If you’ve ever seen a truck crash into a smaller vehicle, you probably heaved a sigh of relief that it wasn’t you. Despite rigorous training and testing requirements, truckers sometimes cause devastating accidents. They have the same bad driving habits that cause everyday fender benders, but when a large truck crashes, they generate far more damage. Some trucks are so massive, they cause major damage even while traveling at low speeds.
Truckers sometimes drive their big rigs for longer hours than they should. They sometimes drink and drive and become distracted by non-driving activities. Despite Federal and local regulations, truckers take chances, so they can deliver their loads on time. That risk-taking behavior often leads to horrific accidents with crushing vehicle damage and catastrophic injuries. After causing such damage, a truck driver is often the only one to walk away unharmed.
When Should You Call a Truck Accident Attorney?
Truck accidents are usually serious and sometimes fatal. Timely legal advice is an essential tool for gaining control of your circumstances and your life. Sadly, when you’re seriously injured and trying to recover, a legal consultation seems like one task too many. If you can’t fit a consultation into your schedule right away, you should be aware of certain situations as they arise. These red-flag issues should serve as notice that it’s time to consult with a truck accident attorney.
You Sustain Serious or Catastrophic Injuries in a Truck Crash
When you sustain injuries that affect your health and your livelihood, you should consult with a truck accident attorney immediately. Trucks often cause debilitating injuries. Treatment is usually long-term and costly. You lose income if you can’t work, and the financial challenges often alter your lifestyle. When you should be focused on healing, you must deal with insurance companies, vehicle repair shops, and medical professionals.
An attorney reduces post-accident interference by intervening with insurers, dealing with the trucker’s liability carrier, and managing legal distractions.
You Feel so Overwhelmed You Don’t Know What to Do Next
As you deal with hospitalization, disability, and other accident-related issues, it often becomes overwhelming. It’s sometimes difficult to make critical decisions about what you should or should not do. You know you should be doing something, but it’s easier to wait until you feel less anxious. When you feel so overwhelmed that it immobilizes you, consider it a warning that you should contact a truck accident attorney to protect your legal rights.
Truck accident attorneys offer legal counseling and recommendations. They help you through difficult periods by providing advice and services that move your case forward. When you know that you have legal options, it helps reduce your sense of being overwhelmed. When you have a legal representative working on your behalf, it’s easier to decide what comes next.
You Need Immediate Legal Assistance
Attorneys understand the urgency you feel after an auto accident. When someone causes damage and serious injury, you want answers right now. Attorneys recognize that injured clients need immediate assistance.
They set up their practices and their websites to give clients easy access to services that meet their needs.
- 24/7 client response
- Video conferencing
- Phone consultations
- Online chats
- In-hospital visits
- In-home visits
- Availability for client questions
You Don’t Know What Kind of Attorney You Need
When you need a legal representative after a truck accident, the process of finding one is often confusing. It feels reasonable and right to work with an attorney you know, but that’s not always a good idea. If they practice real estate, probate, or corporate law, they won’t usually know how to handle your injury claim. Late-night attorney commercials add to your confusion. They shout, yell, and stage fake crashes to demonstrate their legal victories. It’s easy to see why these approaches might leave you wondering about the kind of attorney you need.
It’s actually a pretty simple choice. When you’re injured in a truck accident, you need a truck accident attorney. Truck accidents are far more complicated than private passenger accidents. Seasoned truck accident attorneys understand the complex issues because they work with them every day. Before they market themselves as a truck accident attorney, they learn over years of experience. They investigate and evaluate catastrophic injuries. They analyze liability situations. They negotiate, mediate, and try truck accident cases.
When you find an attorney with whom you feel comfortable, be sure to ask about his or her past truck accident cases. It’s important to choose an attorney who meets your needs.
You Don’t Have the Money to Pay Legal Fees
When you’re injured, you shouldn’t wait to arrange a legal consultation because you can’t pay. Unlike other professionals, truck accident attorneys don’t bill you for services rendered. They understand that injured people need strong legal representation, but medical bills, lost wages, and economic turmoil often leave them struggling financially.
Truck accident attorneys handle claims on a contingency basis in compliance with American Bar Association Fee Rules. Truck injury attorneys provide a full range of legal services. They work hard to recover damages on your behalf, but you typically don’t owe any attorney fees until (and unless) they resolve your claim.
The Trucking Company Won’t Report a Claim to Their Liability Carrier
When you have an accident, you know to report it to your insurer; but not everyone follows the rules. If it’s been weeks and you’ve never heard from the trucker’s insurance company, it often means that they didn’t report the claim. Whether a trucking company has liability coverage or self-insures its own losses, their representative should contact you immediately. If you haven’t heard from them after waiting a week or two, you may never hear from them at all.
A truck accident attorney knows what to do when a trucker doesn’t report an accident. They put the trucker and his employer on written notice. If no one responds, your attorney knows that a lawsuit will get their attention.
The Trucker’s Insurance Company Asks for a Recorded Statement
You should contact an attorney before allowing an insurer to record your version of an accident. Insurers investigate reported claims to determine who is at fault. If you sustained serious injuries, your insurer and the liability insurer will want to ask you questions and record your responses. That’s how they get your version of the accident, but you shouldn’t agree automatically.
