With large trucks accounting for 10% of the miles traveled every year, there are plenty of these vehicles on the road at any given moment of the day. You need to always be aware of the road and conditions when you drive trucks for a living. The job also requires you to know how to respond if you’re involved in an accident.
While no one ever wants to get into a truck accident, there’s always a probability, and the injuries are potentially costly. Getting medical attention is your first order of business.
Here is what you need to know about seeking medical treatment for a truck accident injury.
Get Medical Attention as Quickly as Possible
Make sure to get medical attention as quickly as possible following a semi-truck accident. This can involve getting emergency personnel called to the scene of the accident, or you might choose to visit the emergency room on your own later on.
Going to get medical help will not only preserve your health and well-being but is also an essential part of building your case. A truck accident attorney will work to recover damages for your medical injuries in a settlement or court trial.
Recognize That You May Not Immediately Feel Pain
One of the biggest mistakes that people make after a truck accident is not going to the doctor because they don’t feel pain. In many cases, people are pain-free after a wreck because the adrenaline released in the accident hasn’t worn off yet. Once it does, the pain sets in little by little.
It can sometimes take 24 to 72 hours or more for pain symptoms to show up, so go to the doctor to get checked out whether you think you’re hurt or not.
Visit an Emergency Room or Urgent Care
With such potential injuries, skip your primary care physician and go straight to the emergency room or an urgent care facility. These practices have medical professionals that can help treat any injury that you’re dealing with, and you won’t need to worry about having an appointment.
You might also be seen quicker depending on the nature of your injuries. In many cases, it’s best to have an ambulance called from the scene of the accident so that you get quicker and more consistent medical care.
Save Your Doctor’s Diagnoses and Medical Imaging
Go to the doctor as quickly as possible, and keep copies of all their diagnoses. They might also administer some medical imaging, such as MRI scans and CT imaging.
Find a team of medical professionals that you can rely on from the initial diagnosis through to tracking your recovery. This will set the tone for the medical advice you receive and the types of appointments that you’ll need to go on. Keep copies of these medical documents and images so that an attorney can help you prove your injuries and explain your condition.
Document Your Visit
Keep up with every medical appointment that you have. Record information related to the date of the appointment and which medical professional you saw.
Having this information will keep you organized while building your case. It also makes it easier to handle claims with your insurance. Keep hard copies and digital copies of all your bills and visits. Once you hire an attorney, get into the habit of forwarding documentation to your lawyer so they can archive and use them to build your case. This is particularly important in case any of the facts of the accident are called into question.
Consider the Nature of Your Injuries
The nature of your injuries will dictate a lot about how your case plays out and what sort of road to recovery you will have. Just as there are common causes of truck accidents, there are also some common injuries that people deal with.
Here are some of the most common forms of truck accident injuries that people are likely to deal with:
Chronic Pain-Related Injuries
When you’re in a large truck traveling at high speeds that collide with another vehicle, it’s only natural that the wreck might create some pain issues. Your body might start to swell up and you may deal with muscle tears and other injuries.
This chronic pain might require you to take prescription medications, visit a pain management clinic, undergo physical therapy, and other types of treatment. It’s the kind of issue that you might also need to manage long-term. People who get into truck accidents might deal with chronic pain in any part of their body.
Neck and Back Injuries
It is also typical for people to deal with neck and back injuries. The sudden stop after traveling at a high speed can lead to whiplash, neck sprains, and other types of issues. It can also damage your shoulders when these muscles are forced to overcompensate with a weakened neck.
Back injuries are also commonplace after a semi-truck wreck, particularly in the lumbar region. You might deal with a back injury due to the pressure it puts on your back following a crash.
Neck and back injuries will generally require extensive care and ongoing treatment, and might also mean that you need to get surgery or other treatments.
Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injuries
The majority of people involved in truck accidents get their bell run due to the impact. This can lead to concussion, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other forms of damage.
Certain accident attorneys specialize in brain injury cases. You’ll need the assistance of a lawyer who understands these cases because they are difficult to accurately and fully diagnose, and these injuries can take a long time to heal. These injuries will require plenty of scans and examinations to make sure that your brain injury is being treated correctly.
Breaks, Fractures, and Skeletal Injuries
When your body is jarred and shaken about at high speeds, broken bones, fractures, and other skeletal injuries are always a possibility. Not only are these injuries common, but they’re also quite painful and often take a long time to heal.
