Why you need a truck accident lawyer

December 25, 2023 | By Francis Firm Injury Attorneys
Why you need a truck accident lawyer

You often read about large truck accident settlements others have received for injuries. You can also recover substantial compensation when you end up in a position where you have suffered an injury from a truck driver’s actions. First, you must take legal action, which is most effective when an experienced truck accident lawyer represents you.

Truck accident lawyers dedicate their careers to representing people in your situation and seeking the compensation they deserve. These legal professionals know how to navigate all steps of the process, stand up to insurance companies, effectively negotiate, and escalate the matter to court when necessary.

You need to hire a Texas truck accident attorney because it often increases your chances of a full financial recovery, which can improve your future following a serious accident and injuries.

Truck Accident Compensation May Be High, and Trucking Companies May Resort to Rough Tactics

There is a reason why truck accident compensation is, on average, higher than settlements in car accidents. Because a fully loaded tractor-trailer dramatically outweighs your car, chances are that you or a loved one have suffered severe injuries.

Your truck accident compensation reflects your injuries and the available insurance coverage to pay for your damages.

Why you need a truck accident lawyer

The money at stake will also cause the trucking company’s insurance carrier to resort to questionable tactics to keep you from getting what you deserve. From pressuring you to making lowball settlement offers, they will do whatever it takes to compromise your legal rights.

Without an attorney to protect you, you will receive less money and may not even get a check.

If you hire a truck accident lawyer, you will get a determined fighter on your side who will always push to maximize your compensation. At the same time, they will deal with the insurance company on your behalf, keeping them at bay when they resort to their usual tactics to save money.

Once you have legal representation, the insurance company’s approach often changes. They know their usual tactics will not work on an experienced attorney, so they are often more willing to make a fair offer and efficiently resolve the claim.

The days after a truck accident are the most critical in your legal process. To qualify for financial compensation, you must prove that the truck driver or the trucking company was to blame for the accident. There is evidence that you must gather that can prove responsibility. However, truck accident evidence has a limited shelf life.

To prove truck accident liability, your lawyer might use:

  • Testimony from people who saw the accident
  • Pictures from the scene of the accident
  • The accident investigation report from the NHTSA (if they have written one - but you cannot always use it in a trial because the court may consider it hearsay)
  • Testimony from an accident reconstruction expert

The sooner your lawyer begins gathering evidence, the stronger that evidence is.

The Trucking Company Has Evidence in Their Hands You Must Obtain

There is other evidence that you can use for your case that is in the hands of the trucking company. Perhaps the most crucial proof is in the truck’s event data recorder, or black box.

The event data recorder can show:

  • The speed the truck was traveling before the accident
  • The steering maneuvers that the driver made
  • The hours of operation for the truck

The trucking company must only keep black box data for a certain period. If they know that it contains data that can prove them liable, they may even try to make the data “disappear.”

You will need an attorney to send them a letter right after the accident that directs them to maintain the data in anticipation of potential litigation.

In addition, you may need to obtain from the trucking company:

  • Maintenance records that show when the truck received an inspection and what work it had done
  • The driver’s records that show their safety history
  • Drug and alcohol testing results
  • Other compliance issues that the trucking company or the driver may have had

The trucking company is not simply going to give you this information. You will need to get it from them in the lawsuit process and need an attorney who knows how to obtain evidence in a lawsuit using the discovery process effectively.

You Need Someone to Deal With the Insurance Company

Need Someone to Deal With the Insurance Company

The insurance company may see you as a target of opportunity because they know that you suffered an injury and may be short on money. If they see that you do not have a lawyer, they may do what they can to harm your legal position.

Trying to speak to the insurance company is always stressful, and there is no reason to deal with the trucking company’s insurance provider until you are ready to file a claim or lawsuit.

It will do everything possible to twist your words against you, compromise your case, and trick you into talking. The effect is the same - once they have you on the record, they put themselves in a better position.  

Insurance companies respect tough lawyers, and to an extent, they fear determined advocates.

They know that a lawyer can hold them accountable through a lawsuit, and it is the last thing they want. Insurance companies know they are mainly home-free if they see you dealing with them independently.

A Truck Accident Attorney Knows the Value of Your Case

There is almost no such thing as a rounding error in a truck accident case. The value of your claim may be so substantial that even a tiny difference in estimating your damages can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Given the magnitude of your injuries, every dollar represents harm to you that you legally deserve.

