What to Do After a Truck Accident

May 2, 2024 |
What to Do After a Truck Accident

Being involved in a truck accident can be a traumatic and distressing experience. The aftermath of a truck accident often involves physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial burdens. It helps to understand the steps to take after such an incident to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome. If you have been in a truck accident, take prompt action to protect yourself and your future. Contact a Des Moines truck accident attorney who can provide you with the guidance and support you need during this difficult time.

Types of Truck Accidents

A refrigerated semi-trailer truck overturned at the highway exit, coming to rest in the median.

Many types of truck accidents can occur, and each presents its own unique challenges and risks. Understanding the various types of truck accidents can help you navigate the aftermath of an accident and make informed decisions.

Jackknife Accidents

One of the most dangerous types of truck accidents is a jackknife accident. This occurs when a truck trailer swings out to the side, forming a V or L shape with the cab. Jackknife accidents often happen when the driver brakes suddenly or the truck loses control on slippery roads. These accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries and extensive damage to other vehicles involved.

Rear-End Accidents

Due to their size and weight, rear-end accidents involving trucks can be especially devastating. These accidents occur when a truck collides with the rear of another vehicle. The force of impact in a rear-end collision can cause serious injuries, especially to the smaller vehicle's occupants. You must establish liability in rear-end accidents to hold the responsible party accountable for their negligence.

Underride Accidents

Underride accidents occur when a smaller vehicle collides with the rear or side of a truck and slides underneath the truck's trailer. These accidents often result in severe injuries or fatalities, as the roof of the smaller vehicle can be completely crushed upon impact. To prevent underride accidents, trucks are required to have rear and side underride guards.

Rollover Accidents

Rollover accidents involve a truck tipping onto its side or roof. These accidents can occur due to various factors, such as speeding, improper cargo loading, or sharp turns. They can have devastating consequences, causing extensive property damage, injuries, and even fatalities.

Tire Blowouts

Tire blowouts are another common type of truck accident. When a truck's tire suddenly bursts while in motion, it can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, resulting in a potentially catastrophic accident. Tire blowouts can occur for various reasons, such as worn-out tires, overloading, or improper maintenance.

Sideswipe Accidents

Sideswipe accidents involving trucks occur when a truck collides with the side of another vehicle while traveling in the same direction. These accidents can occur for various reasons, such as distracted driving, improper lane changes, or driver fatigue. Sideswipe accidents can result in significant property damage and injuries.

Brake Failure Crashes

Brake failure in trucks can lead to catastrophic accidents due to these vehicles' substantial weight and momentum. When a truck driver loses the ability to control or stop their vehicle due to brake failure, the results can be devastating.

Improper Cargo Loading Crashes

Improperly loaded cargo can lead to serious accidents involving trucks. When cargo is not adequately secured or loaded within weight limits, it can shift during transport, causing the truck to become unstable. These crashes can result in severe injuries, property damage, and even loss of life.

Blind Spot Accidents

Blind spot accidents involving trucks occur when a vehicle enters a space where the truck driver cannot see the smaller car. Due to their size and configuration, trucks have larger blind spots, making it essential for drivers to exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings. Failure to do so can result in severe accidents and injuries.

Wide Turn Collisions

Wide-turn collisions occur when a truck driver fails to complete a turn safely, often causing damage to vehicles in adjacent lanes. Trucks have a larger turning radius, making it essential for truck drivers to exercise caution and take appropriate safety measures. Wide-turn collisions can result in significant property damage, injuries, and even fatalities.

These are just a few examples of the many types of truck accidents that can occur. Each type presents its own set of complications and legal considerations. Suppose you have been in a truck accident. In that case, consult an experienced truck accident attorney immediately. It's their job to investigate your accident to determine what caused it and who is liable for your injuries.

Causes of Truck Accidents

An abstract design featuring trucks and transportation set against a backdrop of highways and delivery routes.

Truck accidents can occur due to a variety of reasons. Determining the cause of the accident is imperative to establish liability and seek compensation. Some common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Driver fatigue: Truck drivers often face demanding schedules, leading to fatigue and drowsy driving.
  • Distracted driving: The use of cell phones, navigation systems, or other distractions can divert a truck driver's attention from the road.
  • Speeding: Excessive speed reduces a driver's ability to react to sudden changes in traffic conditions.
  • Improperly loaded cargo: Poorly secured cargo can shift during transit, causing the truck to become unstable and leading to accidents.
  • Equipment failure: Mechanical issues such as brake failures or tire blowouts can contribute to truck accidents.

Determining the cause of a truck accident is necessary to understand liability and seek compensation for damages.

Who Might Be at Fault for Your Truck Accident

Determining liability in a truck accident can be complex, as multiple parties may be involved. Some potentially liable parties include:

  • Truck driver: If the accident resulted from the truck driver's negligence, they may be liable.
  • Trucking company: The company may be responsible if the accident occurred due to improper maintenance, negligent hiring, or inadequate training.
  • Cargo loaders: If the accident was caused by improperly loaded cargo, the party responsible for loading the cargo may be held liable.
  • Manufacturers: If a mechanical failure or defect caused the accident, the vehicle manufacturer or its parts may be liable.

