Truck accidents are often more complicated than car accidents. After all, commercial trucks do more damage and also involve more stakeholders. With the best truck accident lawyer, however, you can rest assured of a fair settlement. Why do you need a lawyer for a truck accident? Most trucking companies will get a notification once one of their vehicles is involved in a collision or crash. They then dispatch a team to the scene of the accident to evaluate and rectify the problem. It is not uncommon for these teams to remove the truck or interfere with evidence that may aid your case. They can also push for a settlement at the accident scene if it is a minor issue. Without a competent truck accident lawyer, it is easy to get a raw deal.
Reasons why you need a truck accident lawyer
So, how exactly will a truck accident lawyer assist you? A lot of people decide to resolve their accidents by themselves and end up regretting it. A truck accident attorney has a lot of contacts in the industry and can be a valuable asset. Here are a couple of reasons why you need to hire a truck accident attorney.
1. They help you in the investigation process
Evidence gathering is a critical part of addressing truck accidents and a competent lawyer will ensure that you gather key facts to help your case. The attorney will also ensure that the trucking company will not interfere with the evidence collecting process. Since evidence collected at the accident scene is one of the main factors that will determine your case, it is vital to have a person that will help you gather useful evidence.
The evidence being referred to, in this case, will depend on the nature of your case and how soon you get an attorney after your crash/collision. Common pieces of evidence include skid marks, roadway problems, visual obstructions, debris and gouge marks in the roadway among others. They also look out for any damage patterns, black box information, and severity of the crash. Witness statements for those present are also crucial to determine what was seen and what wasn’t seen. Emergency personnel also give statements to ascertain what was heard or observed. With a solid legal team that collaborates with investigative experts, you stand a chance for a favorable settlement.
2. They help you sue the right persons
Truck accident lawyers are well-versed with the legal rights and duties of an aggrieved person. This can come in handy if you have no idea on whom to sue or the process to follow to get justice. With a competent lawyer by your side, you are more likely to get a satisfying compensation amount or a favorable settlement. Remember, you cannot get maximum compensation or justice if you make a claim to the wrong people.
3. They help you access trucking-specific documentation
Apart from conducting investigations and gathering evidence, a truck attorney will also help you collect trucking-specific documentation. This often consists of details from the scene, the vehicles and even the people involved. Some of these documents include;
*Hours of service logbooks or any material that supports this information
*Inspection and vehicle maintenance documents
These materials are always in the possession of the trucking company and your attorney will not be able to access them before litigation. While federal and state laws require trucking companies to always have this information, these documents are often kept for a short time. Although a lawyer can’t have the documents before trial, they can take steps to ensure the trucking company retains this data. By sending a spoliation letter, the attorney notifies the other party of your injury claim and outlines the documents that the trucking company should keep.
4. They are experienced in dealing with insurance firms
Some people choose to deal with insurance companies on their own or go on to hire lawyers with no trucking experience. However, these people always have a difficult time getting their claim resolved by these firms. A truck accident attorney, on the other hand, knows the ins and outs of this industry and have no problem navigating and negotiating with insurance firms. These lawyers know how to deal with the insurance firms since they work with them on a daily basis.
Once you get an expert trucking lawyer, your chances of having a successful claim are enhanced. These professionals ensure that you get the amount of compensation you deserve to address the pain and suffering you went through from the trucking accident. Hiring a lawyer for truck accidents will ensure you do not get frustrated by insurance companies and that you get full compensation.
5. They will offer you expert legal advice
We always want to think that we know it all and that we can do everything by ourselves. A quick consultation with a trucking attorney will, however, reveal that we may have been making mistakes all along. In some instances, such as experiencing a truck accident, it may not be best to gamble as you can get an unfavorable settlement or a failed claim. A truck accident lawyer will offer you the right legal guidance from their years of experiencing dealing with such issues.
Once you hire the best truck accident lawyer, you will no longer feel lost or alone when filing a claim. Furthermore, you will get the financial compensation you deserve since you were not the one on the wrong.
6. They help you know and understand your legal rights
A lot of people do not know their legal rights when filing a claim. A competent truck accident lawyer has spent countless years learning about your legal rights and practicing this in a courtroom set up. You can go on to fight the insurance company by yourself but it is hard to get full compensation if you do not understand your legal rights. While fighting the insurance firm is not easy, truck accident lawyers are already conversant with tort law and have the right knowledge to help you win your case.
