What to Do After a Truck Accident

June 7, 2024 | By Mike Hancock
What to Do After a Truck Accident
A fifth-wheel RV has overturned on the highway, with a winch truck attempting to remove it from the road.

Truck crashes are chaotic, and the aftermath can be confusing. What steps do you take right after your crash? How can you best protect yourself and your future?

A lawyer can explain exactly what to do after a truck accident. Their advice will likely include seeking medical attention for injuries, which will protect you and provide valuable documentation for your case. Your lawyer will instruct you to let them handle insurance companies and any lawsuit you file against liable parties.

Your obligation is to your health. Your doctors will tell you what to do after the accident, and that may include resting and seeing your caregivers for treatment. While you focus on those responsibilities, your truck accident attorney will pursue fair compensation for your accident-related damages.

Schedule A Free Consultation

Truck Accidents Often Cause Significant Injuries—First, Take Care of Your Health

Any traffic collision has the potential to cause life-altering injuries. However, truck accidents can be some of the most severe incidents on our roads.

A damaged container trailer parked in a parking lot of an international container yard warehouse illustrates the heavy-duty work and machinery involved in industrial systems.

Commercial trucks have a maximum weight of 80,000 pounds, which is far greater than the average passenger vehicle’s weight. This weight disparity is one reason why truck accidents are often devastating.

The force of a truck weighing 80,000 pounds (or even half that) can crush the vehicle it collides with, causing significant injuries for those inside. Even if you think you are OK after a truck accident, you owe it to yourself to:

  • Seek the care of a reputable doctor, as you may have injuries that you aren’t even aware of
  • Ask if X-rays or any other medical images are necessary based on your symptoms
  • Be upfront about any physical abnormalities you are experiencing since the accident
  • Follow up with your doctor periodically, mainly if they determine you have injuries 

Of course, your health is the most important consideration when seeking medical attention. However, seeing a doctor as soon as possible after the collision can also benefit your case because:

  • You will establish a clear connection between the accident and your health problems.
  • You will get documentation of your injuries at their worst, which will show the full extent of damages resulting from the liable parties’ negligence.
  • You prevent liable parties from claiming that you are exaggerating your injuries, as seeking medical attention is a sign that you are serious about getting help.

If you do not know a trustworthy medical provider, a truck accident attorney can help you find one. Of course, this means you must hire your attorney soon, as you should not wait one second longer than you need to before seeing a doctor.

Hiring Your Truck Accident Lawyer Must Also Be a High Priority

Those who hire truck accident lawyers receive several benefits. Should you choose to hire an attorney, you will:

  • Have the advice of a proven legal professional who has helped others overcome circumstances like yours.
  • Get the law firm’s financial support, as the contingency fee structure means the firm will cover all case-related expenses (and you’ll pay no upfront fees or costs).
  • Have more time to spend on recovery.
  • Be protected from insurers and anyone else who wants to avoid paying for your accident-related damages.

There is no time to spare once you decide to hire a lawyer (or even explore the possibility). You must retain your truck accident attorney as soon as possible because:

  • Evidence critical to your case (like witness accounts) can be highly time-sensitive
  • Most states have deadlines for filing truck accident lawsuits
  • A liable trucking company may have important evidence your lawyer needs to collect
  • Liable parties may be actively trying to undermine your case, and you will be protected as soon as you hire your lawyer

Ensuring your safety is the priority, so see your doctor. However, hiring your lawyer should also be a top priority.

What Happens If I Wait to Hire an Attorney After a Truck Accident?

Waiting to hire an attorney is one of the most common and damaging mistakes after a truck accident. If you do not hire your lawyer on time, you can:

  • Miss the filing deadline: Time can slip by after a truck accident. While most states allow truck accident victims at least a year to file a lawsuit, countless truck accident victims wait to hire a lawyer until after the filing deadline expires. This usually prevents the accident victim from pursuing fair compensation for their damages.
  • Lose important evidence: Whether it is video from a traffic camera or a trucking company’s work logs, several types of necessary evidence can become unavailable sooner rather than later. Give your lawyer the chance to secure all useful evidence by hiring them right away.
  • Unnecessarily harm your chances of securing fair compensation: Nothing good comes from waiting to hire a truck accident attorney. In fact, the financial consequences of this mistake can be steep. Give your case the best chance of success by hiring your attorney today.

Lawyers are compassionate, and they make the claims and legal processes pain-free for you. As importantly, they require no upfront compensation, so there is no reason to wait any longer before hiring an attorney.

How Can an Attorney Help Me Following the Truck Wreck?

A truck accident lawyer can take the entire fight for justice off your hands. Whether you can resolve your case with an insurance claim or you need to file a lawsuit, your attorney will fight for you until the job is done.

Your lawyer will fulfill several critical responsibilities, including:

Obtaining Evidence (Including from the Trucking Company)

One of a lawyer’s first steps is always to secure evidence of negligence. Your attorney may need to file a letter of spoliation, a legal document requiring the trucking company to preserve and present any evidence relevant to your case.

Some evidence your lawyer may secure includes:

  • Black box data from the truck involved in your accident
  • Camera footage showing the interior of the truck cab and the road
  • Traffic camera footage
  • Eyewitness accounts of the accident
  • The police report detailing the accident
  • Any other evidence that helps prove who caused the truck accident

Lawyers urgently seek evidence, knowing that the right evidence can directly contribute to a favorable case outcome.

