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Getting hit by a large truck like an 18-wheeler can be a traumatic event. It can also end up being draining, both financially and emotionally.

And so, what exactly should you do after such an event?

Get Medical Attention

The first priority is always to get medical attention, even if you feel fine. The adrenaline after an accident can mask serious injuries that may need immediate treatment.

Thereafter, follow medical advice for any diagnostic tests, treatments or medications recommended. Be thorough and get all injuries checked out.

Getting promptly assessed and treated can help facilitate recovery further down the line. Having medical records will also be important for insurance claims and possible legal action.

Try To Document the Accident

If you are able to and it is safe, try to gather information about the accident. Also,

  • Get important information from the other driver including the truck driver’s name, license plate and truck company information
  • Take photos of the accident scene from different angles if possible
  • Note weather and road conditions at the time
  • Note any details you remember about the accident

File a Police Report

When a large truck is involved, filing a report is required by law in most states.

  • Provide a statement to police officers when they arrive
  • Get a copy of the police report documenting details and findings once complete
  • Correct any inaccuracies in the police report promptly if needed

Having an official report with a responding officer’s notes and conclusions will be critical for liability and insurance claims down the line.

Notify Your Insurance Provider

Tell your insurer about the accident.

There are likely steps your insurer will want you to take including:

  • Giving a recorded statement about what happened
  • Getting your vehicle assessed for repair costs or total loss
  • Providing copies of medical records, bills and the accident report
  • Identifying other policies that may provide coverage like health insurance

Cooperating fully with your insurance company will help facilitate any payments you are entitled to like medical expense coverage, lost wages help and car damage reimbursement. Be as thorough as possible with details and paperwork.

Consider Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney

It is advisable to have an experienced truck accident lawyer represent you.

An attorney can help with the following:

  • Investigating fault and proving negligence by the truck driver and trucking company
  • Pursuing damages like medical bills, lost income, disability and pain/suffering
  • Navigating complex state and federal trucking regulations
  • Negotiating fair settlement offers or taking the case to trial

Take Time to Heal Physically and Emotionally

In addition to advocating for yourself legally, be sure to prioritize self-care after a traumatic truck collision. Getting medical attention is just the first step. From there:

  • Follow all doctor’s orders for medication, therapy, check-ups, etc.
  • Attend all appointments until you reach maximum medical recovery
  • Stay on top of insurance paperwork and coordination of benefits
  • Lean on loved ones for support and ask for help when needed
  • Consider counseling to process fear, anxiety or sleep issues
  • Avoid overexerting yourself before you are ready

Healing and getting your life back on track is what matters most. Do not rush back to work, school or normal routines until your treatment team gives the all-clear.

Explore Options if Disabled Long-Term

Severe injuries from a truck accident may unfortunately leave some people permanently disabled and unable to work. If this happens, know there are resources in place to help including:

  • Applying for Social Security disability benefits
  • Seeing if your or the truck driver’s insurance policy includes disability coverage
  • Looking into state and federal programs for the severely injured
  • Getting support with daily tasks from home health aides if needed
  • Making lifestyle adjustments like moving to an accessible home

This can understandably be overwhelming to navigate. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer assist with securing benefits and compensation can make the process smoother.

Seek Financial Assistance if Necessary

Between medical bills, car repair/replacement costs and lost wages from missed work, accidents can hit hard financially. If money is tight, options like these may help:

  • Set up payment plans or apply for financial assistance/charity programs at healthcare facilities
  • Use credit cards, personal loans or financing for large expenses
  • Have family/friends contribute to a crowdfunding campaign on your behalf
  • Look into state victims of crime compensation funds
  • Ask your lawyer about advancing money to cover costs until settlement

Do your best to communicate honestly with healthcare providers and creditors about your situation. Some may agree to payment arrangements, lowered rates or forgiveness.

FAQs

How soon after the accident should I get checked out?

Medical evaluation should happen immediately – either by ambulance at the scene or traveling directly to an ER or urgent care facility right after the crash. Adrenaline can hide injuries so quick assessment is key even if you feel unhurt initially.

What key details should I write down?

Try to document the truck driver’s identification and trucking company, license plate, eyewitness accounts, photos of the accident scene, weather/road conditions, vehicle damage and anything you recall about how the crash happened. This information will strengthen your case.

Who pays for my medical treatment and missed wages?

Your own auto insurance policy will likely cover some medical and lost income costs. However, the truck driver and their employer should pay for all crash-related expenses through liability coverage or a lawsuit settlement. An attorney can pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.

How can I ease my anxiety after the traumatic event?

It’s completely normal to feel fearful getting back on the road, have trouble sleeping or live in dread of another collision after a bad wreck. Consider seeking counseling or joining a support group. Over time and with professional help, the anxiety should lessen. Focus on healing physically and know that your concerns are understood.

What should I do if the insurance settlement offer seems too low?

Do not feel pressured to accept any offer right away. Discuss it over with your attorney and consider getting a second opinion on whether the proposed settlement adequately covers all current and future costs stemming from the crash. An experienced lawyer can negotiate a fair outcome or take the case to court if needed.

The aftermath of a collision with a massive truck can be daunting but staying calm, following these key steps and seeking experienced legal advice will help you take control and work towards recovery. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. There are always people willing to support truck accident victims however they can.

About the Author

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Husain Law Firm

Nomaan K. Husain is the founder of Husain Law + Associates — Houston Accident & Injury Lawyers, P.C., a Houston-based law firm specializing in Litigation, Immigration, and Aviation. He is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Trial Law, with law licenses in Texas, New York, and other jurisdictions. Mr. Husain serves in key community roles, including as Commissioner on President Biden's White House Commission on Fellowships and Chairman of Houston's Asian American Pacific Islander Advisory Board. He's been recognized with several awards, such as the Global Leader Award from the Houston World Affairs Council.

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