Truck Accident Lawyer: How to Find the Best Attorney For You
This is part three of our three-part series on Semi, Tracter-Trailer and Truck Accident Injuries.
A Truck Accident Lawyer’s Role on Your Behalf
Your attorney’s job is to collect all the available evidence and present your demand for compensation to the opposing side in an effort to reach an agreement on what should be considered a fair arrangement. If no agreement is possible, you may elect to have a civil trial to try to collect what your attorney believes you should receive.
You can see how a commercial truck driver, the employer, other employees, or the shipper can easily be negligent, causing or contributing to an accident. There are many possibilities for negligence to have occurred on their part. Your attorney will dig for information to prove they were at fault and liable for your damages.
If you were truly the only driver at fault, and the evidence strongly proves that, it is unethical and illegal to file a false claim. It may turn out that you need a defense attorney to protect your rights if you are charged with a DUI or ticketed for running a light or causing the accident in some other way. However, you should always seek legal counsel to get an objective professional assessment of the circumstances surrounding your accident.
The parties at fault and their insurance companies will try their best to avoid paying anything or at least reduce the amount to be paid to a bare minimum. You can be sure they will do everything they can to pay you as little as possible.
Choosing the Right Truck Accident Attorney
When evaluating and choosing an attorney, ask about their prior experiences with truck accident cases and their success rate. Ask if they normally settle out of court, or if they have been successful going to trial. Most personal injury cases are accepted on a contingency basis, meaning the attorney is accepting the risk because of confidence in winning a settlement, so you will not have to pay anything unless they win compensation for you. Their compensation will come out of your settlement or court award.
A Winning Team
You need an attorney with the knowledge and resources to properly investigate such an accident. It also means choosing an attorney who has specific experience with truck and large vehicle accidents. This is to guarantee that your best interests are served.
A highly qualified attorney will assess all the components of the accident and evaluate the potential of your claim. He or she will be able to examine your specific case and arrive at a just and fair figure for the items that apply and make a decision on how best to proceed. They should have the resources to conduct a complete investigation as well as hiring any necessary experts to investigate or analyze whatever is found. It is of little use to have all the evidence if there is not enough money to pay experts to present it to a jury.
If the law firm settles all their cases out of court, it could be a warning sign that they are just looking for the easy way out. If the attorney is not afraid to go to court, and has been successful at trial, insurance companies might consider them much more of a threat because of the potential of a large jury award and be willing to settle out of court.
A trial may seem to be the answer, but it will likely be an expensive proposition (possibly more than $100,000). It will probably take a lot of time also—taking a considerable length of time from initial preparations, to the conclusion because courts are all behind in their workload. Your attorney will present the probabilities and the expenses as well as the pros and cons to help you decide your best course of action considering the risks and rewards of a settlement versus going to court. A settlement allows you to know what you are getting and to get paid sooner, but you won’t know if you would have won more if the case had gone to trial. Pushing to trial is a decision you will need to make if a settlement is offered, and your lawyer will help you consider both options.
Negotiation is also a very important part of the process. You will need someone who is well versed in the law and can provide the best presentation of the facts that are most advantageous to you; someone who knows the best tactics to use when dealing with other professionals who are representing their clients. For instance, the more driver or vehicle violations that can be uncovered, the stronger position your attorney will have in negotiating a settlement for you.
A good attorney and his/her staff will put together your case to demonstrate what you will need to compensate you for your current and future expenses. They will investigate and analyze every possibility and project what you will need to protect your future and win what is really owed to you.
At your first consultation let them explain how they approach each case, how they understand the necessary methods of collecting evidence, where to look for it, how to analyze the records. They may tell you when court orders are needed, which would include the truck driver’s driving and medical history, how they will determine all the potential parties that could be liable, and find documentation on training, maintenance history, and records of any violations.
After the consultation, ask yourself:
- Were you treated with respect, politely and professionally?
- Did they listen to you and answer your questions as well as explain how they will handle your case?
- Did they give evidence of their successes with previous truck accident cases similar to yours?
- Did they demonstrate that they have the resources to do a thorough investigation, hire professional witnesses and stick with your case until it is settled or brought through trial?
Remember that the American justice system allows you only one chance to prove you should receive compensation. Generally, you are not allowed to retry the case a couple of years from now when it may be determined that another surgery is needed or that your health has become much worse than the experts predicted. Follow these steps to protect your rights and get the compensation you need to take care of yourself and your family until you are well again.