How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me?

Posted on April 26, 2024 in Truck Accidents

If you or a loved one were involved in a commercial truck collision, you are certainly facing many challenges. If you wonder how can a truck accident lawyer help, we can explain. A dedicated truck accident lawyer can help you after a crash by representing your best interests, protecting your legal rights, and fighting for the compensation you deserve. Your truck accident lawyer must be willing to challenge the big trucking companies and their insurance companies that employ an army of defense lawyers fighting to reduce or deny your injury claim.

Overall, a skilled trucking accident lawyer can ensure the entire insurance claim process goes smoothly and help you recover the money you need while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

Why a Trucking Crash Victim Should Work With a Truck Accident Attorney

The specific responsibilities a truck accident attorney will assume depend on the law firm you hire. After a serious trucking accident, most firms can handle the entire claims process for you, assuming you work with them from the beginning of your claim. In general, the duties that a truck accident lawyer should perform include:

Ensuring You Get the Medical Care You Need

One of the most important ways a truck accident lawyer can help is by making sure crash victims get the care they need. Receiving medical attention is the necessary first step to obtaining compensation in a truck accident claim. Your injuries need to be properly diagnosed and treated by a medical professional, documented in medical records, and included in your compensation demand.

Without medical treatment and related records, you may struggle to prove the severity of your injuries to the insurance company. A good portion of your settlement will likely come from the value of your financial losses, and medical expenses are usually the largest portion of the out-of-pocket expenses paid by accident victims. Injury lawyers usually have an extensive network of medical professionals who provide proper treatment for clients, often without requesting payment upfront.

Investigating the Truck Accident

How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me?The best personal injury attorneys will conduct a detailed investigation into your truck accident to find any important evidence that could affect the outcome of your case. The ultimate goal of the investigation is to determine the cause of the crash and identify the liable parties.

However, truck accidents can be more complicated than regular motor vehicle collisions because multiple parties can be involved and held liable. Most truck drivers are employees or contractors of a separate trucking company, and those companies may bear some responsibility for your crash and resulting injuries.

Additionally, other entities partnered with the trucking company may play a role in your case. For example, if the semi-truck’s cargo was poorly loaded, the loading company may share some fault. Or if the truck’s brakes failed, the business that last serviced the truck could be at fault. Your truck accident lawyer will be tasked with determining if and how these parties contributed to the crash.

A truck accident investigation may include the following:

  • Examining the crash scene
  • Reconstructing the collision
  • Reviewing the police report
  • Interviewing eyewitnesses
  • Interviewing parties directly involved in the accident
  • Speaking with trucking companies and third parties involved in the trucking operation
  • Obtaining and reviewing the truck’s black box and the driver’s business logs
  • Searching the history and practices of the truck driver, trucking company, and third-party service providers
  • Gathering evidence of injuries, property damage, and fault

Gathering Evidence to Support Your Truck Accident Claim

As mentioned above, collecting evidence is essential to any truck accident investigation and related insurance claim or civil lawsuit. Not all personal injury lawyers know what to look for when investigating a commercial trucking accident.

The types of evidence an experienced truck accident lawyer may locate and review during an investigation include:

  • Traffic camera footage
  • Security camera footage from nearby locations
  • Dashcam video recordings
  • Cell phone videos
  • Photos of injuries
  • Photos of property damage at the scene
  • Truck driver logbook
  • Records of any previous disciplinary action against the truck driver
  • Complaints against the truck driver, trucking company, or related service providers and partners
  • Truck event data recorder (also known as the black box)
  • Truck driver’s criminal record and driving record
  • Trucking handbook, company policies, or contracts

Identifying Liable Parties

Truck crashes are often complex, especially when they involve multiple potentially liable parties. The truck driver may be driving as a solo operator, but that’s not always the case. If the truck driver is an employee or independent contractor, the truck accident lawyer handling your claim should determine if the company employing the driver is also responsible for the accident.

Furthermore, partners who work with the trucking company to handle different logistical operations, such as loading the freight, may have a hand in the crash. It’s your truck accident lawyer’s job to determine every possible entity that may be responsible for paying damages for your losses.

Proving Negligence

Direct acts of negligence and contractual obligations determine liability in a truck accident. It’s crucial in truck accident cases that negligence is established on the part of the truck driver, trucking company, and/or third parties. Why? The at-fault party (or the party they work for) can be held responsible for paying the truck accident victim’s damages.

Without negligence or a direct violation of the law, it’s difficult to establish fault—and without fault, you can’t determine liability. A truck accident attorney can help by investigating your accident and all parties involved to find evidence to establish who may be held responsible. Under personal injury law, the four legal elements of negligence are:

1 A Duty of Care

Every driver has a duty to act carefully, operate their vehicle safely, and follow traffic laws. Third parties who are not drivers have a legal responsibility specific to their job that includes doing what is reasonably possible to prevent harm to others. In either case, your attorney must show these parties owed you a duty of care.

2 A Breach of That Duty

If an accident occurred, the driver may have breached their duty to act carefully. Perhaps they were distracted, tending to their radio instead of keeping a close eye on the road. Or perhaps they accelerated through a yellow light instead of slowing down. In any case, if the truck driver failed to drive with care, your truck accident lawyer will need to prove the driver’s breach of duty precipitated the accident.

3 Causation – The Breach Must Have Caused the Accident

The driver’s failure to act with care must be the most immediate and direct cause of the truck collision. Or the improper hiring, training, and supervision by the trucking company must have led to the crash. Your lawyer must demonstrate that the accident would not have occurred if the driver or their company had not breached their duty to operate safely.

