e., the driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, or the insurance carrier for the trucking company). Whatever the specifics of your situation may be, your attorney will identify the most strategic path forward to secure you the compensation you need to enjoy a brighter future.
If you have suffered a truck accident injury and need help collecting compensation, contact Henderson Taylor Law Firm today by calling (360) 737-1478 to speak with a caring and experienced Vancouver personal injury attorney.