A truck accident can leave victims with severe and life-threatening injuries. The medical expenses following a truck wreck can be astronomical, not to mention that the victim may be left permanently disabled or unable to return to their pre-accident job for years. As a result, the victim will likely face uncertainty and financial hardships that may be too burdensome to handle on your own. That is why it may be worth retaining the services of a truck accident lawyer who will take the reins of the legal process for you.
However, many accident victims are hesitant to hire a lawyer simply because they do not understand what their lawyer will do and how they can help.
Analyze truck driver and trucking company records
Large truck accidents often occur due to driver fatigue, overloading, or poor vehicle maintenance. A truck accident lawyer will examine the records maintained by the driver and the trucking company to establish if they were compliant with the rules and regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Part of this process will involve evaluating the driver’s employment history and driving record to determine whether they have a history of accidents or safety violations.
Build a strong case
Once your lawyer has gathered all necessary evidence and analyzed all relevant records, they can assemble a strong case for you. Your lawyer will leverage their experience to ensure you approach the negotiation process from a position of strength.
Assess your damages
When building the case, the lawyer will assess your damages to determine the appropriate compensation you are entitled to. Your lawyer will consider the extent of your injuries, the cost of your medical bills, the impact of the accident on your earning capacity and quality of life, lost income, and future medical expenses, among costs associated with the crash and the effects you have experienced so far and will experience in the long run.
Handle the paperwork for you
Seeking financial compensation involves countless complex legal procedures and a great deal of paperwork. Lawyers have the knowledge and experience needed to handle this process for you, so you don’t have to worry about any of that and can focus on your recovery. Not only will your lawyer help prepare all the paperwork and forms you need, but they will also ensure they meet all deadlines when submitting documents to the insurance company or court.
Identify all liable parties
A lawyer will work to identify all the parties who may be responsible for causing the truck accident. This may include not only the driver of the truck but also the trucking company, shippers, maintenance company, and others. By identifying all the liable parties, your attorney can pursue maximum compensation from all possible sources.
Communicate with the opposing party and their counsel
Communicating with the opposing party and their counsel includes:
- Engaging in negotiations.
- Standing up for your rights.
- Presenting your case in the most convincing manner possible.
Your lawyer will be by your side at every step of the process to ensure that you avoid making any mistakes that can derail your case by saying things that the insurance company can use against you later on.
Negotiate with insurance companies.
Insurance companies want to protect their bottom line, so they often try to settle quickly and for as little money as possible. Unfortunately, this can leave truck accident victims and their families without the compensation they truly deserve. Your lawyer will negotiate with insurance companies to ensure that you get a fair settlement covering all your losses and expenses.
Provide the appropriate legal strategy.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to handling a legal case following a truck accident. That is why you need a lawyer to carefully evaluate your case and develop a legal strategy that fits your unique circumstances and needs. Your attorney will also understand the state and federal laws that may apply to your case and can explain how to use these to your advantage.
File a lawsuit on your behalf.
If attempts to negotiate fail, your lawyer will usually prepare your case for trial. This is sometimes the only way to get the compensation you deserve, even though litigation may be time-consuming, hostile, and costly. With a skilled lawyer, you can be confident that your case is going in the right direction.
Appeal your case if necessary.
If the judge does not rule in your favor, a lawyer can appeal the court’s decision and provide you with all the guidance you need to navigate the appeals process with confidence.
Traits to Look for in a Truck Accident Lawyer
Now that you know how a lawyer can help you, you might wonder, How do I hire the right one? The quest of finding a lawyer for your truck accident case is not an easy one. And it’s not because there are not many of them. On the contrary, thousands of lawyers practice in this area of law to choose from. Finding a lawyer is difficult because you may not know what traits to focus on when searching for a lawyer. Some of the traits to look for include:
- Legal experience. Years of relevant experience is one of the first criteria to focus on when searching for a lawyer for your truck accident case. After all, you want a lawyer with the necessary experience to handle your case competently and precisely. A lawyer with experience in representing truck accident victims will know how to navigate the unique complexities involved in these cases.
- Problem-solving skills. Navigating the legal process after a truck wreck is full of legal and logistical challenges. That is why problem-solving skills are one of the most fundamental traits a truck accident lawyer can possess. A lawyer with this essential skill can think creatively to identify potential roadblocks and develop strategies to overcome them.
