What to Know if You Have Been Involved in a Truck Accident?
You may not know where to start after becoming a truck accident victim. The aftermath can become overwhelming, and what you should do may not always be clear. Ultimately, your purpose after a truck crash is to figure out what your next steps should be and what actions you should take to protect your rights, all while dealing with recovering from your painful injuries and impacts.
There are some things you should know after you are in a truck accident that can help you as you prepare for the processing of your insurance claim. Dealing with insurance companies, truck companies, and other parties that could be to blame is challenging. How you approach these parties, your injuries, and your claim can affect how much money you can recover for your damages. A truck accident lawyer can help you better.
The Extent of Your Injuries
Injuries that occur from a truck accident have the potential to be catastrophic or fatal in worst-case scenarios. However, many injuries ranging from moderate to severe can also significantly impact the life of a truck accident victim. Knowing your injuries and the expected timeline for recovery is beneficial as you prepare to file a claim with the help of your lawyer.
Your attorney may rely on medical records, doctors, and expert testimony to provide accurate and experienced diagnoses relating to your injuries. However, the more involved you are with your care and aware of your treatment plan and the extent of your injuries, the more you can help your case and guide your lawyer in the right direction from the start.
While the initial focus of a claim may be who is at fault for the truck accident, the diagnosis of your injuries will become relevant to compensation as the claim moves forward. Proving injuries is part of an insurance claim. Typically, the more serious the injuries, the higher the monetary compensation likely due to the medical costs necessary to provide your care and treatment.
Types of injuries from a truck accident may include:
- Injuries to the head or neck, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe scarring or disfigurement
- Crush injuries
- Loss of a limb or extremity
How Your Injuries Will Change Your Life
The injuries you sustain as a truck accident victim can have long-lasting effects you may not predict or expect. It can go well beyond the time you need for emergency room treatment and, for some, may cause permanent loss of function or disability. It is not uncommon for victims of severe truck accident injuries to require hospitalization and time in rehabilitation as they recover.
While you seek care and treatment, you are, in turn, missing work, losing out on opportunities, and may be away from your routine, your family, and your friends. Injuries can have physical repercussions but also affect your emotional and mental well-being. During your recovery, you may also worry about your financial responsibilities, sudden lack of income, and the burdensome costs of your medical care.
In the aftermath of a truck accident, you must note and identify all of the consequences the injuries cause on your life, now and in the future. The reality is that for many victims that suffer serious injuries, those injuries can remain problematic as time goes on, with some victims even suffering lifelong disabilities.
Know the Importance of Your Recovery
You must prioritize your health following a truck accident. The attention you give to your recovery and medical care can play a big role in your case. Staying on top of your appointments with doctors and rehabilitation, as well as following the advice of your medical providers, will help you heal faster and may help your case.
Insurance companies want to avoid paying out the maximum damages for your injuries, especially in cases where injuries are severe and the medical care significant. To attempt to reduce the compensation they may owe you in a truck accident claim, an insurer might look into your medical recovery more closely.
If they find any evidence that you did not remain committed to your care, they may argue that you cannot hold them responsible for an unforeseen complication, a worsening injury, or an injury that does not properly heal. This scenario can, in turn, lower the amount of money you may recover, either through a settlement offer or a court verdict.
Discover Your Rights Under the Law
Injury victims of a truck accident that are the result of the negligence of a truck driver, truck company, or another are, in most cases, eligible to seek compensation for their losses.
The principles of personal injury law apply to truck accident cases and allow the victim to take legal action through a court, if necessary, to fight for the compensation of their damages. A truck accident lawyer can help you understand how the law applies in your case and how the law can help you get justice after injuries and loss in a collision with a commercial truck or semi.
Most truck accident cases, however, may not need to go through a trial to reach a resolution. When truck accidents occur, insurance coverage kicks in. Whether it is the truck company’s insurance or your own, there may be avenues to recovering your losses that avoid going through with a lawsuit in court.
Often, with the help of their lawyer, truck accident victims can get the money they need through a settlement with the insurer outside of a court. Out-of-court settlements, however, are not a guarantee and may not always be in the best interest of a truck accident victim. If the insurer is disputing fault, refusing to acknowledge your significant damages, or denying your claim, then going to court may be the best option in your case.