4 Damages – The Injured Person Must Have Suffered Losses

Finally, your accident injury attorney must prove that you suffered legal damages due to the collision. Damages refer to the money owed to victims for the injuries and losses they endured. These damages could be for physical, psychological, or financial losses.

Handling All Communication With the Insurance Company

A truck accident lawyer can manage all the communication in your case. That means interacting with medical providers, expert witnesses, service providers, and insurance companies to keep your case moving forward.

Communicating with insurers is particularly important as it can be stressful and intimidating for clients. A lawyer can speak to the insurance adjuster on your behalf, answer their questions, provide and request documents, and negotiate your settlement. Most clients never have to deal with the insurer if they do not want to.

Fighting for Fair Compensation

A dedicated truck accident lawyer can help you after a crash by fighting for fair compensation on your behalf. If the insurance company is unwilling to make an adequate settlement offer, your attorney can add pressure by filing a truck accident lawsuit. While most truck accident cases still end up settling out of court, the lawsuit shows you are serious about the compensation you deserve.

Furthermore, it can incentivize the insurer to make a better offer if the company hopes to avoid spending money on a trial and potentially losing. A personal injury lawyer can prepare your case for trial, draft documents, compose arguments, and work with experts to testify on your behalf.

The Gallagher & Kennedy Team Gets Results

We get you the results you need and provide legal advice through the whole legal process. Don’t be unprepared when you could have one of the best legal teams out there to assist you. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.

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Why You Should Consider Partnering With a Truck Accident Lawyer

Aside from the many tasks that trucking accident attorneys can perform for their clients, there are four other good reasons why you should hire an attorney for your claim.

Years of Truck Accident Experience

A lawyer who focuses their practice on truck accident cases has legal knowledge and experience that you may lack. Without a sufficient understanding of traffic laws, federal trucking regulations, insurance laws, and insurance company practices, it will be hard for you to build a case that can withstand the insurer’s scrutiny and result in fair compensation.

Many attorneys have years of experience dealing with claims against insurance companies. In most commercial vehicle crash claims, the other party is not an individual but the insurance company that is prepared to defend them. Truck accident attorneys are intimately familiar with the local, state, and federal laws that affect your case, as well as the tactics that insurance companies may use to defeat your claim.

Access to Resources

The right injury lawyer for you will have access to a considerable budget that allows them to allocate funds where needed to bolster your truck accident claim. An attorney can afford to coordinate a full investigation and hire crash reconstructionists, medical professionals, expert witnesses, and more.

Legal professionals have access to analytics and software companies that can extract and analyze black box data from the truck that caused the accident. They also have contacts and procedures that allow them to cut through the red tape involved in obtaining evidence and information from law enforcement agencies and trucking companies.

No Upfront Legal Costs

Like most other personal injury lawyers, truck accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. In other words, they do not charge clients upfront for handling their cases.

Instead of traditional billable hours or a retainer fee, they offer a contingency fee arrangement stipulating that clients only pay legal fees if the law firm successfully resolves the case. If the truck accident lawyer is unable to recover a settlement or court award, the client owes no fees. This allows clients instant access to legal assistance from a truck accident lawyer with no financial barrier and no upfront financial risk.

They Protect Your Right to Compensation

The risks of hurting your truck accident claim are greater when you try to handle it on your own. Not knowing what to say to an insurance adjuster (or what not to say) can give the insurer an unfair advantage over you. They may use your own words against you to undervalue your claim—or deny it altogether.

If you are unaware of their lowball settlement tactics, you may also end up accepting far less than you deserve and losing your right to recover the full amount the insurance company owes you. You may also not understand how much your injury claim is worth or who could be responsible for paying your losses. Without qualified legal assistance, you will likely leave money on the table by trying to resolve your truck accident claim on your own.

How Soon Should You Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer?

NTL-top-40-40-memberIt’s a good idea to contact a truck accident attorney as soon as you are reasonably able. If you are seriously injured, you may not be physically able to speak with an attorney or mentally prepared to initiate a claim for damages. Consider having a loved one initiate contact with an attorney instead. Many lawyers will come to you at the hospital or your home to meet. Request a virtual meeting if that is a good option for you.

Generally, the earlier you contact an attorney in your recovery journey, the better. Your personal injury lawyer can guide you through the key steps you need to take, who to speak to, what information to provide, and how to track your accident-related expenses.

Be sure to contact an attorney before you initiate a claim with the trucking insurance company. Your attorney will be better equipped to handle your case if they are looped in from the beginning.

Is There a Deadline for Filing a Truck Accident Claim?

Yes. Another reason you should contact a truck accident lawyer right away is the legal deadline called the statute of limitations. Every state limits the amount of time an injured person has to file a personal injury lawsuit in court. Some states, like Arizona, allow only two years from the date of the accident or injury to file a lawsuit.

Under some circumstances, your deadline may be shorter than two years. It’s in your best interest to contact a truck accident lawyer who can tell you how long you have to file a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case, and you could end up losing your right to seek compensation from the responsible parties.

Speak to a Truck Accident Attorney at Gallagher & Kennedy During a Free Consultation

Bob Boatman Personal Injury Attorney

Robert W. Boatman, Truck Accident Attorney

There are numerous ways a truck accident lawyer can help if you’ve been injured in a trucking collision and want to seek compensation for your losses. At Gallagher & Kennedy, we offer free consultations, where you can learn more about our services, ask any questions, and discuss your legal options.

Get started by calling (602) 530-8400 or fill out our online contact form today. Your case is our cause. Don’t wait to protect your future.