- Communication skills. Effective and open communication is crucial in any legal case, but even more so in truck accident cases where the stakes tend to be much higher. Your lawyer can clearly and effectively deliver their messages when communicating with you, the judge, the jury, and other parties involved.
- Integrity and openness. Ideally, the lawyer you hire for the legal process should have a strong sense of integrity and be open about all aspects of your case. They should be transparent about their fees, the potential outcomes of your case, and any challenges you may expect during the process. They should also be honest about their experience level and whether they have what it takes to reach a favorable outcome.
- Compassion. Being involved in a truck accident can be a traumatic and life-altering experience that causes physical, emotional, and financial stress. Having a lawyer with sincere compassion and empathy for what you are going through can forge a caring relationship and make the process less painful. A good lawyer will always be willing to offer emotional support because they truly understand the impact of the accident on your life.
- Confidence. A confident and assertive lawyer can present your case effectively in the courtroom and achieve more impactful results when negotiating with insurance companies and other parties. A lawyer who projects confidence can also remain calm and focused under pressure and not be intimidated by the other side.
- Availability. Truck accident cases tend to be time-consuming and require a lot of attention. That is why you need to look for a lawyer who will be available when you need them. Your lawyer should be responsive to your calls and emails and keep you updated on the status of your case. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon when a person works with a lawyer who won’t return their calls for weeks on end.
- Fee transparency. Last but not least, you should be looking for a lawyer who is transparent about their fees and payment structure. They should explain their fee structure clearly and provide you with a written contract that outlines all the costs involved in your case to avoid surprises in the long run. They should also be willing to answer any questions you have about their fees and billing practices promptly and unambiguously.
The more of these traits your lawyer possesses, the more satisfied you will be with their legal representation. Remember that the initial consultation is your chance to get to know a prospective lawyer and discover their strengths and weaknesses.
Questions to Ask a Truck Accident Lawyer During a Consultation
When you call or meet with a lawyer, you want to use every minute to spend with them efficiently. Some of the questions you should ask a truck accident lawyer during a consultation are:
What strategy will you take for my case?
The lawyer's strategy should align with the details of your truck accident case. A skilled lawyer will work with you to understand the case’s specifics, develop an actionable strategy, and alter it, if applicable, as the situation demands. When asking this question, make sure the lawyer can explain the strategy comprehensively and in simpler terms.
What damages can I claim in my case?
Asking this question ensures that your lawyer knows the possible damages you may be entitled to, knows how to calculate them, and can maximize your compensation. However, do not expect your lawyer to estimate how much your claim is worth during the very first consultation. Your lawyer may need more time to understand the facts of your case to give you a more or less accurate estimation.
How many years of legal experience do you have?
The number of years a lawyer has practiced law often indicates their experience level, though there may be rare exceptions to this rule. You should hire a personal injury lawyer with considerable experience, preferably in truck accident cases, as they are more likely to be familiar with the specific laws and regulations. As a rule of thumb, the more complex your case is, the more experienced your lawyer should be.
What is your success record with truck accident cases?
A lawyer’s success record can indicate their ability to win your case if they take it. Ensure that they have won a substantial number of truck accident cases and have a favorable settlement history proven by testimonials from past clients.
Do you suspect any trucking law violations in my situation?
Trucking law violations are often present in accidents involving large trucks. An experienced lawyer can identify and use such violations strategically to build a strong case for you and increase your odds of recovering fair compensation.
Do you offer legal representation on a contingency basis?
Attorney’s fees can be quite expensive and may become an additional burden that occupies your mind when hiring a lawyer. However, some lawyers take cases on a contingency basis, where they get paid only if you receive a favorable settlement or compensation. Ideally, you should make sure that your lawyer can provide a fee structure that suits you and that you fully understand how the billing process works.
What outcome do you expect in my case?
While no lawyer can predict the exact outcome of a case, they can estimate possible scenarios based on the details you share with them during the consultation. This will give you an idea of what you can expect and help you decide what course of action to pursue.
Will you be willing to take my case to court?
Sometimes, settling a truck accident case through negotiation may not result in a favorable outcome. In such a case, your lawyer should be willing – and have the necessary experience and resources – to litigate and prepare your case for trial to ensure you get the compensation you truly deserve.\