Truck accidents can leave victims and families struggling to cope with substantial losses. While victims and families can recover these losses in many cases, doing so requires prompt action. If you have recently been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident in Ohio, here are 10 steps you should take to protect your legal rights:
1. Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer
One of the first steps you should take after any serious accident is to contact a lawyer for help. After a serious or fatal collision, there are many important ways an experienced truck accident lawyer can help you. For example, when we represent truck accident victims and their families, some of our first priorities include:
- Making sure our clients know everything they need to do
- Making sure our clients know what mistakes they need to avoid
- Sending an investigator to the scene of the accident
- Identifying eye-witnesses and other potential sources of information
- Collecting as much evidence as we can as quickly as possible
Along with taking these steps, we also work quickly to identify the company (or companies) that are responsible for our clients’ losses. This allows us to file our clients’ claims promptly, and then we use the available evidence to seek just compensation on our clients’ behalf.
2. Document the Accident as Thoroughly as Possible
While your lawyer will conduct an investigation and collect as much information as possible, it can be helpful for you to try to document the accident as well (assuming you are capable of doing so). For example, you should take (and keep) plenty of photos and videos, and it is a good idea to write down everything you can remember about the accident before the details start to get fuzzy.
3. Take Care of Your Medical Needs
Whether you were injured in a truck accident or you are coping with the loss of a loved one, you should take care of your medical needs. Seek treatment for your physical and psychological trauma—making sure to explain to your doctor why you are in need of medical care. When you have a truck accident claim, your medical records are a key form of evidence as well; and, if you don’t get the treatment you need, the insurance companies will try to use this against you.
4. Contact Your Insurance Company
Even if the truck driver, the trucking company or another third party is liable for the accident, you will need to report the accident to your insurance company. This will preserve your rights under your policy; and if you have medical payments (MedPay) coverage, you may want to take advantage of this coverage while your truck accident case is pending. Your lawyer can help you decide if this is a good option based on your individual circumstances.
5. Contact Your Employer
If you need to miss work as a result of the accident, you should contact your employer sooner rather than later. If you aren’t sure what to say, or if you are concerned about losing your job, your lawyer can help with this as well. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects truck accident victims’ and their family members’ jobs in many cases, and many workers in Ohio are entitled to other protections under state or federal law.
6. Start a File
To keep track of your insurance, medical and employment records, it is a good idea to start a file. Keep all of your accident-related records together in a safe place. For emails, either create a folder in your inbox or print your emails and add the paper copies to your file.
7. Start a Journal
In addition to starting a file, you should start a journal as well. The purpose of keeping a journal after a truck accident is to document all of the accident’s day-to-day consequences. This includes (but is not limited to) consequences such as:
- Doctor’s appointments
- Missed days (or hours) from work
- Missed family and social events
- Daily pain levels
- Flashbacks and other post-traumatic effects
You should try to get into the habit of writing in your journal daily; and, the more details you can record, the better. You can keep your journal in any format you choose—whether a notebook, a file on your computer or a note on your phone.
8. Follow Your Doctor’s and Lawyer’s Advice
As you move forward, it will be important for you to keep following your doctor’s and lawyer’s advice. Attend your appointments as scheduled, rest, go to therapy, respond to texts and emails, and do everything you can to help make sure your recovery is as swift and complete as possible.
9. Work with Your Lawyer to Calculate Your Losses
When you have a truck accident claim in Ohio, the amount you are entitled to recover is based entirely on your (or your family’s) losses. There is no “standard” settlement amount, and you cannot expect the insurance companies to accurately calculate how much they owe. Your lawyer will use his or her experience to calculate your (or your family’s) losses for you, but you will need to play an active role in this process.
10. Prioritize Your Long-Term Health and Financial Stability
Finally, and in many respects most importantly, you need to prioritize your long-term health and financial stability. Filing a successful truck accident claim takes time, and it is important to give your lawyer the time he or she needs to successfully pursue just compensation. If you are struggling financially, you have options available, and your lawyer can help you explore these options so you don’t feel pressured to settle your claim too soon.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation about Your Truck Accident Case in Ohio
Do you need to know more about what to do after a truck accident in Ohio? If so, we strongly encourage you to speak with one of our lawyers in confidence. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Malek & Malek Law Firm, call 888-444-7440 or tell us how we can contact you online now.