The screeching brakes, crumpling metal, and shattering glass of a truck accident stay with you long after the wreckage has been cleared. But in the aftermath, you’re faced with medical bills, lost wages, insurance headaches, and uncertain recovery. Should you call a truck accident lawyer? Here’s what you need to know about getting legal help after a collision with a big rig.
When to Call a Truck Accident Attorney
If you’ve been hit by a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, or other commercial motor vehicle, having an experienced truck accident attorney on your side can make all the difference. These crashes cause some of the most catastrophic injuries on the road. Even a seemingly minor collision can leave you with crushing medical debt or unable to work.
Don’t go it alone against the trucking company’s insurance or legal team. An attorney levels the playing field and fights to get you maximum compensation for your injuries, vehicle damage, lost income, and pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one suffered severe injuries in a truck wreck, speaking with a lawyer should be one of your first calls after getting medical attention. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, amputations, third and fourth-degree burns, internal organ damage, and other critical wounds require extensive, ongoing treatment.
You need an advocate who understands how much lifelong care can cost. An attorney makes sure you receive full compensation, not just what the insurer wants to pay out quickly. They’ll fight to cover all current and future medical bills, rehabilitation, assistive technologies, in-home care, and other necessities.
Even if you weren’t critically hurt, less obvious injuries can still leave you disabled and unable to work for months or longer. A skilled truck accident lawyer helps you claim lost income and benefits. If your disability is permanent, they work to maximize your settlement so you’re financially secure.
Wrongful Death Claims
Losing a loved one in a commercial truck collision is devastating. In addition to grief, families must deal with funeral costs, lost income and benefits, and other expenses. If the truck driver or company was negligent, an attorney can file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking damages on your behalf. While it can’t replace your loved one, financial compensation provides help during an incredibly difficult time.
Trucking companies and insurers don’t like to admit fault in collisions. They may try to blame you or downplay injuries to limit payouts. When the cause of the accident is disputed, an experienced truck accident lawyer conducts a thorough investigation. They utilize crash reconstruction experts, preservation of electronic evidence, witness interviews, truck data recorder details, maintenance records, driver logs, and other resources to build a strong liability case on your behalf.
After some truck crashes, insurance companies simply deny injury or damage claims altogether. They may say pre-existing conditions were at fault or that you don’t have enough evidence to connect the collision to your medical problems. A lawyer knows how to dispute these tactics. Through negotiations and litigation, they compel the insurer to honor its policies fairly.
Top Reasons to Hire a Truck Accident Attorney
Here are some of the biggest benefits of having a knowledgeable lawyer handle your truck accident claim:
Determine Fault and Liability
Who caused the collision and who should pay for damages? Answering these questions is tricky after a truck wreck, since multiple parties can share blame. Your attorney thoroughly investigates who is at fault – the truck driver, trucking company, parts manufacturer, cargo loader, maintenance crew, or others – to identify every source of liability.
Manage Insurance Claims
Dealing with insurers after a truck accident can quickly get frustrating. Multiple policies from different companies are usually involved. An attorney takes over this complicated process for you. They know how to handle dispute negotiations, document requests, claim denials, delays, poor settlement offers, and more.
Understand Trucking Laws and Regulations
The trucking industry is subject to extensive regulations around safety, training, maintenance, load weights, electronic logs, maximum drive times, and more. When violations contribute to a crash, your lawyer uses them to establish negligence. These standards help determine reasonable conduct that should have prevented your accident.
Provide Litigation Experience
Most serious truck wrecks require going to court when insurance settlements aren’t fair. Your attorney handles legal filings, gathers evidence and witnesses, takes depositions, argues before a judge and jury, examines expert testimony, and protects your interests every step of the way. Their litigation experience is critical for getting you justice.
Help Recover Damages and Maximum Compensation
Don’t accept the lowest initial payout the insurer offers. Your attorney knows what your truck accident claim is really worth. They work tirelessly to recover full compensation for all accident-related damages like medical treatment, lost wages, decreased future earning capacity, property damage, and emotional suffering.
