After a crash with a big rig, semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or 18-wheeler, you need a truck accident lawyer. It’s one of the common questions we get from clients who’ve been in truck accidents. Driver fatigue and driving under the influence are common causes of crashes involving large trucks. However, weather conditions, faulty equipment, or poor training can also lead to accidents. An attorney’s expertise helps navigate the various challenges of your case and determine who is liable for damages (whether it’s one or more parties).
When you’ve been injured in a truck accident, not just any legal professional will do. You need a skilled truck accident lawyer for these reasons:
Experience Investigating Truck Accident Cases
A lawyer with experience investigating truck accidents can determine the strength of your case using evidence and data. Many newer vehicles have black boxes that collect data to show, for example, if the driver was speeding at the time of the crash. An attorney can gain access to this information and gather other details of a client’s truck accident, including:
- Documents, including medical bills, repair receipts, and police reports
- Photographs and videos of the accident scene
- The employment file and accident record of the truck driver
- Statements collected from witnesses
- Footage from surveillance cameras
Ability to Negotiate with Insurance Companies
Commercial vehicle insurance policies are complex. That’s because trucks are much larger than the typical passenger vehicle and medical damages, lost wages, and pain and suffering can be much more significant. But as with any insurance company, the goal is to pay out as little as possible, no matter how extensive the policy coverage is.
Fortunately, a skilled truck accident lawyer has the skills to handle complex negotiations, which is often necessary in multi-defendant cases. A truck accident lawsuit can involve a:
- Their employer
- Shipping company
- Maintenance contractor
- Cargo loading company
- Local agency
Negotiating a high injury or damage settlement from one insurance company or entity is hard enough. You need an experienced attorney to take them all on. Failing to identify who’s responsible for damages can result in them escaping liability and eliminating a potential source of compensation for your losses.
Familiarity with the Legal Process
The statute of limitations is one of the most important variables impacting your case. In California, a truck accident claim must be filed within two years of the crash date. The deadline is even shorter if you sue a government-employed or -contracted truck driver (six months). There are only a few exceptions to filing a claim outside the statute of limitations; your attorney can navigate these if necessary.
Nonetheless, a truck accident lawyer’s legal knowledge is paramount to finding the best legal strategy to prepare and win your case. After investigating the accident and gathering evidence, they can proceed with the legal process, which can be quite lengthy. A lawyer’s responsibilities include:
- Sending Demand Letters: Your attorney will send a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company, which outlines the facts and requests a certain amount of compensation.
- Preparing Complaints: If the insurance company won’t negotiate a fair settlement or won’t negotiate at all, your lawyer may send a complaint to the at-fault party, initiating a lawsuit against them. They typically have 30 days to respond.
- Discovery: Your lawyer will initiate the discovery process. It entails gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and forming legal theories related to the accident as if preparing the case for trial (although most accident cases settle out of court).
- Representation: A truck accident lawyer represents their client in court if the case goes to trial. Insurance companies usually attempt to settle cases before then. It’s often the goal to settle the case before it goes to a jury, for as fair a value as possible.
- Applying Relevant Skills: An attorney must meet strict deadlines, so managing their time properly is important. They must also be adept at research and be effective communicators. Therefore, effective negotiation, speaking, and time management skills help them navigate a complex case and get clients the money they need and deserve.
Can Maximize the Value of Your Claim
Truck accidents often cause severe injuries that can take a long time to heal, if not cause permanent disabilities and impairments. Each case is unique. A range of facts and circumstances help determine the value of your case. For example, a sprain or bruise is worth less than losing a limb or being paralyzed. The driver’s behavior at the time of the accident can also impact the case’s value; if they were driving drunk, the settlement is likely to be higher. If the driver’s employer ignored their history of driving drunk, you could have a strong case against the company.
Typically, an insurance company values a claim within a range. They aim to settle the case at or below the low number. An attorney is on your side and values the claim based on what it’s worth to you, even if reaching a fair settlement means taking the case to trial.
Contact The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani
If you’ve been in a semi-truck accident, we’ll help you get fair compensation for pain, broken bones, internal bleeding, head injuries, road rash, whiplash, paralysis, lost limbs, and other injuries caused by the crash. We also represent clients in traumatic brain injury and wrongful death cases. No matter the cause of a truck accident, our team can investigate the facts and build a strong case. We’ve won multi-million-dollar settlements for many clients. For your free consultation with a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer, call (888) 952-2952.