They range in severity, with some able to heal on their own without a cast and others requiring surgery, screws, and rods to set properly. There are quite a few different types of breaks and fractures that are common to truck accidents, including:
- Closed fractures – These are the simplest variety when there’s a straightforward bone break without any torn or punctured skin
- Open fractures – These are more complex fractures involving the bone poking through the skin or other organ
- Displaced fractures – The bone break creates a gap between both ends
- Oblique fractures – These are breaks at an angled pattern underneath the skin
- Communicated fractures – These are complex fractures that take place in at least three different areas of the bone
These skeletal injuries require the help of a professional that can set and monitor the course of your healing. Breaks and fractures can put you out of work for some time and hurt your quality of life.
Burns and Lacerations
Vehicles catch fire at times following a wreck. This is even more likely when you drive a truck that transports chemicals and other flammable substances.
Burn injuries require extensive care, and can cause permanent damage. These injuries vary in severity, including:
- First Degree burns – This is a type of burn that injures the outermost layer of the skin. These are the mildest of the burn injuries, and the fire creates redness, dryness, and pain, but the skin isn’t blistered
- Second Degree burns – These burns cause damage to the middle layer of the skin. It causes redness to the skin, along with swelling and blisters
- Third Degree burns – This is the most severe classification of burn injuries, which destroys the outer and middle layers of the skin. These injuries involve damage to the organs and bones underneath the skin
Dealing with burns often requires the help of medical specialists and may also involve extensive surgeries. They are sometimes life-threatening and may bring about pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
Lacerations are also quite commonplace in semi-truck accidents. They range in severity, with some being more superficial and requiring simple stitches. More severe lacerations can require severe loss of blood and surgery.
Manage Your Care and Legal Damages
Make sure you have a strategy for seeking medical treatment following a truck accident. Now that you understand the types of injuries that are likely, your strategy must be sound and straightforward.
Here are your next steps:
Follow Up With Doctors and Specialists
Once you’re hurt in a truck accident, consider every subsequent step a legal matter. You’ll need to follow up with all your doctors and specialists so that you properly heal. A semi-truck case can involve lengthy litigation. You should get your health back in order so that you have the strength and resolve to see the case to the finish.
Staying consistent with your medical treatment also helps you prove your medical case. This gives you consistent documentation which will provide the best evidence. It shows good faith and that you’re taking your injuries seriously.
This debunks any argument that the other party can make about the legitimacy of your injuries. The value of your case can change based on how your injuries heal and the medical care that this healing requires.
Attend Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
You will likely need physical therapy and rehabilitation after a truck accident. Your initial medical examinations will diagnose the medical injury and options for recovery. Some injuries will require surgery, while others can be healed with rehab.
Both routes require some physical therapy sessions to help you regain strength, mobility, flexibility, and the full range of motion. This can be an ongoing cost that you will need to account for to prove your damages and recover them.
Consider Psychological Counseling
Don’t discount the psychological toll a truck accident can take on your life. This is a type of non-economic damage that occurs when you have suffered pain and suffering following the accident.
After truck accidents, many people experience:
- Chronic depression
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Severe anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Nightmares and night terrors
- Physical pain due to stress
Seek psychological counseling and other forms of mental health treatment. This lets you get the healing that you need while also keeping track of every bit of damage.
Handle Medication and Surgical Decisions
Make sure that you are an active participant in your healing and recovery. When you hire an attorney, they will advise you to stay consistent with your care, since it helps both your health and your case.
Think about your long-term quality of life when weighing medical decisions. Don’t hesitate to get second and third opinions, and choose the best surgeons that you can find. Keep thorough records of any medical bills and other documents that you accrue.
Forward them to your lawyer to help with representing you in your case.
Truck Accident Injury 101
The tips above are useful whenever you’re dealing with a truck accident injury recovery. Nobody plans to get into an accident, but when you drive for a living, you always need to be prepared for the possibility.
The best thing that you can do is get proactive about the way you handle your medical treatment. Now that you have some guidelines on seeking medical treatment, reach out to a law firm that can assist you further.
At Sweet Lawyers Attorneys at Law, we represent clients in all sorts of vehicle accident cases. We’d be happy to hear about the details of your case.
To book a free consultation, send us a message or give us a call at 1-(800)674-7854.