If you were in a trucking accident that resulted in extensive injuries and losses, debilitating pain, and astronomical medical expenses, you want to find an attorney that can provide you with the legal help you need during this challenging time, and one that can vigorously fight for you by going after the maximum damages you deserve.
Unfortunately, when it comes to truck accident lawyers, not all of these legal professionals have what it takes to get the outcome you need. That is why we have created the following blog post. In it, we will discuss what you need to look for when it comes to hiring a truck accident lawyer.
Specifically, we will go over the questions you should ask these potential lawyers, the red flags you should watch out for, and how you can prepare for your initial consultation with a truck accident attorney.
Does the Attorney Have Experience Handling Truck Accident Cases?
Truck accident cases are known to be complex. As a result, when it comes to these types of claims, you want an attorney that has significant experience handling them and taking these cases to trial.
In addition, you also want to find a truck accident attorney who knows Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules and regulations and the nuances of truck accident cases, including the proper way to investigate them and determine liability.
Truck accident litigation often requires industry-specific knowledge because of the many differences between a car accident case and a truck accident case.
For example, consider:
- The severity of injuries: Due to the severity of the injuries that often result from a truck accident, victims of this crash often require extensive medical care, which can mean hefty medical bills that can forever change a victim’s life.
- Extensive property damage: Due to the size of a truck, when they are involved in an accident, they can result in extensive property damage to not only other motor vehicles but the surrounding properties.
- Higher insurance policies: Truck drivers and trucking companies often have insurance policies that are much higher than other automobile policies.
- More liable parties: Following a trucking accident, there can be more than one party held responsible for the accident, including the truck driver, the truck’s owner, the trucking company, cargo owners and loaders, and even truck manufacturers.
Does the Truck Accident Attorney Have Good Communication Skills?
You want to look for an attorney that can easily communicate with you and listen to what you have to say.
Why when you meet with an attorney, ask them:
- How do they plan on communicating with you, whether through email or phone calls?
- How often can you expect case updates?
- If you have a question regarding the case, can you call or email them?
- Do they have times of availability for communication
In addition, you will also want to ensure that the lawyer can provide you with direct answers and clear explanations and not just respond to all of your questions with confusing legal jargon.
Will the Truck Accident Attorney Handle Your Case?
Law firms often have a staff of paralegals and associate attorneys who work together on personal injury cases. However, when you are retaining a truck accident attorney, you will want to verify that these lawyers will be the ones working on your case.
As a result, as you are going over your case with the lawyer, you will want to go over the following questions with them:
- Who exactly will work on your case?
- Will they supervise anyone who works on the case?
- Can you interact with them directly about the case, or will support staff handle it?
- Who will prepare the necessary legal documents and motions?
- Who will negotiate with the insurance company?
- Who will handle litigation if the case goes to trial?
- How involved will you be in the case?
Does the Truck Accident Attorney Have Experience Handling Settlement Negotiations?
Many people fail to realize that after an accident, the insurance company is not there to help them. Nor are they there to ensure that they get the money they need after a crash or provide them the support they require during this time.
Rather they are a business, and like other businesses, they want to make a profit. For these reasons, insurance companies will often try to do everything they can to deny a claim or settle a case early for a low settlement offer, ensuring that they do not have to pay the victim the fair compensation they are entitled to.
As a result, you want to make sure you choose a truck accident attorney who has experience taking on these settlement negotiations with the insurance company and knows how to aggressively fight for the amount you deserve.
This is especially important since insurance companies usually know an attorney’s reputation and success rate, so if you work with a truck accident attorney with no experience handling insurance companies or one known for settling quickly, the insurance company will use this to their advantage.
Does the Truck Accident Attorney Have Solid Testimonials?
All it takes is one Google search, and you can instantly have a list of lawyers in your area who claim they are willing and ready to take on your legal case. However, before you choose the first lawyer that comes up in your search history, you need to realize that not every attorney you find can take on a truck accident claim or provide you with the legal services you need. For these reasons, check an attorney’s reviews, testimonials, and references.
