Experiencing a truck accident can change your life and circumstances. It can leave you facing severe physical injuries, financial problems, and much uncertainty about the future. Knowing what to ask a truck accident lawyer is important.
Truck accident lawyers understand this. An attorney can provide the highest quality legal representation to pursue compensation while doing so with the kindness and compassion you need during a tough time.
Continue reading to better understand truck accidents and potential questions you can consider asking your Charleston truck accident lawyer.
Understanding Truck Accidents
If you’ve been in a truck accident, feeling stressed, confused, and unsure of what to do is common.
After a truck accident, you should always seek legal guidance. However, before doing so, it’s helpful to understand truck accidents and what makes these cases unique.
Truck Accident Cases are Often More Complicated than Car Accident Cases
Many go into truck accident cases with the false impression that they are similar to car accident cases. While it might seem like the two share similarities, they are more different than they are alike.
Truck Accident Victims Typically Require Higher Compensation
Simply by looking at a semi-truck, it’s easy to imagine how much damage one can cause in the event of an accident. Because of their size and weight, Trucks can cause much more injury and damage than regular vehicles.
The more significant the injuries, the more medical treatment a victim needs. This means higher bills and an extensive financial burden for the victim, requiring more compensation.
Dealing with Insurance Companies is More Challenging
Dealing with insurance companies is seldom easy. Insurers commonly utilize different tactics to limit their liability, deny claims, or avoid paying victims what their case is worth. It’s no different for trucking insurance companies.
However, trucks require more insurance coverage, leaving insurance companies with more to lose after an accident. While some car insurance minimums.
Truck Accident Cases Involve Several Complexities
The trucking industry is highly regulated. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides rules and regulations for those involved in the trucking industry. Regulations cover everything from how many hours a truck driver is allowed to work to details regarding logbooks and everything in between.
These rules can add complexity to truck accident cases, making them slightly more difficult to manage.
Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can occur for many different reasons. Some of the causes of truck accidents are beyond a truck driver’s control.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Brake issues
- Mechanical problems or failure
- Improper cargo loading
- Impaired driving
- Driver fatigue
- Lack of driver training
- Negligent hiring
- Improper vehicle maintenance
- Unrealistic arrival times for drivers
In some cases, there can also be more than one cause of a truck accident. Your truck accident attorney can investigate your accident to determine what truly caused your accident.
Liability for Truck Collisions
Liability is one of the complexities of a truck accident case. In most car accident cases, the other driver’s negligence is the main cause of the accident. In truck accident cases, liability is often not as straightforward.
Potentially liable parties for truck accident cases include:
- Truck drivers
- Trucking companies
- Truck owners
- Truck and truck part manufacturers
- Parties responsible for truck maintenance
- Parties responsible for loading the cargo
While truck accident cases can involve intentional actions, they often arise from negligence. To prove a party is liable for the accident, you’d have to take steps to establish they were negligent.
Proving negligence requires satisfying the following elements:
- The party owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty of care
- The breach caused your accident
- You suffered injuries and other losses
Determining liability is one of the most critical parts of a truck accident case. Without establishing liability, you’re unable to recover financially for your injuries. Fortunately, a truck accident attorney has the skills to figure out who caused your accident and collect supporting evidence to establish negligence sufficiently.
Available Compensation for a Truck Accident Claims
Compensatory damages compensate you for the losses you’re bound to face after a truck accident. Recovering damages can help relieve some of the financial stress.
Economic damages are those related to monetary losses resulting from your accident.
Some examples of economic damages include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Loss of earnings
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
Non-economic damages refer to the intangible losses that often result from a semi-truck accident.
Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent impairment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Punitive damages may also be available for your case. A judge might grant these damages if the liable party’s actions were intentional, malicious, or reckless rather than negligent. The purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate but rather to punish the responsible party.
Calculating the value of your case is critical to ensure you’re pursuing the right amount of compensation for your losses. A truck accident lawyer can weigh several factors and details to come up with the right figure and work tirelessly to get you the recovery you deserve.
Filing a Lawsuit After a Truck Accident
After a truck accident, you’ll likely consider pursuing compensation for your losses and injuries. You may have the opportunity to get financial recovery through settlement negotiations with the insurance company, but in many cases, you’ll need to file a lawsuit.
If you suffer injuries in a truck accident, your truck accident will likely start by investigating your case and determining the value of your losses. Then, they can send the insurance company a demand letter asking for an exact amount. The insurance company can either respond to the letter and begin negotiations, settle for the amount detailed, or refuse to settle.
