What to Do if You are Involved in an 18-Wheeler Truck Accident in Ohio
The aftermath of a serious car or semi-truck accident stretches long into the future for those who are seriously injured. Sometimes the steps you take in the minutes and months following an accident can help you physically—and financially—for the rest of your life.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, 93 people were killed in heavy truck crashes in 2016. That number was down from 132 fatalities in 2015. As safety technology in trucks and cars becomes more effective, the number of 18-wheeler accidents will drop. Still, that is cold comfort to the people who still suffer critical injury in big rig accidents throughout Ohio.
If you are involved, or a family member is injured, in a semi truck crash in Ohio, here are some pointers from experienced personal injury attorneys to help you protect your health, and your right to sue.
- Immediately after the crash: If you suffer injury in a vehicle accident, stay calm, and stay still. Oftentimes seriously injured victims quickly exit the vehicle and may even help extricate others from dangerous wreckage before realizing they suffered real harm. If you do feel able, call 911 immediately, and help others.If there are emergency beacons or lights available, set them out to warn traffic and keep a bad accident scene from getting worse.
- At the scene: Anyone who has been in a car hit by a semi-truck, or who has an injured family member, will suffer some kind of shock. That said, if you can, take pictures of the crash scene right away. Take images of debris, license plates, the time of day, and other details of the roadway, and traffic. These pictures not only document the details of the scene, but they give a present-moment impression of what the survivors of the crash experienced.
- At the hospital or home: If you are injured, follow the advice of your physicians for the duration of your recovery. Keep an ongoing journal of your treatment and be sure to attend all your medical appointments. As you rehabilitate with physical therapy and/or keep other medical appointments, you are helping yourself recover—and building a narrative that can be used to support a later claim for personal injury.
- Get experienced legal advice: Semi-truck crashes are complex transportation accidents. In addition to driving errors possibly made by the operator of the tractor-trailer, the truck may have malfunctioned, or a poorly placed load within the trailer may have shifted—causing the center of gravity of the truck to shift and the collision to occur.These factors require immediate investigation after an accident has occurred.
Exchange information with law enforcement, collect insurance information from other parties, and obtain contact information from witnesses to the crash. As you speak with others, do not offer your theory on what you believe happened. Even if you think you may have caused the crash, do not offer that information to anyone, including law enforcement.
Because of the severity of injuries associated with big rig accidents, trucking companies quickly send investigators to the scene to collect physical, photographic, and digital evidence to protect them from legal claims. If you are injured because of the negligence of a truck operator or trucking company, you need access to the same evidence.
As soon after your crash as possible, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who will rapidly gather the evidence needed to support a legal case on your behalf. Because evidence, skid marks, and memory disappear quickly, getting legal support up front builds your case and ensures your claim is filed within the statute of limitations.
No one expects to be involved in a terrible accident, but a reputable injury attorney can help you with what lies ahead. If you or a loved one is injured in a serious truck accident, seek experienced legal advice.
Skilled truck accident law firm in Ross and Pike County
Serving Southern Ohio from offices in Waverly and Chillicothe, the attorneys at Seif & McNamee, LLC have 25 years of experience pursuing maximum compensation for Ohio clients injured through the negligence of others. If you or a loved one suffers injury in a motor vehicle accident, contact us or call 740.835.4882 today.