Truck accidents often leave victims with catastrophic injuries and devastating property damage. Commercial trucks like semi-trucks pose a significant threat to other drivers on the road due to their size and weight. While no one can anticipate being involved in an accident, knowing what to do after an accident with a semi-truck can help you when you seek compensation for your injuries.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
Immediately after a truck accident, it can be hard to think straight. Adrenaline may be surging, and you may be suffering from serious injuries. However, the more you can do to protect your rights when you’re at the scene of an accident, the better.
Call 911 to let the dispatcher know you were in a truck accident. Officers will immediately report to the scene to assess the condition of all the involved parties and contact emergency services if necessary. The police will also collect information about the accident and file a report.
If you are physically able, collect evidence at the accident scene. Take photographs of the damaged vehicles, the truck’s license plate, skid marks, your injuries, and the surrounding environment. If possible, write down everything you can remember about the moments before, during, and after the accident. Memories quickly fade, so it’s vital to write down the sequence of events while it’s still fresh in your mind. Your attorney can use this information to build a strong case supporting your claim against the liable party.
You also need to know what info to collect after a truck accident. You should collect the following information from the truck driver:
- Driver’s full name, physical address, phone number, and email address;
- Driver’s license number;
- License plate number for the truck and the state the plate was issued in;
- Name of the trucking company; and
- Auto insurance company name and policy number.
This information will make it easier for your attorney to get the claim process started.
Get Witness Information
Witnesses can provide incredibly helpful information in truck accident cases. If an accident occurred on a busy roadway or highway, there were likely witnesses. Obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene. Responding officers will also talk to witnesses. It’s helpful to have this information at hand so your attorney can interview the witnesses about what they saw as soon as possible.
Seek Medical Attention
Seek medical attention after a truck accident. Getting immediate medical attention is essential for the following reasons:
- Symptoms of your injuries may appear in the hours, days, or weeks after an accident and quickly worsen over time;
- Waiting too long to seek treatment may make connecting your injuries to the accident difficult; and
- Seeking a complete medical evaluation creates documentation of your injuries and might also help you figure out your recovery prognosis and estimate your future medical expenses.
Connecting your injuries to the accident is vital when seeking compensation for your damages. Medical records can also help your attorney calculate and prove your damages.
Report the Accident
Report your accident to the police and your insurance company as soon as possible. Because truck accidents are usually very serious, you should call the police if a witness hasn’t already called them. The responding officer will create a police report providing an unbiased third-party assessment of the accident. In Kentucky, a driver involved in an accident that caused death or injury to any person must immediately notify the police. Kentucky law also requires drivers to file a written accident report with the Kentucky State Police within ten days of an accident if there was more than $500 in damage and the police did not respond to the accident scene.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
A qualified personal injury attorney knows how to use the information gathered at the scene of an accident to build a strong case on your behalf. Your attorney can also help you complete the above steps if you were physically unable to when you were at the scene.
How Is Fault Determined in Truck Accidents?
Kentucky follows pure comparative negligence law when establishing fault in an accident. In pure comparative negligence states, any damage award an injured victim receives is reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if a court determines you were 20% at fault for the truck accident and awards you $100,00 in damages, you can receive up to $80,000. Your attorney understands that establishing the truck driver’s liability and minimizing your potential responsibility for an accident is a top priority. They can gather and present evidence to help you show the other driver was at fault for the accident.
What Can I Recover in Compensation?
Kentucky permits people injured in truck accidents to recover economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include financial losses directly related to your injuries and include the following:
- Medical expenses. Recoverable medical expenses include the costs of surgeries, rehabilitation, treatments, medical devices, medications, and other related expenses.
- Property damage. The accident may have damaged or completely totaled your car. You can recover compensation for your repair costs or for the value of your vehicle before the accident.
- Lost wages. Your injuries may prevent you from working. As you recover from your injuries, lost wages severely strain victims and their families. You can recover compensation for these lost wages.
- Loss of future earnings. After a catastrophic injury, many victims find themselves unable to work the same job they had before their accident. They may be forced to take a lower-paying job resulting in a lower income moving forward. You can seek compensation for this loss of earnings from the liable party.
Retain all copies of receipts, invoices, pay stubs, and other evidence that shows your financial losses. Your attorney uses this information to calculate the value of your economic damages and support that claim.
Noneconomic damages represent the psychological and emotional consequences of an injury. These subjective losses are tough to quantify and prove on your own. But an experienced attorney will know how to help you calculate and demonstrate these losses. Noneconomic damages you can recover compensation for include the following:
- Pain and suffering. Many truck accident victims suffer from severe pain and suffering due to their injuries which manifests in physical and emotional ways.
- Emotional distress. A truck accident is a truly traumatic event. Many people feel haunted by the experience and find it difficult to cope with everyday life.
- Loss of consortium. Some injuries may make it difficult for injured victims to engage in normal marital relations.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. Injuries may permanently affect your ability to engage in previously enjoyable activities. For example, someone who suffers paralysis after a truck accident will not be able to run with their children again. You can seek compensation for that loss.
Placing a value on these subjective losses is incredibly difficult. However, your attorney works with you to analyze how your injuries have affected your life so that you are asking for all of the compensation you deserve.
At Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, we understand that accident victims may feel angry, confused, and overwhelmed by their situation. Our legal team is here to help you turn those emotions into a drive to pursue justice. We are just as passionate about your claim as you are and dedicate ourselves to fighting hard for those who can’t fight for themselves. At Gladstein Law Firm, we will help you hold the person responsible for your injury accountable so that you can move forward with your life. Contact us today for a free consultation.