You might have a legal claim to recover compensation if you got hurt in a truck accident someone else caused. But pursuing a case against big trucking companies and their insurers can be daunting.
These powerful businesses have teams of adjusters and lawyers available to deny your claim or minimize the compensation package they offer you. Hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer can help you level the playing field so you can stand up to the liable parties and demand the financial accountability and justice you deserve.
Legal representation can provide numerous benefits as you pursue your truck accident claim, including a thorough investigation of the accident, experienced preparation of legal arguments in support of your case, and the protection of your rights during negotiations and at trial. Keep reading to learn more about how legal counsel can help you recover from severe injuries and property damage and why you need a truck accident lawyer.
7 Ways a Truck Accident Lawyer Help You With Your Claim?
One of the primary ways a lawyer can help after a truck accident is by handling the legal aspects of your case on your behalf. While you focus on treating and rehabilitating the injuries you suffered in a truck crash, a truck accident lawyer can prepare and pursue legal claims to recover compensation.
Perhaps most importantly, an experienced attorney will know how to evaluate the total value of your case and fight for the full amount the at-fault party owes you. Some of the aspects of your legal case that a truck accident lawyer can help with include:
1. Investigating the Accident
The success of your truck accident claim depends on securing evidence to prove who caused the crash and your injuries. A lawyer will know what kinds of evidence can help establish liability in your truck accident claim. This evidence can include documentation from the trucking company, such as truck driver hours-of-service logs, the truck’s event data recorder (or black box), or the cargo or freight manifest.
A lawyer will know how to file requests to preserve evidence for collection before it becomes deleted or lost, including business records, onboard electronic data, and surveillance and traffic camera footage. An attorney will also have experience reviewing more complex evidence like police crash reports.
2. Explaining Your Legal Options to You
While it might seem clear that the truck driver caused the accident that injured you, they might not be the only person you could hold liable for your losses. A lawyer can review your case and explain your legal options, including filing insurance claims or pursuing lawsuits against liable parties.
Your attorney can clarify the steps in the claims process to prepare you for what to expect at each stage. Furthermore, your lawyer can determine all possible sources of compensation in cases where several parties share liability.
3. Documenting Your Injuries and Losses
You have only one chance to recover compensation from the party or parties at fault for the truck accident or liable for your injuries and losses. Once you settle your case or obtain a judgment in court, you cannot demand more compensation from responsible parties in the future.
A truck accident lawyer can thoroughly document your injuries and expenses and work with your treating medical providers to determine what future costs and losses you may incur due to additional medical care or long-term disabilities or impairments.
4. Collaborating With Experts
Many truck accident claims require supporting expert testimony, including opinion testimony from accident reconstruction, automotive engineering, trucking industry, medical, vocational, and financial experts. An experienced truck accident attorney will have connections with prominent expert witnesses in their respective fields and can bring them in as necessary to bolster the strength of your case.
5. Dealing With the Trucking and Insurance Companies on Your Behalf
You deserve to focus your time and energy on your medical treatment and rehabilitation after a truck accident. You likely face other challenges as well, including repairing or replacing your damaged vehicle so you can continue to get to work and run errands. A truck accident attorney can take the stress of dealing with the at-fault trucking companies and their insurers off your shoulders.
By handling communications and settlement negotiations with company representatives and insurers, your truck accident lawyer can protect you from falling victim to the tactics that insurance companies use to trick claimants into accepting fault or downplaying their injuries.
6. Filing Your Claims
A truck accident lawyer can file demand letters with the trucking and insurance companies to put them on notice of your claim. Your lawyer can also prepare and file a lawsuit to continue pursuing your rights to financial recovery and ensure you file all claims and paperwork correctly and promptly.
7. Advocating for You in Court
Pursuing litigation or going to trial might become necessary to demand the compensation you deserve from the parties at fault for the truck accident. An experienced litigator can effectively argue in favor of your rights to compensation throughout the trial court process, including persuasively advocating your case to the jury or judge.
What Makes Truck Accident Cases More Complicated Than Other Motor Vehicle Crashes
Truck accident victims often find that recovering compensation is a complex process. This can prove surprising even for someone previously involved in another motor vehicle crash. Here are some of the factors that make truck accident claims more complicated than other auto accident cases.
Truck Accidents Cause More Serious Injuries
The sheer mass of an 18-wheeler will impart greater force in a collision with another vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian, compared to a collision with a smaller passenger car. This greater force often causes severe injuries for truck accident victims. A truck crash victim who suffers catastrophic or life-threatening injuries will need more intensive and expensive medical care and rehabilitation.
As a result, they will need more significant compensation to offset these costs. However, insurers often balk at paying out such large claims, as they cut deeper into their bottom lines. Settlement negotiations can also become more complex if a truck accident victim has not finished their treatment or rehabilitation or will likely need future treatment, because any financial recovery will need to include estimated future expenses and losses.
