Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
What Should You Do After a Commercial Truck Wreck?
Truck accidents are not like other auto accidents. You cannot treat them the same and neither can your lawyer. This article will help you understand your options as well as what steps to take after a truck accident in order to promptly to preserve evidence and your rights.
Call the Police and Report the Wreck
No matter how small the wreck may be, you need to call the police and report the accident. Truck drivers can only have so many accidents before they are deemed unfit to drive. Trucking company insurance providers raise trucking company insurance rates due to “at fault” accidents. Both of these things are bad for the truck driver and his employer. This means that if you leave the scene without a report, the truck driver and his company have every incentive to change their story and deny responsibility leaving you with an uphill batter to prove you were not at fault. Call 911 and report it ASAP.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Obviously, if your injuries are serious you should go to the emergency room without hesitation. However, if you suspect you are injured as a result of an accident someone else caused, you should seek medical care immediately for two reasons:
- Some injuries do not manifest immediately, and;
- Truck insurance companies use delays and gaps in care against you.
Reasons for Unseen Injury or Delaying Feeling of Pain
The human body has the capacity to protect and heal itself in many respects. As a result of this, we often have a tendency to blow off injuries and assume our body will just heal itself with time and rest. Many times when a person suffers an injury in an accident, however, the body has a difficult time healing by itself. It is not designed for the pulling, twisting and tearing to muscles and ligaments that a whiplash injury can produce.
Pain from the Body’s Reaction
Sometimes the effects of whiplash are not fully realized at the scene of an accident. There are several reasons for this. First off, the muscle and ligament stretching and tearing above causes the human body to go into a healing mode. Your body begins to produce fluids in the damaged area. Swelling occurs and the site of injury. As your body stiffens up from these effects, you often begin to feel more and more discomfort. This may take hours or even days.
Stress-Induced Analgesia Masking the Pain
Second, there is a condition known as “stress-induced analgesia” that sometimes occurs following the scare of an accident and enables an injured person to temporarily block out the pain mentally. When a person is in a very stressful situation such as a wreck with an 18 wheeler, the body releases noradrenaline into the bloodstream. Noradrenaline a/k/a norepinephrine is a hormone that act as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and sympathetic nervous system that blocks the transmission of pain to the brain. When a person is “stressed-out” by a truck accident, they may block out the pain until a later point at which things calm down, the noradrenaline levels return to normal as suddenly pain is perceived by the brain again.
If you suspect injury at all or suspect that your body is making pain, you should seek immediate medical attention. Emergency rooms for hospitals as well as independent centers are a good place to start.
Adjusters Use Lack of Care to Deny or Low-Ball Claims
Insurance adjusters are looking for an excuse to deny your claim. Here are some of the medical care mistakes they commonly deduct from your offer for:
- Not calling an ambulance
- Not going to a hospital from the scene
- Delays in seeking the initial medical care
- Delays in following up after the initial medical care
- Not following doctor’s orders
- Missing scheduled appointments
- Gaps in your medical care
- Not filling prescriptions
- Seeking “alternative,” “holistic,” or “experimental” types of medical care
If you do not want to get treated unfairly, your best bet is to seek care promptly and follow the doctor’s orders. If you need tips on how to get necessary medical care.
Call a Truck Accident Lawyer Immediately for Serious Injuries
If the accident involves a fatality or serious injury, time is of the essence. Trucking companies have immediate accident response teams whose job is to get out to the scene and try to shield the company from liability. Not all of those on these teams are honest people. Evidence has a funny way of disappearing and crash data can get lost. You need to hire an 18 wheeler accident lawyer like Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. who have truck accident investigation experts who can get to the scene fast to:
- Get photos of the vehicles and the area
- Download crash data from electronic logging devices
- Interview eyewitnesses
- Take skid measurements
- Gather other critical data that can be a factor in causing the collision
Photograph the Vehicles and Scene
If you are physically able, snap photographs of the vehicle and scene with your cell phone. Scene photos are helpful when it comes to documenting what was there and what was removed from the scene after the accident. They can also provide critical evidence.
Obtain a Crash Report
You or your attorney will need to promptly obtain a crash report. Generally, the Texas crash reports are available from the Texas Department of Transportation Website for a nominal fee of $6.00. They are usually available with approximately 8 days unless there is a fatality.
Photograph Your Injuries
Photographs speak much louder than words when it comes to proving what you have suffered through. If possible, have someone else take photos of your injuries often. Some of the best times/places to take photos include:
- at the scene while the wounds are fresh
- at the emergency room while you are undergoing painful care
- after you arrive home
- daily the first week
- weekly thereafter or as new treatment is done or new healing occurs, whichever is shorter,
Try to take pictures to document any and all changes in the condition of your injuries, treatment and/or healing process to help tell your story.
At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., we offer a free consultation and do not charge any fees unless we make a recovery. Why not call us to evaluate your case today? 1-800-298-0111.