The Benefits of Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney
It is not enough to know your rights; you should also have an advocate that is fighting for you and only you. A truck accident lawyer has the know-how, background, and experience to evaluate your case and prepare a claim or case for you that gives you the best opportunity to recover your maximum losses.
You may think about taking the risk to go ahead with a truck accident claim without a lawyer, but that could come at a hefty price. The processing of an insurance claim for a truck accident can be confusing and take time. Most victims do not want to spend their days when they should be healing arguing with insurance company representatives and fighting for the fair resolution of their claim.
When you hire a lawyer, you are not only hiring their knowledge and skills relating to the law but also their ability to work the case on your behalf.
A truck accident lawyer and their professional legal team can handle all aspects of your truck accident case, including managing and communicating with parties such as the insurer, medical bill collections, the truck company, and other interested parties to the case.
Additionally, a lawyer will build the best case possible on your behalf by gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and negotiating for the best possible outcome to help you in the aftermath of a truck crash.
Understand The Insurance Companies Are Not on Your Side
A common misconception by truck accident victims is that insurance companies are there to help them. Insurance representatives will approach victims of a truck accident in a friendly and helpful manner but make no mistake that their job is not to help you get the money you need. Their job is to process and close out a claim against the insurer as quickly as they can with as little money involvement necessary.
When an insurance claims adjuster speaks to a victim, they are trying to gain as much information that can help them decide how they can either deny the claim straight away or how they can lower their liability or lower the damages offered to them. This approach is the same whether the insurance company is the at-fault party or your own.
No insurance company has any loyalty to a victim. Their only obligation to you is a contractual one per the policy agreement in place at the time of the accident. They deal with accident victims each and every day. They have a wealth of experience and information to help them come out on top, particularly when dealing with unrepresented victims. Hiring a truck accident lawyer puts an obstacle in the path of insurers because they know they cannot take advantage of a victim’s lack of experience in dealing with a claim.
What Compensation Can You Recover as a Truck Accident Victim?
As a victim of a truck accident, you will want to know what you can seek compensation for and how much money it may entail. Damages from a truck accident can involve a lot of money. Considerations for determining how much compensation you may be eligible for in your case can include the type of injuries you suffer, the severity of your injuries, how your injuries affect your days and future, and the damage involved to your property.
Figuring out your losses is a challenging undertaking and calculating your damages plays a big part in your claim. While insurance companies will make their own calculations, they will do so in a manner that benefits them, and rarely will it reflect your actual losses. A truck accident attorney, on the other hand, understands just how prevalent the damages can be following a truck crash. Your lawyer will work with you to account for the losses you have already incurred and the losses you are likely to incur in the future.
The damages you can pursue as part of a truck accident claim can include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Future costs of medical care and lost earnings
- Your pain and suffering, including emotional and mental distress
- Impacts on your quality of life or how you enjoy your life
- Property damage
How Much Time Do You Have to Decide to Take Legal Action If You Suffer Losses from a Truck Crash?
Often the recourse for a truck accident victim is through an insurance claim. However, when an insurance claim does not settle as expected or legal issues arise, a court filing of a lawsuit might become a necessity. Deciding to take matters to court is a step you would take after consulting with your attorney. However, filing a lawsuit for your damages against an insurer or another at-fault party is only available for a short time following a truck accident.
Depending on the state in which the accident occurs, the timeline available to file a lawsuit can be as little as one year to upwards of several years. Statutes of limitations are laws that set the time period for which a claimant can file suit.
If a victim does not file in time according to the statute of limitations in their state, they will likely be unable to proceed with a lawsuit in court against the parties responsible. To avoid running into issues regarding the statute of limitations, consult with an attorney as soon as possible following a truck accident.
Take Action Sooner Rather Than Later
It can be a challenging time for you after a truck accident. Your life may not look as it did before, and the future may feel uncertain. Take control of what you can and seek help to fight for a positive resolution of your insurance claim. Truck accidents can leave you with painful injuries, trauma, and overwhelming financial expenses. You have rights under the law to seek compensation for your losses.