Truck Accident: Personal Injury Claims & Lawsuits
Being involved in a truck accident can be a scary and difficult situation. Accidents that involve large commercial trucks, such as 18 wheelers, can cause serious physical and emotional injuries — as well as the possibility of a major financial burden associated with those injuries. Truck accident victims must also interact with an insurance company that has little sympathy for how the outcome affects their well being. Determining when you should contact a personal injury lawyer to help process your claim can be the difference in receiving a fair truck accident settlement and mitigating the emotional hardships that come from a long-term engagement with an insurance company.
Should I Contact a Lawyer for a Truck Accident Injury?
After a truck accident, it can be tough to know if the case should be handled through the insurance company, or if it requires the legal expertise of a personal injury lawyer. To help identify the need for a personal injury lawyer, see if you answer "yes" to any of the following questions:
- Did the accident cause serious injury that led to hospitalization or surgery?
- Did a permanent injury such as amputation, burns or paralysis occur?
- Did the accident involve multiple vehicles or pedestrians?
- Did the accident occur in a construction zone?
- Is there a disagreement about who is at fault for the truck accident?
- Does the police report inaccurately depict the truck accident and put you at fault?
- Are you uninsured, or has your insurance company claimed that they did not receive your last premium payment?
- Are you having problems with the insurance company, or have they deferred to their own lawyers for your case?
Note that if a truck accident led to death, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
Take pictures of the truck accident scene — If possible, take pictures of the accident scene – including the truck and any other vehicles involved – damage to your vehicle and any injuries you sustained.
Visit a healthcare provider for injuries — After a truck accident, even if injuries are not obvious, you should get evaluated by a medical professional. This helps uncover any conditions, such as whiplash and soft tissue injuries, that may not be recognized as injuries until sometime after the accident. Just as important, a medical visit can help link the injuries you sustained directly to the truck accident.
Review your insurance coverage — After the truck accident, go over your insurance policy in detail, including the exclusions section, in order to know what coverage you have. It is also prudent to check for any kind of additional coverage you may have under other insurance policies, such as homeowner and "umbrella" policies.
Document discussions with the insurance company — When you have any accident-related discussions with an insurance company representative, write down their name, phone number and job title. Also record call times, subject matter and important information during discussions.
Document medical expenses — If you are going to file a claim, which typically occurs after an injury-related truck accident, keep copies of your medical expenses related to the treatment of your injuries. Expenses to document include medical bills, prescription costs and insurance co-pays. Additionally, you may be able to get reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses related to medical care for your truck accident injuries.
Request medical records — Medical records provide a significant amount of information that may be important for a truck accident lawsuit. Obtain copies for reference, or have a lawyer help you.
Keep records of all accident-related items — After a truck accident injury, it is important to document the accident, injuries and other related conversations, paperwork and expenses. Maintaining records and keeping everything organized is useful for any claims or lawsuits that result.
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