What to Do After Commercial Truck AccidentsBy Stewart J. Guss on February 26th, 2020
Commercial trucks are everywhere. With a whopping 15.5 million of them on our roads each day, they carry 70 percent of all manufactured and retail cargo in the country. It’s impossible to drive anywhere, whether in town or on the highway, and not see them.
Unfortunately, this means commercial trucks are also involved in collisions—often. Texas, California, Georgia, and Pennsylvania have the highest rates of commercial truck accidents in America. The effects and injuries from such an accident may follow you for the rest of your life. Bills can pile up quickly, leaving you feeling buried, overwhelmed, and left with no way out.
But there is hope! You don’t have to suffer. You don’t have to deal with financial pain on top of the physical pain your accident has already caused you. You can file a personal injury lawsuit not only against the irresponsible truck driver who injured you, but against their employer and insurance company too. . But in order to get the most out of your case and ensure justice is served, you should start by consulting with a competent legal team ready to fight for what you’re rightfully owed.
Under most state laws, you have to file your lawsuit within a short time frame from the date of your accident, so don’t hesitate when it comes to talking to a commercial truck accident law firm. The law firm you choose needs enough time to put together your arguments, prepare documents, and get your suit filed on time. Missing a filing deadline can mean the court will toss your case out without a second glance, and you’ll be left with no way to be compensated for your injuries.
Are you considering trying to file your lawsuit by yourself? Not so fast! Don’t stack the deck against yourself. The people going up against you have the professional guidance of lawyers on their side – why shouldn’t you? The unfortunate reality is, insurance companies and commercial trucking companies have teams of lawyers whose sole purpose is to ensure injured plaintiffs walk away with as little as possible.
Don’t get fooled. You don’t want to become a victim all over again by getting taken advantage of by a huge company that doesn’t care about you and sees you as just another number. Without a good legal team behind you, that’s a real possibility. Choose a law firm with a team of attorneys and legal professionals who know your rights and will be 100% COMMITTED to fighting hard to get getting you every single cent possible!
Choosing Your Commercial Truck Accident Attorney
You’ve probably heard a billion boisterous radio ads for accident attorneys. They all blur together at this point, right? So how should you go about choosing the firm that’s going to help you in your time of need? How can you be sure the people you choose to represent you are going to stay dedicated to getting you the money you deserve? Consider the following:
Would you let a dentist operate on your heart? Of course not! Just as doctors develop specialties, lawyers usually focus their careers on particular types of truck accidents and areas of the law. It’s crucial to choose an attorney who has the right experience to help you with your case. For example, someone who might be a great criminal defense attorney will have no idea how to fight to get you compensated for your injuries in a civil lawsuit.
In fact, , don’t just look at whether or not your potential attorney has handled accident cases. If you’ve been injured in a commercial truck accident, you need a commercial truck accident attorney! The trucking industry has many standards and regulations that commercial trucking companies and drivers are supposed to follow. How will your attorney know if the irresponsible driver who hit you complied with all of them if your attorney doesn’t know the regulations in the first place? Short answer: they won’t! Find a firm that specializes in your needs and knows the relevant laws inside and out.
Most personal injury cases—including commercial truck accident cases—settle out of court and never go to trial. This means good negotiation skills can be the difference between a settlement offer that gets you back on your feet and thriving, or a paltry offer that makes a mockery of both your physical and financial suffering.
Your attorney needs to know when to back off and when to push forward. These skills take time to hone and develop. Finesse, tact, and most of all patience are critical in the negotiation period. (A settlement can come at any time during your case, right up until a jury starts to deliberate!)
Beyond finding out if an attorney knows the law and is a good negotiator, always ask if the law firm you are interviewing has lawyers who have taken commercial truck accident cases all the way to trial. This is really important! Even though most truck accident cases settle out of court, if you decide to reject the settlement offers made to you, your attorney will then lead your case in trial. They need to be able to select and speak to a jury, and have a confident presence in the courtroom. Choose wisely.
Thanks to online reviews and testimonials, these days it’s pretty easy to find out about a law firm’s reputation. You may also want to check out www.avvo.com, which is the premier attorney ranking and review website. There, you’ll find reviews from previous clients and reviews from other attorneys and professionals in your community. Plus, see if there are press stories about the firm. A little research goes a long way!
Teamwork makes the dream work, and in the case of a commercial truck accident, you’ll need more than just a loyal attorney by your side. You’ll also need an investigator to interview witnesses or experts, review reports and other documentation, and maybe even return to the site of your accident.
You’ll need a team paralegals and legal secretaries to keep track of court filing deadlines and ensure the motions and other documents filed with the court are done promptly and properly.
Depending on the facts of your case, it might be necessary to consult various other experts. This could mean doctors who can explain the type and severity of your injury, maybe an actuary who can help calculate the future income your injury has caused you to lose, or even an accident reconstruction specialist. An experienced law firm will have the connections to build this team for you and equip you with what you deserve: multiple dedicated professionals committed to getting you the very best results possible. If you don’t want to just take the firms word for it, most firms will have a testimonial section highlighting some previous client cases.
Narrowing It Down to YOUR Law Firm
After you have done your research, contact your top contenders right away. While you don’t want to rush your selection process, it is important to get an attorney on your case as soon as possible. Truck accident suits can turn complicated quickly and require the input of an experienced truck accident lawyer.
After you’ve checked out your top contenders online and found a firm that appeals to you,the next step is to actually schedule your consultation. Many times, these consultations are handled via the Internet or over the phone, and they should be free. Remember: you’re the one doing the scouting and hiring, not the other way around!
Your initial consultation is a time to tell the legal team about your case and maybe get some initial thoughts from the firm about how it might be handled. Don’t forget – you are interviewing the firm! Prepare some questions for them ahead of time — ask about their experience, representation style, results, and reputation. Also, be sure to think about what your options and goals might be and what you hope to get out of your lawsuit.
How Much Is Your Commercial Truck Accident Claim Worth?
The most pressing question for you right now is probably just how much money you can expect to recover for your injuries. While each case is different and requires its own unique legal analysis, there are two basic types of financial compensation to which you may be entitled: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Essentially, economic damages are intended to reimburse you for things that have a quantifiable defined monetary value—things like those overwhelming medical bills, lost wages, , prescriptions, physical therapy, X-rays, lab and diagnostic testing, help with childcare and daily tasks, and more.
Because these are things that you actually pay money for, it is critical that you document, document, document! Keep copies of all of your bills and receipts in a safe place, and track the amount of time you have to miss work to recover from your injuries.
As you might’ve guessed, non-economic damages are money you receive for things it’s harder to put a price on – like your pain and suffering (past and future), mental anguish (past and future), physical impairment or disability, and disfigurement.
If you’re married, your spouse may also be able to file a claim with your suit to recover for “loss of consortium.” Loss of consortium damages are intended to compensate a spouse for the loss of relationship quality with the victim, and may include compensation for things like the inability to engage in sexual relations. A loss of consortium claim can also be brought by children or parents of the victims, but only those related by blood.
Contact an Experienced Commercial Truck Accident Law Firm
You were injured in a commercial truck accident, and you’re probably overwhelmed with focusing on your recovery and trying to stay afloat financially. You need a legal team that will fight for every penny! If you were injured in a commercial truck accident, call a nationally-recognized law firm with decades of experience, and rest assured you’re in good hands!