What To Do After a Truck Accident
After a truck accident, one of the first things you might think about is how you will take care of your family. And, if you lost a loved one, you might also be wondering how you’ll make ends meet, especially if the loved one was the primary breadwinner in the family.
In just one year, more than 36,000 people who suffered injuries and 536 people who lost loved ones in commercial motor vehicle wrecks had to find the answers to that question. Fifty-four of those deaths happened in just three counties: Bexar County (14), Travis County (11), and Dallas County (29). Knowing what resources are available to you can help reduce the stress of wondering how to care for your family after a truck accident.
File a Truck Accident Claim
After a truck accident, notify your insurance company that you were in an accident and tell the representative that you will have your truck accident lawyer contact the company as soon as possible with details of the accident. This is the first step in getting help with the many expenses you will have, including medical costs and, if you lost a loved one, funeral and burial expenses.
Any compensation you might receive from the at-fault driver can help to pay expenses. Texas allows accident victims to seek to recover three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages, or special damages, come with a price tag attached. It doesn’t matter who paid those expenses originally, just that they stemmed from the truck accident. Economic damages may include:
- Past medical expenses. Most people include the medical expenses the accident victim accrued up to the date the parties reach a settlement or a court declares a damages award. If you lost a loved one, past medical expenses are the cost of any medical care your loved one received after the accident before they passed away.
- Future medical expenses. In addition to past medical expenses, claimants can additionally seek damages for estimated future medical expenses related to the accident.
- Physical, cognitive, and/or psychological therapy.
- Past lost wages. Claimants often include a request for any wages the accident victim lost by missing time at work due to the injuries they suffered in the accident.
- Future lost wages. In addition to past lost wages, claimants can also include a request for estimated future lost wages due to accident-related injuries. In some cases, an accident victim can no longer work in their former occupation and must take a job that pays less. In other cases, the accident victim cannot return to work at all. Past lost wages awards can help make up for the resulting reduction in household income.
- Repair or replacement of personal property. In addition to repair or replacement of a damaged vehicle, this type of damages award may also replace any other personal property that was damaged or destroyed in the accident.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
Non-economic damages, or general damages, do not have a set price tag. Non-economic damages are usually awarded if the victim suffers from long-term or permanent disabilities caused by truck accident injuries. Each insurance company has its own definition of long-term disabilities, but the Social Security Administration defines a long-term disability as one that doctors expect to last longer than 12 months or that will result in death.
Non-economic damages may include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Loss of consortium if the victim can no longer have a physical relationship with their spouse.
- Loss of companionship if the victim can no longer participate in family activities.
- Physical impairment.
- Mental and/or emotional anguish.
- Inconvenience if the victim or their family has to pay someone to do the chores the victim would normally do, including but not limited to childcare, shopping, cleaning, home maintenance, or lawn maintenance.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages. The defendant pays economic and non-economic damages in an attempt to make an accident victim and their family whole again. In some cases, a court will also order the at-fault party to pay punitive damages as a punishment for their actions or their failure to act. To receive punitive damages, a victim must prove that the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or intentional.
A Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one are suffering from long-term injuries because of a truck accident, a truck accident lawyer can provide options and resources can help provide for your family, including:
- Filing for disability.
- Applying for Medicare or Medicaid.
- Filing a claim against your own health insurance to help with some of the medical costs.
- Applying for a forgiveness program, if your hospital offers one. In some cases, hospitals will forgive a portion of your medical bills if they exceed a certain percentage of your income.
- Returning to work, even if your injuries force you to take a lower-paying job. You can still seek future lost wages as part of a truck accident claim if your new income is significantly lower than your former income.
- Applying for Social Security benefits can sometimes be a source of funds if you qualify for the disability program. If a loved one died in a truck accident, you may be eligible for survivors’ benefits.
- Contacting your loved one’s life insurance company as soon as possible after the truck accident if they passed away and had a life insurance policy.
- Filing a wrongful death claim if you lost a loved one in a truck accident.
Because trucks are so much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, accident victims often suffer from catastrophic injuries and are more likely to die in truck accidents than in other types of vehicle collisions. Both situations bring financial hardship to your door. If you were the victim of a truck accident, contact a truck accident lawyer for a free consultation.