Top Causes of Truck Accident Claims
The United States, like other countries in the world, depend on trucks and semi-trucks to ferry goods back and forth across the country. This is akin to how red blood cells need to carry oxygen across the body. In fact, more than 63 percent of all the goods in the country are transported by truck across the US and also into Mexico. This translates to thousands of driving hours for truckers throughout the nation. In those hours, about 11 people die as a result of truck accidents every single day.
Every year, the federal motor carrier safety administration releases reports assessing motor vehicle accidents including trucks.
Those injured as a result of dangerous truck driving can get compensation for damages upon filing a semi-truck accident claim. A trucking company or driver that causes an accident or injury to a person due to negligence will be the target of a semi-truck accident claim. However, the plaintiff will have to prove that the other party is liable out of negligence and that they suffered some injuries due to the accident caused by the trucking firm. What are some of the top causes of truck accidents?
Truck driver distraction
Distraction when driving is a common problem regardless of the type of vehicle. Thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people get into accidents each year due to driver distraction and this trend has been increasing over the years. Driver distraction is also a problem that contributes to high truck accidents across the country.
Distraction includes a large number of behaviors that reduce the attention that drivers should pay to the road when driving. Smartphone use when driving, for example, is one of the bad behaviors that has led to various truck accidents. Texting while driving is known to be one of the most dangerous ways drivers distract themselves. The growing use of smartphones has compounded this problem too. Browsing the internet, looking up maps, social media or even changing music are other common forms of driver distraction.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck drivers spend many hours driving over incredible distances. Sitting behind the wheel on a daily basis and in the same position easily leads to fatigue. A truck driver that experiences severe fatigue is prone to make mistakes and cause truck accidents. Experiencing fatigue while driving is considered the same as driving under the influence. This means that fatigued drivers are at a high risk of sleeping behind the wheel. They also have reduced motor skills, decreased senses and their decision-making skills are somehow impaired. Truck drivers are advised not to drive more than a certain number of hours a day and to take a rest to fight off the fatigue. However, job pressure and strict delivery deadlines prompt many drivers to drive more than they should.
Due to the increased shortage of parking spaces available for truck drivers, many are not forced to take a rest at non-designated places when they take mandatory breaks. Truckers should stop at parking spots that can accommodate the size of their vehicles but these spots may end up full. In other cases, there may not be a reasonably close stop. This forces truck drivers to park at the side of the road or where it may not be safe to park. Driving while fatigued in a bid to look for a parking spot can be dangerous. Also, parking at the shoulder of the road can result in an accident too.
Poor truck driver recruitment
The skills and knowledge of truck drivers are important. With that being said, the recent growing shortage of truck drivers has compounded the problem. About 51,000 truck drivers are needed to address the growing demand from companies such as Amazon and Walmart that ship goods across the country on a daily basis. Some companies hire inexperienced drivers that do not have what it takes to ensure safety on the road. In other instances, trucking firms have hired retired drivers who may be experienced but do not have the best health. It is often dangerous to hire older drivers since that age group is predisposed to health conditions that enhance the risk of truck accidents.
Truck Accident Lawyer Demand By Cities
Major cities witness a lot of truck accidents and thus have a higher demand for truck accident lawyers. Generally, there has been a rise in truck attorney demand in the US in 2019. In the first half of 2019, there have been three instances of significant spikes in the need for a truck accident lawyer, according to Google trends. This means many people are looking to hire a truck accident lawyer online. The trends also revealed that Oregon has the highest demand for truck accident lawyers. Other regions that also had a significant demand for truck accident lawyers include Kansas, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada. To search for a truck accident lawyer near me, simply enter your Zip code below.
Whether you are looking for a truck accident lawyer Houston or a truck accident Los Angeles, you can easily find a truck attorney online.
How to find the best truck accident lawyer
Have you finally made the decision to hire a truck accident lawyer? Before settling on one attorney it is important to consider a number of factors. Here are some things to keep in mind before making that important decision.
Ideally, you should choose a truck accident attorney that has experience in handling cases that are similar to yours. Truck accidents are different than regular motor vehicle accidents. They often cause bigger injuries, bigger damages, and even bigger awards. There are also lots of legal obligations and requirements that trucking companies ought to have fulfilled. You need a lawyer that understands your rights and can help you get the best award.