When Should You Call a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Timing is important when it comes to contacting an attorney after a truck collision. Here are key times not to delay:
Right Away After the Crash
Calling legal help immediately establishes representation and gets the claims process started on the right foot. Your attorney can come to the scene or hospital, take photos and witness statements, preserve electronic evidence, and start building your case right away. The quicker they get involved, the better.
Before Talking to Insurance Adjusters
Don’t give a recorded statement to any insurance company before consulting an attorney. What you say can be used against you later. Polite refusals and referrals to legal counsel are best. Your lawyer handles all interactions with insurers going forward.
Don’t Wait for a Settlement Offer
Retaining counsel shows you are serious about getting maximum compensation. Insurers need to know they can’t take advantage with unreasonably low offers. Your attorney negotiates resolutely on your behalf. If a fair settlement isn’t reached, they help you pursue compensation in court.
Right After the Incident Report is Filed
Truck drivers must notify their carrier of any accident. The company or its insurer will likely reach out to you soon after. Having counsel already in place provides experienced representation from the very start of the claims process.
Before the Statute of Limitations Expires
Every state sets legal deadlines for filing truck accident injury claims and lawsuits. These range from 1-6 years typically, depending on the jurisdiction. Meeting these strict statutes of limitation is crucial. An attorney ensures your legal rights are protected or you could be barred from compensation.
Where to Find the Best Truck Accident Lawyer
Not every personal injury attorney has the right skills and experience to take on trucking companies and insurers. When researching legal help after a collision, keep the following tips in mind:
Look for Truck Accident Specialization
Handling these complex cases differs greatly from regular car crashes. Find lawyers who focus specifically on commercial truck litigation. They should have a proven record of success with major recoveries for clients.
Select Aggressive Litigators
Since most serious truck wrecks end up in court, your attorney shouldn’t be afraid to file lawsuits and argue aggressively before a judge and jury when needed. Opt for litigators who aren’t afraid to take on corporations.
Check Case Results
Ask attorneys about their past settlements and verdicts in comparable truck accident cases. Large recoveries demonstrate skill at maximizing compensation. Cross-check bigger accomplishments on verifiable legal databases like VerdictSearch.com or JuryVerdictAlert.com.
Trucking crash cases often require extensive resources like investigators, accident reconstructionists, medical experts, vocational assessors, life care planners, and more. Choose larger firms who have the funds for these costs and have won multi-million dollar recoveries.
Consult Fellow Legal Associations
State and national trial lawyer associations like the American Association for Justice keep listings of proven attorneys in various legal fields, including commercial motor vehicle accidents. These referral services help you find reputable counsel.
Interview Several Lawyers Before Deciding
It’s smart to meet with a few high-caliber attorneys before committing. This gives you a chance to compare skills, experience, case strategies, and overall compatibility so you choose the best fit. Many offer free case evaluations.
Questions to Ask a Prospective Truck Accident Lawyer
Speaking with attorneys for a case assessment helps you find one who aligns with your needs and expectations. Here are some questions to ask during a consultation:
- How much experience do you have handling truck accident cases specifically? Are they your specialty?
- What training and certifications do you have in this area of law?
- How does your legal fee structure work? Are fees contingent on winning my claim?
- Who handles most of the work, you or assistants? How available will you be?
- What’s your process for investigating truck crashes?
- What resources or experts do you utilize for accident claims and litigation?
- What’s your philosophy on settling out of court versus taking cases to trial?
- Can you share some past truck accident case results and settlements?
- What types of damages can I seek compensation for?
- How long may the claims process take to complete?
The right truck accident attorney carefully guides you through the legal process while you focus on recovery. They handle burdensome paperwork, negotiations, court appearances, and constantly push for maximum compensation. Having experienced counsel levels the playing field and gets you the settlement you deserve after a devastating truck collision.