If you cannot find these reviews online, you can also ask the attorney if they have references that you can speak with. These references can typically provide you with better insight into the lawyer’s reputation, their ability to handle a trucking accident case, and their overall professionalism. Yet, if these attorneys do not want to provide you with any references or do not have any, you should be wary about hiring them.
Does the Truck Accident Attorney Have a Strong Success Record?
Most lawyers will track their success rate, which they may measure by the claims they won for their clients and how much compensation they helped their clients receive.
During your initial meeting with an attorney, you should ask them about their success rate, both inside and outside the courtroom, as this can help you better understand their skills as a negotiator and as a trial attorney.
You should also find out:
- Whether these attorneys have consistently won high-value settlement claims
- Whether these attorneys have been recognized for their extensive settlements or court verdicts related to their truck accident cases
- How these lawyers define success when it comes to a truck accident claim
The answers to these questions can give you a better idea of whether these attorneys are capable of fighting for your rights and going after the maximum financial recovery that you are entitled to.
Does the Truck Accident Attorney Work on a Contingency Fee Basis?
One of the most important questions you need to ask a lawyer is about their legal fees and how much it will cost you to hire them. Although each law firm is different when an attorney is working on a truck accident case, it should be handled on a contingency fee basis. Under this agreement, the lawyer will not get paid unless they secure you a financial recovery award either through a settlement offer or a court verdict.
Additionally, in a contingent fee arrangement, the attorney will often accept a fixed percentage of the compensation they help you to obtain. However, if the lawyer does not win any money, you should not be required to pay them anything for the work done on your case.
Yet, do not assume that an attorney will work on a contingency fee basis. Rather, you always want to verify with them about their fees.
That is why before you hire them, ask them:
- How are you and your legal team compensated for the work done on the case?
- If you do not win, will you still expect to be paid?
- How are costs and fees related to the case, such as deposition fees, travel expenses, copy charges, and court fees, taken care of?
- Will you expect the client to cover case costs even if you do not win?
- Will the percentage fees increase if the case goes to trial?
Does the Truck Accident Attorney Have the Resources and Time to Take on Your Truck Accident Case?
Even if you find a good lawyer, if they do not have the time or the resources to handle your legal case, it may mean you should keep looking. For example, if an attorney does not have the time to tackle a case, they may end up cutting corners and accepting a meager settlement on their client’s behalf so that they can quickly move on to the next client.
For these reasons, when you meet with a lawyer, you will always want to discuss their availability and the resources they have to support your case. For instance, does the truck accident lawyer have access to experts who can help validate your claim, or do they have a skilled team that can help ensure your legal motions are prepared correctly?
This type of information can provide you with insight into whether the attorney is prepared and capable of taking on your injury claim following a trucking accident.
How to Prepare for Your Initial Consultation
Before you meet with a truck accident lawyer for the first time, you need to make sure you are prepared. That is why before heading into your initial consultation meeting with these lawyers, you should consider the following tips:
Write Down Your Questions and Bring Them With You
Show up to this consultation with a list of questions that can help ease some of your worries surrounding your case, allow you to get to know the attorney better, and help you get a better idea if the lawyer is right for you. These questions should touch on the attorney’s track record, your case, their legal philosophy, and how they will manage the case.
Bring Any Documents Related to Your Trucking Accident
Try to bring with you any documents or evidence you have regarding your truck accident, including any pictures and videos you have of the accident scene, police reports, medical reports, witness statements, and information from those involved in the accident.
Ask the Questions and Trust the Process
Finally, remember that this process is for you. You are meeting with these attorneys to see if they are the right lawyer to take on your case. Do not be afraid to ask all the questions and discuss all your concerns.
At the end of the day, you not only want a truck accident lawyer with skills, knowledge, and experience, but you also want an attorney that you feel comfortable with and treats you with respect.