In an accident, either the trucker, the trucking company or even the manufacturer of the truck may be liable. Your truck accident attorney should have enough experience to know who to sue and what damages to seek. A trucking company is sometimes responsible for the negligence actions of the truck driver as long as their acts were within the scope of their employment. A trucking company may try to evade this by alluding that the driver is an independent contractor. A good truck accident lawyer should be able to determine who is at fault and the legal recourse to take to get the best awards.
Level of comfort
Hiring a lawyer is different than choosing a dentist or even a mechanic as such a decision is both subjective and objective. On one hand, you want (and should) to get a highly qualified and experienced attorney that can resolve your matter. On the other hand, you also need a lawyer who you are comfortable with and have confidence in. Truck accident cases usually take months or even years before conclusion.
During this period, you will have to work closely with your lawyer to ensure you get the highest compensation award. You will spend hours with your lawyer when they are interviewing you about the event and any other relevant details that may help in the case. You will also discuss your legal strategy and the attorney should also offer you legal advice during this period. With that being said, you need to hire a truck accident lawyer that you not only trust but one that you also respect.
Cost of the attorney
A significant number of personal injury attorneys including truck accident lawyers charge their clients on a contingency basis. Simply put, you will not owe or have to pay any money to your attorney till you get an award from the person that caused you the said injuries. The fee is often charged as a percentage of your gross settlement, which is the received settlement before any expenses are deducted. In other cases, the fee may be a percentage of your net settlement (value of the award after the deduction of expenses). Regardless of how the lawyer charges, you should always try to negotiate the percentage that the lawyer is asking for as their fee.
It is, however, worth noting that the percentage taken by the lawyer should not be a conclusive factor when hiring a lawyer. This is because you are more likely to get more from a lawyer that charges a higher percentage but gets you a larger award than from one who asks for a lesser percentage but gets you a smaller award.
Be wary of attorneys that give you an unrealistic settlement size. If you approach three lawyers who promise to get you a settlement award or around $50,000 and another lawyer promises $1,000,000, it would be prudent to question why there is a high disparity.
A good reputation
The best way to know who is the best attorney may be to ask around. Experience with an attorney, word of mouth recommendations and online reviews all contribute to how a person is perceived by others. Before settling on a specific lawyer, it is important to research the background of the lawyers. This can be through looking for references or seeking friends that may have used the services of the attorney in the past.
What are some of the key qualities to look for before hiring an attorney? Good communication skills, research skills, litigation skills, experience, and people skills are what you should consider. Ultimately, you want a lawyer with good interpersonal skills. It is frustrating to have a highly experienced attorney who does not bother to update you about the case or one who is not empathetic with your case.
When it comes to hiring a truck accident attorney, choosing a local one is always a great idea. One of the main reasons why you should strive to get a local law firm is the ease of accessibility. With local truck accident lawyers, you can easily reach out to them and discuss any arising issues. Moreover, local truck accident lawyers are familiar with their environment, they know the area and they even know how rampant the issue is in the area.
Local attorneys know the doctors, medical investigators, the typical outcome of such cases in the local courts. In summary, they know how to work their way around the legal system. Since these legal professionals understand the local laws better, they are best suited to handle your case. While it is not necessary to choose a local truck accident attorney, they may be your best chance of having a favorable outcome.
Legal Strategies and Attitude of Attorney
Lawyers need to come up with some legal strategies each time they are working a case. These strategies are quite important and they often determine whether you lose or win your case. You need a lawyer that has a well-thought-out and comprehensive legal strategy to address your issue. The truck accident lawyer should also share this strategy with you before you even settle on her/him.
Attitude, on the other hand, is also vital since it shows how committed your lawyer will be to your issue. You do not want an attorney that does not return your calls or one who does not find time to see you. A lawyer with a positive attitude will be willing to represent you and will not just be after your money.
Truck accident injuries are often severe and often get large compensation awards. However, this is almost impossible without a good truck accident lawyer. You may decide to fight the insurance company on your own or you may be prudent and get the services of a qualified truck accident lawyer. The article highlights why you need a truck accident lawyer and how they will help your case. It also explores some of the key considerations to keep in mind when choosing a lawyer. Experience, reputation, legal strategy, cost and the location of the attorney are some of the factors reviewed. With the best truck accident lawyer, you can rest assured that the judgment will be favorable.