Establishing Liability

Your lawyer will answer a key question: Whose negligence caused the truck accident to happen? Those who can be liable for a truck accident include:

  • A truck driver
  • A trucking company
  • A municipality responsible for dangerous road conditions
  • The manufacturer of any truck, car, cargo trailer, or other defective piece of equipment 

If a truck driver caused your accident, their employer (the trucking company) is likely liable for your damages. If you need to sue, the trucking company may be a defendant in your lawsuit.

Documenting Your Recoverable Damages

Important documentation of your recoverable damages may include:

  • CT scans, MRIs, X-rays, and other medical images
  • Medical bills for the care you receive following the collision
  • All of your doctors’ diagnoses of accident-related injuries and symptoms
  • Your pre-accident income statements (to show how much income you have lost since the collision)
  • Invoices for repairing your vehicle (or replacing it if it was totaled)
  • Bills for temporary transportation
  • A mental health professional’s documentation of your pain and suffering

Most lawyers have reliable relationships with experts who contribute to many of their clients’ cases. These relationships may be hugely important to your case, especially when proving non-economic damages like post-traumatic stress disorder (and other types of pain and suffering).

Calculating Your Case Value

The damages you’ve suffered from a truck accident are unlike anyone else’s. Your lawyer won’t rely on average settlement values or estimate your case value. They will assign a precise value to your damages and determine exactly how much you deserve.

Negotiating with Insurers

This scene encapsulates the global nature of logistics, where efficient coordination and planning are crucial for the seamless movement of goods across international borders.

Trucking companies (and others who may be liable for your damages) almost always have robust insurance policies. Accidents are a matter of if, not when, in the trucking industry.

Your attorney will:

  • Identify every insurance company that owes you compensation 
  • Review all insurance policies that apply to your accident-related losses
  • Identify coverage limits and other policy details that may be relevant to your claim(s)
  • Initiate settlement talks with liable insurers
  • Present your case, including proof of fault, documentation of your losses, and their calculation of settlement demands

If insurers blame you for the accident, undervalue your losses, or make any other attempts to undermine your case, your lawyer will address those attempts head-on.

Filing a Lawsuit if You Need To

Truck accident lawyers hold the trump card in settlement talks. That’s because the attorney can file a lawsuit if insurers do not offer a fair settlement.

Most civil cases don’t lead to trial, as most settle before all is said and done. However, your lawyer will discuss filing a lawsuit with you should your case come to that point.

Representing You in Court, if Necessary

If you file a lawsuit against a trucking company or another liable party, it does not automatically mean your case will go to trial. First, your lawyer will likely seek a fair settlement one more time.

If liable parties (the trucking company’s insurance company may defend its policyholder during the legal process) still refuse to pay you fairly, your lawyer will gear up for trial. A trial may require:

  • Leading depositions and completing other pre-trial obligations
  • Making verbal arguments throughout the trial, including opening and closing statements
  • Questioning both favorable and unfavorable witnesses
  • Presenting evidence, often in combination with witnesses

 As you search for a lawyer, look for one with considerable trial experience. This will ensure that you’ll be in capable hands if your case ends up in court.

Recoverable Damages Common Among Truck Accident Victims

Trucks are associated with a heightened risk of serious, potentially fatal injuries. Your lawyer will be prepared to seek a large financial recovery for you, as you may need compensation covering the following:

  • Medical costs: Every medical expense related to the accident entitles you to compensation. It includes emergency transport, emergency department care, medical imaging, hospital services, rehab services, and all other accident-related care.
  • Professional harm: Professional damages among truck accident victims can include lost income, diminished earning power, lost potential for bonuses, promotions, overtime pay, and the permanent loss of one’s ability to earn a living (if one is disabled).
  • Pain and suffering: This category of damages can include several non-economic damages such as physical pain, anxiety, lost quality of life, depression, sleep problems, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and scarring and disfigurement. 
  • Mental health treatment costs: If you need any counseling, meds, or other treatments for the psychological and emotional effects of your accident, your attorney will include those services in their settlement demands.
  • Property damage: Trucks can cause total damage to the vehicles they strike. Accident victims may often have damaged clothing, a phone, and other property requiring repair or replacement.

Truck accidents are more likely than most collisions to lead to someone’s death. If you lose a loved one from accident-related injuries, your recoverable damages may include:

  • Pain and suffering (including grief)
  • Funeral expenses
  • Burial costs
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of the decedent’s household services
  • Loss of the decedent’s financial support

Lawyers create personalized cases for every client they represent, and that personalization extends to evaluating damages. Trust an attorney to identify and accurately value all harm that has resulted from a truck accident.

Will I Need to Sue to Obtain the Compensation I Deserve?

Financial disputes or lawsuits for damages are common in the finance business and economy, driven by competition and strategic considerations.

There is a chance you will need to sue liable parties to obtain fair compensation. Trucking companies and others responsible for truck collisions may:

  • Have large insurance policies and expect their policies to cover victims’ losses
  • Have an insurance company that refuses to pay beyond insurance policy coverage limits
  • Be determined to pay you as little as possible

There are also accidents in which liable parties lack insurance; filing a lawsuit may be the victim’s only option for seeking fair compensation.

Now Is the Time to Hire Your Truck Accident Attorney

Failing to submit your case before the filing deadline elapses can be a financially devastating mistake. Allow your lawyer the time necessary to build and file your case. Search for personal injury lawyers serving your area, and start right now.

Schedule A Free Consultation

Mike Hancock


People involved in serious accidents experience loss and often don’t know what to do next. Tampa Personal Injury Attorney Mike Hancock has dedicated his career to handling the recovery process for his clients so that their lives can get back to normal.

Mike has excelled in personal injury litigation for over 30 years and even though that’s earned him numerous professional honors, what’s most important to him is meeting directly with you and his commitment to giving you peace of mind.

Author's Bio