When to Hire a Truck Accident Attorney

May 3, 2024 | By DJC Law Attorneys
When to Hire a Truck Accident Attorney

Truck accidents can be devastating, often resulting in severe injuries, significant property damage, and even fatalities. Due to the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks, the consequences of these accidents can be far more severe than those involving passenger vehicles.

If you or a loved one has experienced a truck accident, you may face a long road to recovery, mounting medical bills, lost income, and a host of other challenges. In such situations, you'll need to understand when to hire a truck accident attorney to protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

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Consider The Severity of Your Injuries

One of the primary factors to consider when deciding whether to hire a truck accident attorney is the severity of your injuries. If you have suffered serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, or long-term care, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney.

Severe injuries may include:

In cases involving severe injuries, the costs associated with medical treatment, lost income, and other damages can quickly escalate. An experienced truck accident attorney can assess the full extent of your damages and advocate for the compensation you need to cover these expenses and secure your future.

Additionally, severe injuries may greatly impact your quality of life, affecting your ability to work, enjoy daily activities, and maintain relationships. A skilled attorney can advocate for compensation for these non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Liability Disputes

Who is liable in truck accident?

Liability is another factor to consider when hiring a truck accident attorney. Liability may be clear-cut, with the truck driver or trucking company accepting responsibility for the accident. However, multiple parties may dispute liability in many instances, each potentially at fault.

Parties that may be liable in a truck accident include:

The Truck Driver

Investigators often first look at the truck driver when determining liability in a truck accident. Truck drivers are responsible for operating their vehicles safely and in compliance with federal and state regulations. Suppose a truck driver engages in negligent or reckless behavior, such as speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or violating hours of service regulations. They may be liable for accidents and injuries.

An experienced truck accident attorney can investigate the driver's actions leading up to the accident, examining factors such as:

  • Driving records and history
  • Training and qualifications
  • Drug and alcohol test results
  • Hours of service logs
  • Onboard data from the truck's electronic logging device (ELD)

By identifying any negligent or unlawful actions by the truck driver, an attorney can build a strong case for liability and guide you as you seek the compensation you deserve.

The Trucking Company

The trucking company that employs the driver or owns the truck involved in the accident may also be liable for damages. Trucking companies are legally responsible for ensuring that their drivers are properly trained, licensed, and supervised and that their vehicles are maintained safely.

Negligent actions on the part of the trucking company may include:

  • Failing to conduct proper background checks on drivers
  • Inadequate driver training
  • Encouraging or pressuring drivers to violate hours of service regulations
  • Failing to maintain or inspect vehicles properly
  • Failing to secure cargo adequately

A truck accident attorney can investigate the trucking company's practices and policies to identify any negligence or violations that may have contributed to the accident. By holding the trucking company accountable, you can secure a more substantial settlement or judgment to cover your damages.

The Owner of the Truck

The truck owner may be a separate entity from the trucking company. This is common in situations involving leased or rented vehicles. The truck owner must ensure the vehicle remains safe and promptly make any necessary repairs.

If the truck owner fails to maintain the vehicle properly, leading to an accident caused by mechanical failure or defects, they may be liable for injuries and damages. A truck accident attorney can investigate the vehicle's maintenance records and ownership history to determine if the truck owner's negligence contributed to the accident.

The Cargo Loader or Shipper

The cargo loader or shipper may be liable for accidents caused by improperly loaded or secured cargo. When cargo shifts or falls from a truck during transport, it can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle or create hazards for other motorists on the road.

Federal regulations govern the proper loading and securement of cargo on commercial trucks. If the cargo loader or shipper fails to follow these regulations, resulting in an accident, they may be held responsible for damages.

An experienced truck accident attorney can investigate the cargo loading and securement practices to identify any violations or negligence that may have contributed to the accident.

The Manufacturer of the Truck or Its Parts

Occasionally, defective or malfunctioning truck components, such as brakes, tires, or steering systems, may cause accidents. Product liability principles may hold the truck's manufacturer or the component maker responsible if a defective part contributes to an accident.

Product liability cases can be complicated, requiring a thorough investigation into the defective component's design, manufacturing, and testing processes. A skilled truck accident attorney can work with professionals to identify defects or failures that may have caused or contributed to the accident and hold the manufacturer accountable for their negligence.

Third-Party Maintenance Providers

Trucking companies sometimes outsource vehicle maintenance and repairs to third-party providers. These maintenance companies are responsible for performing their services competently and professionally, ensuring the truck is safe for operation on public roads.

