I Was Hit by a Semi-Truck. Now What?

Semi truck accident with a small white 4 door sedan

Being hit by or involved in a semi-truck accident can be traumatizing, as semi-trucks are massive, heavy vehicles that can cause serious damage. Besides the usual damage done to vehicles in these accidents, there are typically severe physical injuries sustained by those involved.

Seeking Medical Attention and Reporting the Accident

After being involved in a semi-truck accident, taking immediate action is essential to protect your well-being and ensure a smooth legal process. The "now what" stage requires you to prioritize your health and gather crucial information about the accident. Here's what you should do:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Your health should be your top priority. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it's vital to get a thorough medical evaluation. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and prompt medical attention can prevent potential complications down the line. Keep a record of all medical visits, treatments, and prescriptions, as these will play a crucial role in building your case.
  2. Document the Accident: Gathering information and evidence related to the accident is crucial for your claim. If possible, take photos of the accident scene, including the damage to your vehicle and any visible injuries. Additionally, gather contact information from witnesses who can provide statements supporting your case. If the police were involved at the scene, obtain a copy of the police report as it can serve as valuable evidence.

Can You Sue?

Victims of these crashes often wonder if they can sue for these injuries after they've been hit, and the answer is usually yes. However, it can depend on your specific situation.

Typically, a couple of conditions need to be met for you to file a viable trucking accident lawsuit, including:

  • The semi-truck driver and/or other involved parties were responsible for the accident
  • You suffered serious injuries that resulted in damages

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you compile everything you need for your trucking accident claim and represent you in court (if it comes to that). Typically, trucking accident plaintiffs receive settlements. Because trucking companies like to provide lower numbers right out the gate, it's a good idea to have your lawyer handle these talks, as they can push for the best settlement offer on your behalf.

Here's when to hire a trucking accident lawyer >>

How to Know Who Is at Fault

If you are considering filing a trucking accident lawsuit, you need to be sure that you weren't at fault. If the truck driver, trucking company, or trucking parts manufacturer was at fault, you could have a case.

Some of the most common examples of trucker negligence that can cause trucking accidents include:

  • Falling asleep at the wheel
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Aggressive driving or road rage

Police officers at the scene should have documented the cause of the accident. If any of the above were factors, then your Cooney & Conway lawyer can obtain this information for your case. The truck driver could be held liable for your injuries and damages if any of type of negligence occurred.

Other Parties Potentially At Fault

Sometimes, the truck driver isn't at fault for the accident, even though they were behind the wheel. Other parties could be at fault, including the trucking company, loading company, or trucking parts manufacturer.

These parties are all responsible for following a wide variety of state and federal regulations -- including weight restrictions, trucker drive time limits, and quality control expectations for manufactured parts.

  • The Trucking Company: Many times, if a driver was falling asleep behind the wheel, there may be evidence to be found if the trucking company was forcing the driver to stay on the road longer than what is legally allowed. The trucking company could be held liable for this.

  • The Loading Company: Loading companies are responsible for ensuring the truck's safety on the road. If a loading company loads a truck incorrectly, it could cause the truck to become unstable, tip over, and cause an accident.

  • Trucking Parts Manufacturer: Suppose a truck parts manufacturer negligently sells faulty parts put into trucks that later end up in accidents, and it's discovered that the part they sold contributed to the accident. In that case, they could be held responsible.

Proving that these parties are at fault could be one of the elements of your case that your lawyer pursues. Proof of violations significantly increases your odds of winning at a trial. If multiple parties are at fault, they may share partial responsibility for the accident and be responsible for paying certain percentages of the damages.

Proving That You Sustained Serious Injuries from a Trucking Accident

If you didn't sustain serious injuries from a trucking accident or you have difficulty proving that you sustained them, then your case will likely fall flat. The types of injuries that are typically handled in these cases are those that are expensive to treat and could permanently alter your life.

Truck accident victims often deal with physical and emotional issues following their accident. These can lead to high medical bills, the inability to work, and other life-altering consequences. The law provides a way for trucking accident victims to pursue compensation for these things from the negligent parties involved in their accident.

To prove that you were involved in the trucking accident and sustained serious injuries, you'll want evidence of the crash to help build your case, including:

  • Who was involved
  • Police reports
  • Pictures of your vehicle
  • Pictures of your injuries
  • Copies of all medical bills

Taking Legal Action: What to Expect

Once you have addressed your immediate medical needs and collected relevant information, it's time to understand the legal process ahead. Taking legal action may be necessary to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. Here's what you can expect:

  1. Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer: Seeking professional guidance is crucial in navigating the complexities of a trucking accident case. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who specializes in trucking accidents. They will evaluate the details of your case, guide you through the legal process, and help you make informed decisions.
  2. Building Your Case: Your lawyer will work diligently to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and analyze the facts surrounding the accident. They will collaborate with accident reconstruction experts, if necessary, to establish liability. Your lawyer's expertise will be invaluable in ensuring that no detail goes unnoticed and that your case is strong and well-prepared.
  3. Negotiating Settlements: In many cases, a fair settlement can be reached through negotiations with the insurance company representing the at-fault party. Your lawyer will advocate for your rights and seek maximum compensation for your injuries and damages. Settlements offer a quicker resolution, sparing you from lengthy court proceedings and the associated expenses.
  4. Pursuing a Lawsuit: If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement or denies liability, your lawyer may advise you to file a lawsuit. This will initiate the formal legal process, and your case will proceed through the court system. Throughout this process, your lawyer will provide guidance, represent you in court, and work tirelessly to present a compelling case on your behalf.

Remember, the path to recovery and justice may require patience, but you are not alone. With the right support, you can seek the compensation you deserve and move forward with your life.

Settlements Are an Option

You may not need to sue to recover compensation. Your lawyer can often negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and settle the case outside of a courtroom. These settlements take less time and are less expensive, which is part of the reason they're usually the popular choice for trucking companies and trucking parts manufacturers, in particular.

If the insurance company refuses to pay a fair amount, then your lawyer will likely encourage you to file a lawsuit against those responsible for your injuries.

Whether you work towards a settlement or take a case to court, you need the help of a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer. This is crucial to recovering the compensation that you deserve. Your lawyer will help investigate your case, gather evidence, interview witnesses, negotiate with insurance companies, and handle all of the legal paperwork and negotiations on your behalf.

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