How To Choose The Best Truck Accident Lawyer
Because of the size and weight of a truck, accidents can cause devastating injury and trauma. This is why you need to find one of the best truck accident lawyers you can get to represent you and help you get the most in a settlement or at trial. Having someone on your side not only helps you get the most money for your case, but will also alleviate a lot of the frustration and aggravation of handling the case on your own.
Finding the Best Truck Accident Lawyers
You may hear the term “personal injury attorney” thrown around when looking for help. A personal injury attorney handles injury cases, but even they have certain types of cases they regularly handle. Finding one who has the right background in trucking is imperative.
Experience With Trucking Accidents
Look for a lawyer who has experience with trucking accidents. This is more than someone with experience with auto accidents; the injuries and damage from trucking accidents are a lot worse than the damage from most auto accidents. The trucking industry is subject to different regulations than passenger cars. Trucks pose a unique set of hazards, and there may be multiple parties involved—including drivers, trucking companies, maintenance facilities and owners. Specifically ask the attorney what their background is on trucking incidents.
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Lawyers usually handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that instead of charging you an hourly rate, the lawyer gets a percentage of the amount you receive in a settlement or at trial. The lawyer’s percentage typically starts at around 33%, but will be higher if the case progresses to a lawsuit or trial, to reflect the additional work the lawyer does on your behalf. If your lawyer isn’t able to recover any money, you don’t owe any legal fees.
You’ll also probably be responsible for out-of-pocket costs such as court filing fees, expert witness fees and copying costs. In many cases, the costs will be deducted at the end from any recovery you receive. Depending on the lawyer and the case, you may have to pay costs even if you lose.
Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation to discuss your case and explain their fee structure. Once you choose a lawyer, you should receive a written contingency fee agreement to sign. Read it carefully and ask as many questions as you need to so you understand what you’ll be paying.
It’s important that you feel that you can talk to the attorney. Your lawyer is going to be part of your recovery team and will have access to a lot of personal information. You want someone who you trust and feel that you can disclose all information to and they’ll understand and be on your side. If you feel as if the attorney is talking down to you in the consultation, this is probably a good indication that they aren’t the attorney for you.
Find an attorney who has trial experience. Some attorneys will focus on getting settlements from the insurance company quickly. This requires the least amount of work for them to do. You want someone willing to put the resources into getting you what you deserve, and has the experience to fight for that and win in a courtroom, if necessary.
When talking to the lawyer, you should have a good understanding of what is going on. Lawyers who stick to attorney jargon and don’t simplify the language may not be a good fit for you.
Also, ask the attorney what the process is to keep you updated on the progress of the case. Many attorneys use paralegals and assistants to handle routine parts of the case like collecting documents, so it’s likely you’ll be interacting with the office staff as well as the lawyer. While it might not be pertinent to notify you of every little thing, you want an attorney who makes it a practice of keeping clients informed on the case.
Setting the Right Expectations
Of course, you want as much as you can get for your settlement. You want your medical care to give you the best chance of a full and speedy recovery. At the same time, you want to have realistic expectations about your case. This is something to talk to the attorney about as you start working together.
If it seems that the attorney is setting expectations lower than yours, ask why they feel that way. They should be able to cite from professional experience cases like yours and what the results were. Don’t be surprised if the lawyer won’t guarantee you’ll win anything—lawyers are bound by ethical rules that prohibit them from making these sorts of promises.
Why You Should Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents are complicated, and there are often many potential causes and responsible parties. If a truck swerved into your lane, was it because the driver fell asleep, or the steering failed? Was the driver sleepy from drugs, alcohol or being required to pull too many shifts? Did the steering fail because of a manufacturing defect, failure to do maintenance or shoddy work at the maintenance facility? How do you calculate your future medical expenses and lost income from the accident?