Truck Accident Cases Can Involve More Evidence
Determining the cause of a truck accident requires careful review of numerous pieces of evidence and documentation, often more evidence than those involved in other auto accident cases.
Truck accident claim evidence can include:
- The truck driver’s hours-of-service logs
- The truck driver’s driving and employment records
- The truck driver’s post-accident alcohol/drug screen results
- The truck driver’s cell phone records and data logs
- The truck’s event data recorder/black box logs
- The trucking company’s dispatch records
- The cargo/load manifest
- Truck/trailer inspection and maintenance records
- Post-crash vehicle inspection reports
- Surveillance or traffic camera or dashcam footage
- Eyewitness testimony
- Police crash reports
- Trucking company incident reports
Truck Accidents Can Injure More Victims
Resolving a truck accident can become complicated if the crash causes severe injuries to multiple people. Fully compensating each injured victim may become difficult, if not impossible, if the liable parties exhaust their insurance coverage and financial resources in paying truck accident claims. Alternately, responsible parties may want to reach a global settlement with all victims simultaneously rather than resolving each claim separately.
Truck Accidents May Have Multiple Liable Parties
Settling or pursuing litigation against multiple liable parties after a truck accident can complicate the process, because each party likely wants to shift as much blame for the claimant’s injuries and losses off themselves and onto another liable party. This may force an accident victim to wait for a resolution of their truck accident claim as responsible parties fight among themselves over their respective shares of financial responsibility.
Trucking Companies Have Complex Corporate and Insurance Structures
Many trucking companies use complex corporate structures to obscure which entity or entities can be liable for a truck accident. Big trucking companies also use layered insurance coverage, in which an insurance policy’s coverage only triggers after the exhaustion of preceding insurance policies. This can make it difficult to determine the total financial resources available to compensate you for your truck accident claim.
Dealing With the Insurance Company After a Truck Accident
An adjuster from the trucking company’s insurer may contact you soon after the truck accident, asking questions about how you feel or requesting a written or recorded statement about the accident.
While this outreach may seem above board, the adjuster wants to obtain evidence or statements from you that the insurance company can use to deny or minimize your claim. However, you can decline to answer questions from the insurance company and have the adjuster direct any communication or correspondence to your truck accident lawyer instead.
A truck accident lawyer will have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies, including the tricks and tactics they use to fight injury claims. Your lawyer can protect your rights and interests by taking care of all communications and negotiations with the insurance companies, freeing you to focus on your physical and emotional recovery.
The Statute of Limitations on Truck Accident Claims
Working with a truck accident lawyer can help you pursue your legal claims promptly. Each state provides a statute of limitations in jury claims establishing a deadline for filing suit. For example, California’s statute of limitations requires you to file your personal injury lawsuit within two years of your injury in a truck crash. Under certain circumstances, you may have more time to file your case.
But if you file suit after the statute of limitations expires on your truck accident claim, the trial court may permanently dismiss your claims against the truck driver, trucking companies, and other liable parties. A truck accident attorney can review your case’s details and advise you when you need to file a lawsuit to timely pursue your claims.
Financial Recovery After a Truck Accident
A truck accident lawyer can also help you maximize your financial compensation after a truck accident. Trucking companies and insurers want to pay you as little as possible for your injuries and property damage. Too often, accident victims agree to paltry settlements out of the wrongful assumption that they can’t do any better.
A lawyer can stop you from making this mistake by advocating for the full financial recovery, including compensation for future expenses and losses you may incur after you resolve your case.
Compensation in a truck accident claim can provide you with financial recovery for your:
- Vehicle repair expenses or costs of repairing or replacing other damaged property
- Reimbursement of the value of your vehicle if the truck crash destroyed it
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses to treat and recover from injuries you suffered in the accident
- Long-term costs you incur due to care needed for permanent disabilities, such as home health services or housekeeping services
- Loss of wages or income after missing time from work or experiencing reduced earnings during your recovery from your injuries
- Loss of future earning ability and employment benefits due to permanent impairment preventing your return to your job or other employment
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life
How Much Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Cost?
Truck accident victims may put off hiring a lawyer due to worries over the expense of engaging legal counsel. However, most truck accident lawyers represent injured victims on a contingency fee basis.
A claimant does not pay any money upfront to hire an attorney in a contingency fee arrangement. Instead, the attorney gets paid only if they secure compensation for their client in a settlement or by winning the client’s case at trial. The attorney receives a percentage of the total compensation they recover as their legal fee, plus potentially receiving reimbursement for certain expenses in the case the attorney paid, such as court filing fees and expert witness fees.
A contingency fee arrangement allows truck accident victims to obtain the legal representation they need without worrying about paying legal costs throughout the case. Still, you should ask prospective attorneys how they structure their fees before you hire them.
So, When do I need to hire a truck accident attorney? Don’t hesitate, call our office and speak with a legal professional about the specifics of your case, or feel free to fill out our online form below to schedule a consultation.