Semi-truck accidents are different from other motor vehicle collisions. While it’s usually advisable to talk to a lawyer after any kind of accident, doing so is absolutely imperative if your accident involves a large commercial vehicle.
Filing a claim for a semi-truck injury means facing off against one or more corporate entities, which have a great deal of legal experience, not to mention financial resources that you cannot begin to match on your own.
In short, you need a personal injury lawyer after a semi-truck accident because, without an attorney, you’re sparring on uneven ground. An attorney can represent your interests and protect you at every turn, fighting to recover the full financial compensation you deserve.
Below, we take a closer look at several specific reasons why hiring a personal injury lawyer after a semi-truck accident is in your best interest.
1. Truck Carriers & Insurance Companies Are Aggressive and Working Against You
Trucking companies and insurance companies have at least one thing in common: they are primarily interested in their own financial protection.
After a semi-truck accident, even if the trucking company is clearly at fault, you should expect both the company and its insurance provider to do everything they can to reduce your financial recovery. Indeed, they may even attempt to deny your claim.
At the outset, you should understand that these companies do not owe you the same kind of legal duty that your lawyer would owe you.
Trucking companies have a duty to carefully hire and train drivers, to create reasonable schedules for their drivers, to safely maintain their truck fleets, and to obey the rules of the road, among other duties.
Insurance companies, meanwhile, have a duty to honor the terms of their insurance policies and to handle injury claims in good faith (though some insurance companies are notorious for mishandling claims or unfairly denying them without justification).
But neither of these parties has a duty to represent your legal interests the way your attorney would. Accordingly, you should anticipate that both companies will work hard to protect their profits. They may resort to unfair but oft-effective tactics for skirting their liability. An attorney can help you guard against those tactics — and to avoid the mistakes insurers hope you’ll make (more on those under Reason #4 below).
2. Truck Accident Law Is Complex
While there are general personal injury rules and traffic laws that apply to everyone on the road, there are also special rules and laws that pertain specifically to the commercial trucking industry. These rules exist at both the state and federal level, and they are extremely complex.
It is precisely because semi-truck accidents are so common and so dangerous — and because truck carrier companies have historically been notorious for flouting safety — that Congress created strict federal regulations for their industry.
Regulations apply to the manufacture of the trucks, their daily operation, their ongoing maintenance, and the way they must be driven, among other things.
Semi-truck drivers must have a special kind of driver’s license, for example. They’re also only allowed to spend so many hours on the road before pulling over and getting adequate rest. These Hours of Service regulations are especially important because drowsy driving has consistently ranked as one of the top causes of serious semi-truck accidents in the United States.
In semi-truck accidents in California, it is frequently the case that either the driver, the truck carrier company, or the truck manufacturer were in violation of one or more regulations. You may not even be aware of the relevant laws, but they can have a decisive impact on your claim and your potential for financial recovery. A Bakersfield truck accident lawyer can help you determine which laws might pertain to your case and how they would apply.
3. Evidence Matters
Because semi-truck injury claims tend to involve large financial damages and significant opposition from the other side, not to mention a complex body of law (as outlined above), evidence becomes especially critical to reaching a resolution.
At The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we have coordinated a comprehensive truck accident investigation in the majority of these cases. As part of that investigation, we typically look for the following kinds of evidence:
- Expert reconstruction of the accident scene
- Witness accounts
- Video footage from the surrounding area
- Road plans / designs from the city, county, or relevant jurisdiction
- The truck driver’s employment history, qualifications & license status
- The truck driver’s driving history, including mandatory driving logs
- The truck driver’s assigned route and schedule
- The truck company’s insurance policy information
- The truck company’s knowledge of relevant problems or safety concerns, if any
- The truck’s ECM data (Electronic Control Module, similar to an airplane’s black box)
- Medical records
- Vehicle property damage evidence
- Other relevant evidence
4. On Your Own, It’s Easy to Make Critical Errors
Claims adjustors are trained in the art of misguiding accident victims and their families. Following their typical playbook, they will hope to lead you into making contradictory or self-defeating statements (accidental admissions of fault, for example). They may pressure you into giving a recorded statement without a lawyer or answering leading questions.
Even if your claim is 100% legitimate and you have no intention of answering dishonestly, it’s easy to misword something or get caught off guard — especially when under pressure.
It isn’t just your statements you need to worry about. Your daily activities, including online activity, can also be used against you.
There are complex procedural requirements and deadlines to be mindful of, too.
An experienced Bakersfield truck accident lawyer can help you steer clear of critical errors while also handling every aspect of your claim, ensuring your rights aren’t affected by a slip-up.
5. Having an Experienced Advocate in Your Corner Brings Peace of Mind
In life, the wisest choices are informed by insight and strategy.
By hiring a personal injury lawyer after a semi-truck accident, you tap into years of experience and perspective. You team up with someone who understands how these matters work and how to handle them.
Knowing you have a professional advocate in your corner can bring tremendous peace of mind during a time when you really need it.
The right legal team will handle every aspect of your case, shouldering that burden so that you can focus on the road ahead.
6. At The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, We Will Fight to Maximize Your Compensation (with No Upfront Cost to You)
Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle carrier companies or insurance corporations on your own. Don’t settle for less money than you deserve. Let us fight to maximize your compensation while holding negligent companies and careless truck drivers accountable for the harm they cause.
To learn more about your rights and options after a semi-truck accident in California, call our office and schedule a free, no-obligation case review.
We will never charge a fee for our services unless we get you money first. The initial consultation is absolutely free. Call 661-333-3333 in Bakersfield or contact us online right away.