If you or a loved one was involved in a trucking accident, you naturally feel scared and confused. What are your next steps? While every accident is unique, there are a few things you can do in order to better your chances of a successful claim: (1) Seek medical attention: Before you do anything else, make certain that you are under the care of a well-qualified doctor. Only a qualified health care provider can testify in court about the true extent of your injuries and their long-term effects. (2) Document any chronic pain: Not all injuries are obvious. Some, like soft-tissue injuries, are invisible to the eye and others can only be detected by X-rays and special testing. This makes it likely that insurance companies will deny your claim. By documenting chronic pain and swelling, you can provide written testimony about your injuries and how they affect your daily life. (3) Gather medical reports: Sometimes an 18-wheeler accident will cause an old injury to flare up again. Medical reports that document the injury will add support to your claim. In addition, recent medical reports describing your injuries are necessary to recover compensation. (4) Take pictures of the truck accident scene if possible: Pictures show the extent of the accident and injuries. They provide the necessary evidence for the insurance companies and may help determine whether driver fatigue, reckless driving, or an oversized load caused the accident. If you can, take pictures of the accident and keep them for later use. (5) Hire legal counsel: After a truck accident, you may worry about how you will recover from your injuries and pay the rising medical bills from surgery and therapy. If you lost a loved one, you may wonder how to pay for funeral expenses and how to financially survive without his or her income. By hiring an attorney, you can focus on your physical recovery while the attorney focuses on recovering compensation.