If a third-party maintenance provider fails to identify or repair a mechanical issue leading to an accident, they may be liable for injuries and damages. A truck accident attorney can investigate the maintenance records and practices of the third-party provider to determine if their negligence contributed to the accident.

When liability is uncertain, managing insurance claims and legal proceedings can be challenging without the guidance of an experienced attorney. A truck accident lawyer can investigate the accident, gather evidence, and build a strong case to demonstrate liability and protect your rights.

The trucking company or its insurer may attempt to shift blame onto you, the victim, to minimize their financial responsibility. An attorney can counter these tactics and ensure responsible parties are accountable for their actions.

Insurance Company Negotiations

Dealing with insurance companies after a truck accident can be a difficult and frustrating experience. Insurance adjusters are trained to minimize payouts and protect their company's bottom line, often at the expense of accident victims.

If you suffer an injury in a truck accident, the trucking company's insurance provider may contact you with a settlement offer. While it may be tempting to accept this initial offer, especially if you are facing financial strain, these offers are often far lower than what you may be entitled to receive.

An experienced truck accident attorney can handle negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf, ensuring your rights are protected and you receive a fair settlement. Your attorney will assess the full extent of your damages, including current and future medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and non-economic losses, to determine the true value of your claim.

Insurance companies sometimes use bad faith tactics to delay, deny, or undervalue your claim.

These tactics may include:

  • Failing to investigate your claim properly
  • Offering an unreasonably low settlement
  • Denying your claim without a valid reason
  • Failing to communicate with you promptly

If you encounter bad faith tactics from an insurance company, a truck accident attorney can hold them accountable, ensuring that your rights are defended and vigorously pursuing the compensation you deserve. They will challenge any unfair practices and work to secure a settlement or verdict that reflects the full extent of your damages and losses.

Truck accident cases often involve complex legal issues that can be challenging to understand without the guidance of an experienced attorney.

These issues may include:

Violations of these regulations can significantly affect liability and the outcome of your case. An attorney well-versed in trucking regulations can investigate the accident, identify any violations, and use this information to build a strong case on your behalf.

Additionally, truck accident cases may involve multiple jurisdictions, particularly if the accident occurred in a state other than where the trucking company is based. An experienced attorney can file your case in the appropriate jurisdiction.

The Statute of Limitations

statute of limitations for truck accident case

Another reason to consult with a truck accident attorney is to ensure you file your claim within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a legal time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit, and it varies by state.

In most states, the statute of limitations for truck accident cases ranges from one to six years from the accident date. Failing to file your claim within this time frame can result in losing your right to seek compensation for your injuries and damages.

An experienced truck accident attorney can elucidate the statute of limitations in your state and ensure the timely filing of your claim. They can also guide you through every step of the legal process, from meticulously gathering and analyzing evidence to negotiating assertively with insurance companies. If negotiations do not yield a fair resolution, your attorney will represent you in court, presenting a strong case to secure the compensation you deserve. Additionally, they can address all the issues that arise in truck accident claims, including identifying all potentially liable parties and overcoming any legal challenges, ensuring you receive comprehensive legal support and sufficient compensation.

Maximizing Your Compensation

Maximizing your compensation is one of the most important reasons to hire a truck accident attorney. Truck accident cases often involve substantial medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and non-economic losses like pain and suffering.

Without the guidance of an experienced attorney, you may not receive the full compensation you are entitled to. Insurance companies are primarily concerned with protecting their profits and may offer a settlement far short of your actual damages.

A skilled truck accident attorney can assess the full extent of your damages, including future medical costs and lost earning capacity, to ensure you receive a fair settlement. They can also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, using their knowledge of the law and their experience with similar cases to secure the best possible outcome.

Negotiations alone may not be sufficient to secure a fair settlement. Should this be the case, your attorney will stand for you in court, employing persuasive arguments and substantial evidence to advocate for you. They'll work tirelessly to ensure a judge or jury understands the full impact of your case, fighting for the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer Today

If you have suffered severe injuries, are facing liability disputes, or are struggling to resolve insurance company negotiations, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney. A skilled truck accident lawyer can guide you through the legal process, investigate your case, and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.

Don't let the challenges of a truck accident overwhelm you. Take action to protect your future and hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. By working with a dedicated truck accident attorney, you can focus on your recovery while your legal team works tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact a trusted personal injury lawyer today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your rights and options. Don't face this challenge alone – reach out to a personal injury attorney now and let them advocate for the justice you deserve while focusing on recovery. An experienced attorney can guide you through the complex legal process and ensure they handle every aspect of your case with care and experience.