Accidents involving large trucks are more likely to cause injuries and deaths. This is due to the vehicle’s large size and the truck braking capability. For instance, a loaded truck-trailer takes about 20% longer to stop compared to a small car.
Determining whether the driver is at fault after a truck accident can be challenging. Additionally, dealing with the truck driver, the police, the insurance agents, and any other party involved can be overwhelming.
When you are involved in a truck accident, there are various steps you need to take. The most important step is hiring a good truck accident lawyer to help you navigate and file a claim.
A personal injury lawyer will shield you from liability, ensure your safety and maximize your potential compensation. However, finding an experienced truck accident lawyer isn’t a walk in the park.
In this article, we will give you some tips for hiring a good truck accident lawyer and also explore why you should.
Hiring a good truck accident lawyer: 4 tips
Truck accidents can be ridiculously complicated. Unfortunately, many ordinary personal injury lawyers may not have specific experience handling truck accident cases. Here are some expert tips to help you find the best attorney for your truck accident.
1. Look for specific truck accident experience
Truck accidents are a subcategory in personal injury law. However, truck accident cases are dissimilar from standard auto accidents. The mechanics and legal principles of truck accidents are complex and distinct.
The lawyer should be experienced in dealing with truck accidents. If possible, ask for proof of experience and perhaps review some past cases and success stories.
2. Proper and efficient communication
When looking for a truck accident lawyer, you want someone who guarantees proper and efficient communication throughout the case. You should be comfortable contacting your truck accident lawyer at any time whenever something comes up.
Additionally, your truck accident lawyer should constantly update you on the status of your case. For instance, if your case takes a new shape, they should always inform you in a timely manner. You want someone who keeps you updated even with the tiniest detail on your case.
Avoid lawyers who stick to legal jargon as it can confuse you. A good truck accident lawyer should be able to simplify the language for your understanding.
Furthermore, your truck accident lawyer should explain your role in the case. As much as they’ll handle almost everything, you’re the decision-maker. Therefore, before the lawyer decides anything about your case, they should inform you. Ideally, you should feel free and comfortable sharing any information affecting your case.
3. Contingency fees
You’re likely to enter into a contingency fee agreement with your truck accident lawyer. This means you won’t pay any money upfront. Instead, you’ll only pay your lawyer once you get a settlement.
The truck accident lawyer gets a certain percentage of your settlement specified in the agreement. Many lawyers will demand at least 33% of the compensation amount. The fees will be higher if the case goes to trial.
The advantage of this agreement is that if you lose the case, you won’t have to pay the truck accident lawyer.
However, it’s essential to understand the contingency fee agreement offered by your attorney before signing it. So, once you receive the agreement, go through it thoroughly and ask questions for clarification. Your attorney should not force or lure you into signing a contract that you don’t understand.
4. Get referrals
Connections can not only get you far, but also keep you on the right track. The quickest way to hire a good truck accident lawyer is to get referrals.
However, you should only get a recommendation from someone who has had first-hand experience with the lawyer. It would be a plus if the truck accident lawyer helped the individual win the case.
Why you need a good truck accident lawyer
Why go through the struggle of finding and hiring a good truck accident lawyer?
In many instances, accident cases are settled out of court. As a result, most people don’t see the need to hire a good truck accident lawyer.
Instead, they choose to negotiate with the at-fault driver/company and agree to the “small offers.” But with a good truck accident lawyer, you have better bargaining power over the other driver, the truck company, and the insurance agents.
Here are some benefits of hiring a good truck accident lawyer.
● Decide liability
A good truck accident lawyer will help decide liability in a truck accident case, which is more complicated than auto accidents. The reason is truck accidents may involve multiple parties, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the insurance company, the truck manufacturer and the truck contractor.
An expert attorney will identify the cause of the accident and all the parties accountable. Remember, insurance providers will have a legal team, and so should you.
● Gather necessary evidence
Your truck accident lawyer will investigate the scene to identify and preserve any evidence to help you win the case.
Lawyers can access essential information, including police reports and CCTV footage that you may not have access to. Then, they’ll use the information to prove liability to the other party.
● Manage all communications on your behalf
Sometimes, you may suffer severe injuries from the truck accident, preventing you from handling your case. And even if you can handle the negotiations, you don’t have the skills and expertise to do it effectively. Your truck accident lawyer is mandated to represent you in all negotiations.
They negotiate with insurance representatives and adjusters to reach a fair deal. Some insurance adjusters might use various strategies to lower your payments or deny your claim. However, experienced lawyers know these strategies and will help you get a fair deal against the insurance adjusters.
● Legal protection
While you can represent yourself in a truck accident claim, you may not understand the laws and regulations related to truck accidents and the trucking sector. Therefore, the at-fault party may use this against you, deny your claim, or offer minimal damages compensation.
An experienced truck accident lawyer will use their knowledge and expertise to protect your legal rights and apply the law in your favor.
Common types of truck accidents
It’s essential to understand the various types of truck accidents. This is also crucial for understanding and filing your personal injury claim. The most common types of truck accidents include;
- Jackknife accident. Happens when the truck driver brakes hard and quickly, forcing the cab to stop and the trailer to swing outward, forming a 90 degrees angle
- Truck rollovers. Happen when a truck rolls or slips either on its roof or side
- Rear-end collisions. Occurs when the truck hits another motorist from the back
- Wide turn accidents. Occur when the truck driver fails to use turn signals or check blind spots, swings into oncoming traffic, or turns at a difficult/tight spot
- Head-on collisions. Happen when the truck collides with another vehicle head-on
- Underride accidents. Occur when a truck stops suddenly, forcing other cars underneath the truck trailer.
- Lost load accidents. Occur when a cargo/load shifts or falls from the truck, hitting oncoming vehicles
When should you hire a truck accident lawyer?
Ideally, you should hire a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.
If you already have a lawyer, you should try to contact them immediately after the accident.
When you hire an attorney at the right time, your chances of winning the accident case are high. Compensation for truck accidents involves;
- Lost income
- Medical bills
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Vehicle repair/replacement
Final thoughts on hiring a truck accident lawyer
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, you’ll need to hire an experienced attorney to handle your case. Truck accident cases are complex and often need experienced lawyers. When looking for a good truck accident lawyer, consider their track record and contingency fees.
You want someone who guarantees proper and effective communication. Get recommendations from family or close friends, if they have first-hand experience with a lawyer. A good lawyer will gather sufficient evidence, decide liability, manage communications, and offer legal protection and advice. Additionally, you should hire an attorney as soon as possible after the accident.