If the insurance company is unwilling to settle or engage in negotiations, your truck accident lawyer can proceed with filing a personal injury lawsuit. Aside from pursuing compensation, a personal injury lawsuit allows you to seek justice for the liable party’s wrongdoings.
Your truck accident attorney will handle your lawsuit, managing all necessary tasks from beginning to end. In most cases, personal injury lawsuits settle before they ever go to trial. However, if your lawyer finds it necessary, your case may go to trial, where your attorney will represent your best interests and seek a favorable judgment.
How a Truck Accident Attorney Handles Your Case
Truck accident lawyers are well-versed in the laws and procedures associated with truck accident cases. They have what it takes to properly handle your claim and seek justice and compensation on your behalf.
Among the many tasks your personal injury lawyer handles throughout your claim, you can expect your attorney to:
- Investigate your accident
- Obtain important evidence
- Determine liability
- Calculate the value of your case
- Build your case
- File your lawsuit
- Communicate with the insurance company
- Handle settlement negotiations
- Represent you at trial, if necessary
You can feel confident knowing you have a lawyer on your side representing your best interests at all times. When you have a truck accident attorney providing quality legal representation, you can have peace of mind knowing your case is in capable hands.
Finding a Truck Accident Lawyer
When you’re ready to hire a truck accident lawyer, you may be apprehensive and unsure of how to find the best one for you.
You can start by asking trusted family and friends for recommendations. It’s helpful to hear about someone’s personal experience with a lawyer, as this can help you decide whether they may be right for you, too.
An internet search can also yield results. You can use keywords such as “truck accident attorney near me” or “truck accident lawyer in [your city]” to help you locate attorneys and view their websites.
Finally, you can rely on a lawyer referral service. There are attorney referral websites you can find with a quick search, but state bars also have their own services you can utilize on the phone or through their website.
Finding the right truck accident lawyer for you can make you feel more comfortable and optimistic about the future of your case.
What to Ask a Truck Accident Lawyer
If you’ve never needed or worked with an attorney, it’s likely you don’t know what to ask or what concerns you should address.
Luckily, during your initial consultation with a truck accident lawyer, you’ll have the opportunity to sit down with the attorney and ask questions. Attorneys are happy to answer your questions and concerns, as this allows you to get to know them, the potential future for your case, and what you can expect.
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions you may consider asking your lawyer. It’s particularly helpful to go into your first meeting prepared with information about your case and questions you’d like to ask.
Questions Regarding Their Background and Experience
You’ll likely be working with your truck accident lawyer for some time. Therefore, knowing about them, their background, and who they are is beneficial.
Potential questions to ask can include:
- How long have you been an attorney?
- What drew you to being a lawyer?
- How many years have you been handling truck accident cases?
- What is your educational background?
- What are some of your recent successes?
- How do you handle truck accident cases?
Questions Regarding How Your Lawyer Works
Every attorney is different. Asking questions regarding how your lawyer handles cases and what you can expect from working with them, and their firm can ease some of your concerns.
Questions to ask can include:
- Will you be handling my case yourself? If not, what attorney will be?
- What is the best way to communicate with you?
- What is your policy regarding a timeframe for answering emails and returning phone calls?
- Can I expect regular updates regarding the status of my case?
- How involved do you like your clients to be?
- Is there a staff member that I can also communicate with within your office?
- What kind of tactics do you use for truck accident cases?
Questions Regarding Your Truck Accident Case
You may be curious to ask more specific questions regarding your situation.
Questions to ask may include:
- Have you handled a case like mine in the past? If so, what were the outcomes?
- What are your initial thoughts regarding my situation?
- Do you see any problems or difficulties with my case?
- What do you think my case may be worth?
- Do you think there’s a likelihood my case will go to trial?
- Is there anything I can do to help build or strengthen my case?
Questions Regarding Legal Fees and Settlements
Knowing what to expect regarding legal fees and your future settlement can ease your mind.
These questions can include:
- What do you charge for your services?
- Do you work on a contingency fee?
- If you work on contingency, how much of a percentage will you take to handle my case?
- If my case loses, will I be financially responsible for paying you or your firm for your services?
- Does my settlement check some directly to you?
- How long can I expect it to take to get my money once my case settles?
After a Truck Accident, Do Not Hesitate to Consult a Truck Accident Attorney
Asking your truck accident lawyer questions can allow you to walk away with valuable information and guide you in making the best decision for yourself and your future. You can expect a good truck accident attorney to listen to you, address your concerns, and answer your questions easily and clearly.
You’re not alone if you suffer injuries and losses in a truck accident. A Charleston truck accident attorney can take on your case and do everything necessary to help get you the fairest possible settlement. For more information, contact us.