Burch Law Firm understands that many people who have been hurt in truck accidents are going to have a wide variety of questions related to their crashes. It is not always easy for people to find clear answers to legal questions about their injury claims. In fact, many people are unsure whether they need a lawyer to handle a claim, and if they do, how they can afford one.
Below are some frequently asked questions about truck accident claims. If you have specific questions about a crash you were involved in, contact one of our knowledgeable Texas truck accident lawyers to schedule a free and confidential consultation. We do not charge any fees upfront to start work on your claim, and you only pay us if we recover money for you.
Do I Need an Attorney for My Truck Accident Case?
Yes, you should always hire a lawyer to represent you if you were injured in a crash with a commercial vehicle. The truck driver, the trucking company, and the insurers will have a legal team on their side, so it is wise to have one on your side as well.
After a commercial truck crash, company representatives or insurance adjusters will contact victims and pressure them not to hire a lawyer. These companies may try to get the person to sign away their right to sue, or they may offer as little money as possible to make any injury and property damage claims go away. This is because the insurance company representatives are trained to save the company money whenever possible. They will be looking out for themselves and the company’s bottom line, not your health and well-being.
During this challenging time, it is crucial to have someone who is on your side. Your personal injury attorney will put your best interests above all else. Your lawyer will help you understand your rights, will explain the legal process, and will advise you on the best course of action for your case. Your attorney will investigate the crash and build the strongest claim possible for compensation. Your lawyer will then seek fair compensation through negotiation with the trucking company’s insurer.
If a fair settlement isn’t offered, it might be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit. Your lawyer will need experience and resources to pursue damages in court. You’ll want to have a trial-tested attorney stand up for you and fight for what you are owed.
How soon should I hire an attorney for a truck collision?
While getting medical attention should be your first priority after a crash, seeking legal counsel should be the next consideration in most cases. The sooner you can discuss your situation with a qualified injury lawyer and determine whether you have a case, the better protected you’ll be.
Your lawyer will need to secure and preserve crucial evidence to build your case. Your legal team will also need to speak with your physician and other medical and financial experts to determine the extent of your injuries and the impact they’ll have on your life in the future.
You generally have two years in Texas to file an injury lawsuit after a truck accident. You should not assume that this means that you should wait two years to get started on your case. If you wait too long to contact a lawyer, there is a chance that there will not be enough evidence remaining or time to build a strong enough case on your behalf.
The more time you can give your lawyer to investigate and build a solid case, the better. Be sure to call an attorney or have a loved one reach out to one immediately after an injury accident.
What do I look for when choosing a semi-truck accident lawyer?
When looking for a truck accident lawyer to represent you, it is a good idea to do your research ahead of time and look for lawyers who have the right experience and resources to handle your specific case. You need a lawyer who has specifically handled truck accident cases in the past. You’ll want a lawyer with a proven track record of successfully dealing with trucking companies and their insurers.
Take advantage of a free consultation to ask some crucial questions:
- Have you handled truck accident cases like mine?
- What is your track record of success in these types of cases?
- How would you handle my case?
- Do you have any testimonials from previous clients?
You should feel comfortable discussing your case with the person you hire to represent you. The way they respond to your questions and talk about how they’ll help you will give you a good idea of whether you’d like to work with them or not.
What happens in a free consultation with an attorney?
Your free consultation will be your opportunity to discuss your truck accident in detail with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer. Your lawyer will listen to your account of the crash, talk about your injuries, and learn how your life has been affected since it happened.
Your attorney can discuss all the legal options available to you and how to proceed with the case.
You are also going to want to ask questions during a consultation, and you should certainly use it as an opportunity to learn more about an attorney and whether you want that person to handle your case.
What should I bring to a free consultation?
There are a number of things you might want to consider bringing to your free consultation. Some of the best things you can bring include:
- Your automobile insurance policy
- A copy of the police report related to the accident
- Any pictures that you took at the scene of your accident
- Your own written description of the accident with all important details
- Any witness contact information
- Your medical records
- Receipts for expenses related to your injuries
- Lost wages information
- Emails or other written correspondence from insurance companies
You should also bring a list of questions you want to ask an attorney so there is nothing you forget.
What should I say if an insurance company contacts me after a truck accident?
You are very likely to be contacted by an insurance company for the commercial truck driver or trucking company soon after your accident. You should politely refuse to speak with them until you’ve hired a lawyer to represent you.
Even though insurance company representatives might act friendly or concerned for your well-being, remember that they are not on your side. Do not provide any recorded statement without first consulting your attorney. Insurance adjusters will look for any reason to deny or diminish your injury claim, which often means getting you to say something that unintentionally harms your case.
Instead of speaking to them about the crash, you should refer them to your lawyer and let your attorney handle all communications with the insurer.
What should I do if the insurance company offers me a settlement?
Insurance companies are notorious for trying to resolve injury claims as quickly and as cheaply as they can. In some cases, the insurer might offer a quick settlement early on after a crash.
These early settlement offers are usually low-ball offers that are far less than the victim’s claim is worth. This is a strategic move on the part of the company, designed to take advantage of your willingness to accept money right away. They count on accident victims to be desperate, often in financial distress, and they use that situation to their advantage.
Even when the amount offered seems like a large sum, you need to consider how your injuries will impact you not just now, but also in the future. Many people who accept early settlement offers often find that the amounts will not be enough to cover many future expenses. They will eventually have to pay out of pocket for expenses that a settlement might have covered if they had sought a fair amount.
By hiring a lawyer to represent you and handle the negotiations with the insurance company, you can rest easier knowing that you won’t be taken advantage of or bullied into accepting a lowball offer. Your lawyer will seek full compensation that takes present and future expenses and other vital factors into consideration.
Are 18-wheelers, semis, tractor-trailers and trucks all the same thing?
Commercial vehicles are divided into three groups of nine classes based on their weights, with light-duty trucks being Class 1 through Class 3, medium-duty trucks being Class 4 through Class 6, and heavy-duty trucks being Class 7 through Class 9
The most common kinds of heavy-duty commercial vehicles generally include:
- Semi-Trailer Truck — A tractor unit and one or more trailers, also referred to as a tractor-trailer, semi, 18-wheeler, or big rig
- Flatbed Truck — A tractor unit with a flatbed trailer
- Tanker Truck — A tractor unit with a large tanker attachment, also known as tank trucks, fuel trucks, or just tankers
- Refrigerator Truck — A tractor unit with a large refrigerator unit
- Garbage Truck — Trucks specifically designed for waste collection
- Dump Truck — Trucks with open-box beds
Other smaller medium-duty trucks may include box trucks and delivery trucks.
The dedicated attorneys at Burch Law Firm are available to answer any additional questions you have and discuss your truck accident claim in a free consultation. Please contact us today to get the legal advice you need.