When Should I Hire an Attorney After Being in a Truck Accident?
The Bakersfield truck accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine understand what injury victims are up against after a serious collision with a big rig. Truck accidents involve a thriving industry worth more than 80 billion dollars. These trucking companies are flush with attorneys and accident experts of their own who will work to downplay the accident in any way possible. These crashes often cause severe, life-altering injuries and death. For these reasons and more, it’s usually a good idea to seek legal counsel right away after a truck accident to ensure you and your family receive a maximum settlement.
Our firm represents injured victims and their families who have suffered due to the negligence of truck drivers and their employers or manufacturers. Our team approach ensures a comprehensive legal strategy to pursue your claim so you can focus on healing or grieving the loss of a family member.
When to Contact a Bakersfield Truck Accident Attorney
If any of the items listed below apply to your situation, it may be in your best interest to contact an attorney at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine for a free initial consultation. It costs you nothing to speak with our lawyers and we work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t owe us anything unless we achieve a positive outcome in your case.
If Your Injuries are Severe
Collisions with big-rig trailers typically lead to severe injuries that may cause permanent disability or impairment. Common truck accident injuries include:
- Head and brain injury
- Neck and back trauma
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Wrongful death
- Traumatic brain injuries
These traumas can negatively impact your quality of life, diminish your working capacity, or take you out of the workforce altogether. Permanent disability or disfigurement are unfortunately common issues for truck accident victims.
If Your Damages are Extensive
With severe injuries comes extensive bills, home modifications, and lowered quality of life. Someone who loses a limb or becomes partially paralyzed may never again experience a fulfilling life with a bright future and cannot provide for themself or their family. Damages in truck accident claims include:
- Economic Damages: These are measurable losses with an exact number, such as ongoing and future medical care, rehabilitation expenses, loss of income or earnings, property damage (including expensive items in the vehicle like electronics), home modifications for disability, and the travel to and from doctor’s visits and specialist appointments.
- Non-Economic Damages: This portion of the settlement amount involves pain and suffering and emotional distress. Many truck accident victims with catastrophic injuries experience loss of enjoyment of life due to their disfigurement or disability. For example, someone who enjoyed playing the piano and was paralyzed in a truck accident can no longer perform the activity that brought them joy.
- Punitive Damages: These are awarded in rare cases where the judge or jury feels the truck driver, carrier, or other liable party was reckless or dishonest. Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party and prevent them from causing future injuries.
A truck accident lawyer knows the full range of potential damages for injured victims and will leave no stone unturned when determining the value of your settlement.
If Liability Is Complex or Disputed
Truck accidents may have one or more people or entities at fault for the crash. The truck driver may have driven longer than legally allowed and caused the accident due to fatigue. The cargo loader may have incorrectly secured the load, or the truck manufacturer may have installed a defective vehicle part. Government contractors can even be liable for constructing a highway with a critical design flaw or failing to maintain the roadway. One or more parties may be at fault in the same accident.
Truck accident claims are complex and deal with some of the largest settlements in personal injury lawsuits, which raises the stakes for all parties involved. You need a lawyer to ensure all negligent persons are held accountable for their actions and a fair settlement amount that covers all of your damages.
If the Insurance Company Offers Less Than You Deserve
The insurance company is hired by the independent truck driver or the trucking company, and these insurance adjusters do not have your best interests in mind. They will likely offer a low settlement shortly after the crash and ask you to make a recorded statement about the accident. Both of those are bad for your claim. You don’t understand the full extent of your truck accident injury yet, or how it will impact your future earnings and quality of life.
Insurance adjusters may try to get victims to admit some degree of fault to lower the settlement amount. California follows a comparative negligence statute that reduces your awarded damages by the percentage you are at fault for the truck accident. Be wary of what you say to the insurance company and contact an attorney so they can speak to the insurance company for you and prevent harming your claim.
If Litigation is Necessary
Filing and pursuing a truck accident lawsuit is complicated and daunting. An experienced attorney understands the shady tactics trucking insurers often use to negate blame and avoid paying a higher settlement or no settlement at all. A truck accident lawyer knows experts who can reenact the accident and confirm the severity of your injuries.
The insurance company may even tell you that you don’t need an attorney and that they will take care of you, but they often delay the claims process and misstate the policy coverage or law to get you to agree to a settlement. You need a lawyer who represents your best interests. Don’t trust the truck driver’s insurer to be fair.
It’s Important to Contact a Lawyer Quickly
Larger trucking companies can have an insurance representative at the scene of the accident within a few hours. They may remove items from the truck cab or take ownership of the vehicle to prevent computer data and logs from being discovered that point blame at the driver or company. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner they can start collecting evidence and testimony and build your claim. Delaying getting a lawyer may lower your settlement amount and harm your case.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident or lost a loved one in the crash, contact the truck accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine to discuss your claim for free.
Call (661) 333-3333 to talk to our experienced attorney and learn more about truck accident lawsuits.