You don’t have to talk to the other person’s insurer. Your own insurer requires your cooperation, so you can’t refuse—but even there, you should do with the assistance of a truck accident lawyer.
Consult a truck accident attorney before you give your version because:
- Once an insurer records your statement, it becomes part of their claim file. They retain an audio version, and they sometimes transcribe your words to create a written document.
- If an investigator takes your statement while you’re in pain or on medication, you could provide inaccurate responses.
- During the early stages of your recovery, you won’t know enough about your injuries to explain them during a recorded interview. The investigator will ask you anyway. Your own words can give a liability insurer the rationale to dispute your injuries should they worsen over time.
- If the trucker’s liability carrier takes your statement, they will use it as a reference when they decide liability or negotiate your claim. They will refer to it in any depositions you give and use it to defend the trucking company against any lawsuit you file.
No One Agrees With Your Version of the Accident
It happens sometimes. A truck driver causes the accident, but he blames it on you. His boss believes him. Their liability insurer believes him too, and they have their reasons. The trucker comes across as credible and professional. In your recorded interview, you seemed nervous and you mixed up a few relevant facts. It happens when you have no one to help you prepare.
After logging thousands of miles over a trucking career, truck drivers know exactly what to say and how to say it. Unless an independent witness comes forward, you’ll have only you to support your story. When insurance companies make decisions about liability, they consider both drivers’ accident versions. They also judge appearance and demeanor, and they evaluate the type of witness they’d make if they had to appear in court someday.
Your story is important to your truck accident attorney. They understand that differences of opinion about fault happen frequently. They listen to your version of an accident and evaluate the legal issues based on the known information. They begin their investigation based on what you have to say. When you must talk to your own insurer or the other side deposes you, your attorney helps you prepare ahead of time.
You’re Uncertain About Who Is At Fault
During a liability insurance company’s investigation, it’s easy to become concerned about liability issues. They ask so many questions, and they provide so few answers, you begin to wonder if you could be at fault after all.
You should schedule a legal consultation even if you feel that you may have caused or contributed to an accident. Truck accident attorneys understand that liability issues aren’t always clear. They listen to your version of the accident and give you a candid opinion about your case. If they believe that they can help you recover damages, they conduct an investigation and evaluate the evidence. They develop a strategy for dealing with responsible parties and their insurers. When a trucker causes or contributes to your injuries, attorneys do whatever they can to recover damages on your behalf.
The Trucker’s Insurance Company Denies Your Claim
Truck accident attorneys recommend that you consult with a legal representative before you interact with a liability insurer’s investigator. If you deal with them directly, and they deny your claim, an attorney still has a few options for recovering your damages.
When you deal directly with a liability insurer, they send mixed messages about their intent. They’re compassionate and kind, but they make no promises or commitments. You give them a recorded statement. You sign a release to provide permission to obtain HIPAA-protected medical data. You assume that they intend to pay your claim, but they often need more time or one more piece of information. You never know a liability insurer’s true intent until they complete their investigation and evaluate their evidence. Only then do they deny your claim.
Liability insurers aren’t inherently evil, but some draw you into cooperating when they have no intention of paying your claim. Truck accident attorneys recognize how easy it is to get pulled into this dynamic. That’s why they recommend that you connect with an attorney immediately after an accident.
The Liability Insurer Makes an Offer but It’s Just Not Enough
Liability insurers don’t always deny your claim, sometimes they make an offer. If you’re seriously or catastrophically injured, disabled and struggling financially, you shouldn’t accept an offer until you consult with a truck accident attorney.
Insurers count on injured victims to have limited knowledge about injury values. They understand that if they offer you $100,000 for a one million dollar injury, you might settle the claim. If their insured has a one million dollar policy limit, they see the savings as a big win for the insurance company.
Truck accident attorneys evaluate injury claims. They research each case to determine a fair settlement value for their clients’ injuries. To determine a fair settlement range, attorneys look at your injuries, similar past settlements, and recent court judgments. They learn how the injuries affect you and change your lifestyle. They use what they know when they negotiate or present your evidence in a courtroom.
You’re Running out of Time to Make a Claim
It’s easy to see how you might miss out on settling your claim before your statute of limitations runs. If you’re dealing with a difficult recovery, you might choose to avoid thinking about insurance companies, liability claims, and settlements. When your time is ticking away, insurance companies usually withdraw from voluntary contact. They understand that if you don’t file a lawsuit before your statute of limitations runs, they can likely close their file without paying a dime.
Even when you don’t contact a truck accident attorney until your statute of limitations is about to run, they still have numerous options to protect your legal interests. At that point, a lawsuit may be your only viable option. Becoming involved in a serious injury claim at the last minute is often challenging, but truck accident attorneys deal with challenging situations every day.
Do You Need an Attorney to Handle Your Truck Accident?
Truck accident claims are often complicated. When you contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident, they can take immediate steps to protect your legal interests. Your initial legal consultation is usually free, and you don’t have to commit to take action. Your attorney listens to your version of the accident and explains your legal options. You, and only you, decide what to do next.