Car accidents are an unfortunate reality for many people. Even the most cautious and attentive drivers may find themselves involved in a crash at some point. However, when the accident involves a large truck or semi, the injuries can be catastrophic—and even fatal. When these massive vehicles travel at highway speeds, they can inflict severe damage to others on the road. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from a truck accident, it’s essential to understand your options for pursuing and obtaining the compensation you need to support the recovery process. Below is a brief overview of the steps you should take following a truck accident to ensure you can maximize your settlement offer and start rebuilding your life.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Although a trucking accident may occur for any number of reasons, certain risk factors increase the likelihood of a truck-related collision. In many cases, the truck driver is acting in a negligent or reckless manner, jeopardizing the safety of others on the road. For instance, many truck drivers try to push through their routes to arrive at their destination on time, violating the rules and requirements set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). When a driver exceeds the number of hours they are allowed to operate the truck without rest, they are often fatigued and slow to respond to slowing vehicles and other hazards on the road. Some truck drivers get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, while others take their eyes away from the road to answer a text. Other factors, such as improperly loaded cargo, exceeding the posted speed limit, or ignoring traffic laws, may also increase the risk of crashing.
Truck Accidents Can Lead to Severe Injuries
Large commercial trucks traveling at high speeds often lead to devastating injuries. Many truck accident victims face long and complicated paths to recovery, with some injuries causing permanent damage. Common truck accident injuries include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spinal cord trauma, paralysis, internal bleeding, internal organ damage, scarring, disfigurement, and broken bones. These injuries often require costly surgeries and extensive medical interventions, and some victims may face permanent paralysis, loss of limb function, or other lifelong conditions. As a result, they may be unable to perform their job duties, compelling them to seek other employment or public assistance to support themselves and their families.
Steps to Take Following a Truck Accident
The aftermath of a truck accident can be disorienting and chaotic. Below are a few essential steps you should take to support your physical health and increase your chances of obtaining a fair and favorable settlement in the future.
Seek Medical Treatment Right Away
First, assess yourself and others at the scene for injuries, and call for an ambulance right away. Even if you do not believe your injuries are significant enough to warrant immediate medical attention, you should seek medical care to screen for harder-to-detect symptoms, such as TBIs, concussions, or internal bleeding. Additionally, having your doctor document your injuries is an essential step to pursuing a successful truck accident claim. This documentation will show insurers that you took your injuries seriously and followed through on all recommended treatments and evaluations.
Contact Law Enforcement
Truck accidents usually cause significant damage to individuals, vehicles, and other property. Make sure that someone at the scene notifies local law enforcement of the accident. The responding officer will arrive and compile a police report detailing the factors surrounding the accident and documenting the names, contact information, and insurance information of the parties involved in the crash. When you move forward with your accident claim, you can request a copy of the police report to support your claim and show that the truck driver was responsible for the accident.
Work With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Truck accident injuries can derail your life in many ways. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed by the long recovery ahead of you. You may also experience anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and other mental and emotional struggles following this harrowing experience. However, it’s essential to recognize that you do not have to go through this process alone. Enlisting the support of a compassionate and trusted attorney is the best way to ensure you obtain the best possible outcome. Your attorney can handle the heated negotiations with the insurance carriers on your behalf, allowing you to focus on your recovery. You can trust that your lawyer will work tirelessly to maximize your settlement offer so you can move forward with greater certainty and confidence.
If you have suffered a truck accident injury in Portland or Vancouver, call Henderson Taylor Law Firm today at (360) 737-1478 to speak with a trusted and compassionate personal injury attorney.