Truck accident injuries may last for the rest of your life. An attorney needs to look out over a long time horizon to estimate the value of your damages and reach the correct number.

Nothing about this calculation qualifies it as an inexact science. Instead, it is best to be precise about your damages, supporting them with proof in case the insurance company challenges you.

A case worth hundreds of thousands of dollars can be worth millions, and you do not want to realize that after it is too late. Once you sign a settlement agreement, it is too late to return for any more money. You will have released the insurance company from any further liability in your case and signed away your legal rights for pennies on the dollar.

An attorney will work with the following experts to figure out how much you may recover in a settlement or verdict:

  • Medical experts to understand your long-term prognosis and care needs
  • Vocational experts to know what your career path may have been and your future work capabilities 
  • Life care planning experts to learn what care and assistance with daily activities you may need in the future
  • Economic experts to understand how costs may change based on inflation

The result will be a well-supported number you seek when you file a claim or lawsuit. When the insurance company tries to minimize your accident injuries, your lawyer will arm you with data backing up your claim, and a jury will step in if the insurance company will not pay what you deserve.

The Attorney Can Paint a Picture of Your Case

The lawyer will obtain information about the accident and the trucking company if you have filed a lawsuit. The trucking company may face other lawsuits, and they may have fostered a culture of cost-cutting instead of emphasizing compliance with the myriad of federal trucking regulations.

What happens at the overall trucking company level matters for your case. It may anger the jury if you can portray the trucking company as a menace to public safety. The more evidence you can get about how what happened to you was part of a systemic failure, the stronger your legal position.

Your attorney may need to make this case when you are seeking punitive damages. To qualify, you must show a jury that there is a reason to punish the trucking company.

Usually, it will mean that you show that there was more than just garden variety negligence at play in your case.

Your attorney can tell your story and show that the trucking company has a history of breaking the rules.

A Truck Accident Lawyer Knows How to Negotiate on Your Behalf

You may receive a settlement offer at some point in your case. Unless the insurance company and its trucking company client are entirely confident in their case, they will manage their own risk by attempting to settle the case. Alternatively, they will face a jury, which can give them a massive verdict.

The insurance company will only make you a reasonable settlement offer after some time, and, most likely, their initial offer will be for pennies on the dollar.

The first offer is just the beginning of the negotiation process. It is as much about the insurance company showing its intent that it is interested in settling instead of being about a legitimate offer for you to accept.

You must negotiate for everything you get in the settlement process. An attorney will evaluate the offers you receive and give you professional advice about whether to accept or reject.

Usually, you will refuse the first offer (and several after that), then counter with your figures and continue negotiations.

Your Lawyer Could Also Fight for You in Court

How you proceed with your claim depends on the strategy your lawyer selects best to use on your behalf. You may even decide to file the lawsuit in court and then try negotiating with the insurance company, but you may not get anywhere.

If you file a lawsuit against the trucking company, you will fight to access as much evidence as possible to prove your case. Your lawyer will cast a broad net in the discovery process. If the trucking company is not forthcoming with evidence, your lawyer will go to the judge to force them to compel production.

The stronger a case that you build, the better position you will be in for settlement discussions. The insurance company and their trucking client will see that you are likely to prove your case at trial and know an angry jury might hit them with a nuclear verdict. Thus, their settlement position may improve in your favor the more time passes at trial.

Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney Costs Nothing Up Front

The hurdle you do not need to overcome when looking for legal help is how you will pay for a lawyer. The way that personal injury attorneys receive payment is different from other types of cases. Other lawyers, such as defense attorneys and family lawyers, will ask you for a retainer at the start of your case. They will also send you bills for their time during the case.

You will sign an agreement with a truck accident lawyer at the start of your case, which promises you will pay the lawyer for their time only if you win. If you do not get a settlement or jury award, you have no obligation to compensate your lawyer for their time and effort.

Thus, you are not taking a risk when you hire a lawyer for your case. If you try to deal with the insurance company independently, you take a significant chance and may not receive compensation. Even if you get a check, it will be for far less than you otherwise may have obtained.

You have nothing to lose by scheduling a free consultation with a personal injury law firm near you today.