After a truck accident, your personal safety should be your top priority. While may you feel fine immediately after a wreck, it is not uncommon for people to experience increasing pain and symptoms days later. Unfortunately, delaying treatment can negatively impact your personal injury claims.
In this article, Phelan Petty’s truck wreck lawyers discuss the importance of prompt medical treatment and how the right medical records and strengthen your injury claims.
Why Are Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
Today, an 18-wheeler can weigh 80,000 pounds. Due to their size and mass, big trucks have wide turning radiuses and long stopping distances. Even if they are not carrying hazardous cargo, a collision with a semi-truck can result in catastrophic injuries. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), big trucks were involved in 107,000 injury crashes and 4,657 fatal crashes in 2017. That year, 68% of those who died were in a passenger car at the time of the wreck.
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Seek Medical Care Immediately After a Truck Wreck
After a truck wreck, your body is pumping with adrenaline, and you may think you walked away with minor bumps and bruises. Unfortunately, those aches and pains may be early signs of a more serious injury, like a TBI (traumatic brain injury), internal bleeding, or a herniated disc.
If you are in any discomfort after a semi-truck crash, you should see a doctor. Do not try to walk it off. These injuries can have a long-term impact on your quality of life if left unattended.
Prompt medical care can also strengthen your personal injury claims. At every appointment, you should honestly discuss:
- The cause of your injuries
- Your current symptoms
- Any limitations you are experiencing in your daily life
- Side effects from your medications or treatment plan
Your medical providers will document your statements, their clinical findings, and assign work restrictions and a treatment plan.
Insurance companies and judges value medical records, especially those created immediately after an accident. If your medical records are consistent and corroborate your claims, you will be a much stronger negotiating position during your injury claim.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
It is also essential to follow through with your doctor’s directions and plan for healing. First, consistent medical treatment can help you recover and regain function. While it is tempting to push yourself or skip an occasional doctor’s appointment, these choices can lead to reinjury, delayed diagnosis, and poorer health outcomes.
Second, the insurance adjuster may use your noncompliance as an excuse to reduce your compensation or deny your claim. If you opt against treatment or surveillance shows that you are doing more than you claim, the insurance company will try to damage your credibility with this information.
If you cannot make a doctor’s appointment or afford treatment, be open and honest with your doctors and lawyers. They may be able to help you find more affordable options that keep you on the right path.
Avoid Gaps in Treatment
Sometimes, you cannot avoid gaps in your medical care. Not everyone immediately realizes they are injured, and some symptoms may not manifest for days or even weeks. Other times, you may have to cancel an appointment due to illness, family needs, or other challenges. However, you should keep these delays and gaps to a minimum.
Insurance companies will notice unusual gaps in treatment, such as when you do not go back to your doctor for several weeks or months. They may argue that your injury is not as severe as it seems or that you are exaggerating your symptoms.
Inform your doctor and lawyer of any gaps in treatment as soon as possible so that the cause and length of time missed can be accurately recorded. Having a detailed account of the reasons for gaps in medical care will make it less likely that they impact or weaken your claim.
Phelan Petty: Fighting for Virginia’s Truck Wreck Victims
The most important thing immediately following a truck accident is to make sure you receive medical care for your injuries. However, once you are safe, consider calling the team at Phelan Petty.
Our team understands the complexities of a truck accident claim, and we have built a reputation for our sophisticated and cutting-edge approach. If you have questions about your legal options, please contact us today. You can reach us at 804-980-7100 or complete our online form to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Fatality facts 2017: Large trucks. (2018, December). Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Retrieved from https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/large-trucks
Large truck and bus crash facts 2017. (2019, May 6.) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2017
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.