Establishing liability is crucial to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. An experienced truck accident attorney can investigate the accident and identify all potentially liable parties.

Truck Accident Damages

Truck accidents can result in various types of damages, including:

  • Medical expenses: These can include hospital bills, doctor's visits, medication, and rehabilitation costs.
  • Property damage: If your vehicle or other personal property, such as clothing, jewelry, shoes, eyeglasses, or electronics, were damaged in the accident, you may be entitled to compensation.
  • Lost income: If the accident caused you to miss work or resulted in a decrease in earning capacity, you may be eligible for compensation.
  • Pain and suffering: This refers to the physical and emotional distress experienced due to the accident.
  • Wrongful death: In cases where a truck accident results in a fatality, the family of the deceased can pursue a wrongful death claim.

An experienced truck accident lawyer can thoroughly assess the damages you have suffered and work to secure fair compensation for your losses.

Common Truck Accident Injuries

Truck accidents can lead to severe injuries due to the size and weight of commercial trucks. Some common injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): These can range from concussions to more severe brain damage and can have long-lasting effects.
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCI): These injuries can lead to paralysis or loss of motor function, requiring extensive medical care and rehabilitation.
  • Broken bones: The impact of a truck accident can result in multiple fractures and significant pain.
  • Internal injuries: The force of a truck accident can cause damage to internal organs, leading to internal bleeding or organ failure.
  • Whiplash: This neck injury is common in rear-end collisions and can cause pain and limited mobility.

Be sure to seek immediate medical attention after a truck accident, even if you do not exhibit immediate symptoms. Some injuries may take time to manifest, and prompt medical care can help ensure proper treatment and documentation of your injuries.

The Statute of Limitations in Truck Accident

In truck accident cases, there is a time limit within which you must file a lawsuit to seek compensation. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. The specific statute of limitations can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the type of claim. Therefore, consulting with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident is imperative to ensure you do not miss the deadline. Failing to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations can result in losing your right to seek compensation.

What To Do After a Truck Accident

Seek Medical Care

Your health and well-being should be your top priority after a truck accident. Even if you do not feel immediate pain or symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and a delay in seeking medical care can affect your health and legal claim. Visit a doctor or a hospital emergency room to get a thorough evaluation of your condition. Follow all medical advice and continue with any recommended treatments, therapies, or follow-up appointments.

Compliance with medical advice demonstrates that you are taking your injuries seriously and actively working towards recovery. Keep a detailed record of all medical visits, treatments, and expenses associated with your injuries. This documentation may be necessary when seeking compensation for your damages.

Preserve Evidence

A close-up image captures a wooden court hammer resting on a small stand atop a table within the courtroom. In the background, two men engage in a handshake, symbolizing victory or agreement.

Preserving evidence is crucial in building a strong truck accident case. Take the following steps to preserve evidence:

  • Preserve physical evidence: Keep any damaged personal property or clothing as evidence. Do not repair or dispose of anything until you have discussed it with your attorney.
  • Obtain a copy of the police report: Contact the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident and obtain a copy of the official accident report.
  • Keep a journal: Make detailed notes about the accident, including your recollection of events, any pain or discomfort you experience, and the impact of the injuries on your daily life.

Preserving evidence is critical in determining liability and pursuing a successful truck accident claim. An experienced truck accident lawyer can gather and preserve evidence to build a strong case on your behalf.

Contact a Skilled Truck Accident Lawyer

Handling the legal process after a truck accident can be complex and overwhelming. Hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer can provide you with the guidance and support you need to pursue a successful claim. An attorney with experience handling truck accident claims will have a deep understanding of the laws and regulations governing trucking industry practices, as well as experience in dealing with insurance companies and negotiating fair settlements. Throughout your case, it’s your lawyer’s job to stand up for your rights, handle all legal procedures, and fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Don't Talk to the Insurance Companies

After a truck accident, always be cautious when speaking to insurance companies. Insurance adjusters may try to minimize your claim or obtain information that can be used against you. Even a seemingly harmless comment can jeopardize your claim, such as:

  • “I’m doing fine today, thanks.”
  • “I didn’t even see the truck coming.”

You might think these statements mean nothing, but an insurance adjuster can take them to mean you feel no effects of your injuries or you were distracted and partially to blame for the accident.

Avoid discussing the details of the accident or providing a recorded statement without first consulting with your attorney. Your lawyer will handle all communication with the insurance companies on your behalf, protecting your rights and representing your best interests.

Injured in a Truck Accident? Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Being involved in a truck accident can be a life-altering experience. Be sure to take immediate action to protect yourself and your rights. Following the steps outlined here, such as seeking medical care, preserving evidence, and hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer who can guide you through the legal process and pursue the compensation you deserve.

If you have suffered an injury in a truck accident, consider reaching out to an experienced personal injury attorney dedicated to helping individuals like you recover and move forward after a truck accident. Take the first step towards justice and schedule a no-obligation consultation today.