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Questions to Ask When Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer
If you are wondering when to get a lawyer after an auto accident, it’s best to look for one if an accident resulted in serious injuries and costly damage to vehicles or other property. A truck accident lawyer is important in such cases because special regulations apply to common carriers like trucking companies.
If you have been in an accident with an eighteen-wheeler and need legal representation, knowing what questions to ask when hiring a truck accident lawyer can help you find the right attorney to handle your case. You should ask questions about the lawyer's experience, focus areas, past successes, and the amount of money he or she charges for services, among other topics. The right lawyer can help you determine the legal options available to truck accident victims.
When to Hire a Truck Accident Attorney
Because of the massive size and weight of large commercial trucks, trucking accidents often result in severe injuries. Since personal injury cases usually involve substantial amounts of money, insurance companies fight harder to defend claims. Without a truck accident lawyer, you can expect to go up against teams of attorneys, insurance adjusters, and investigators on your own. In most cases, the question is not whether to hire an attorney, but when.
If you are wondering when to get a lawyer after an auto accident, it's best to look for one if an accident resulted in serious injuries and costly damage to vehicles or other property. A truck accident lawyer is important in such cases because special regulations apply to common carriers like trucking companies.
A knowledgeable and experienced attorney will review Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations and consider the violation that applies. Your lawyer will collect evidence and work with experts to prove truck driver negligence. He or she will also help negotiate settlements with insurers and provide representation in court if the case goes to trial.
Questions to Ask Your Truck Accident Lawyer
When searching for the right attorney, there are some key questions to ask that can help you find the best representation. These questions include:
What Kind of Experience Do You Have?
One of the first things to ask is the level of experience the attorney has handling similar cases. Truck accident cases are different from other types of auto accidents. Because of the size and mass of trucks, there's a higher risk of catastrophic injury and serious damage. These accidents also often involve professional drivers with a commercial driver's license (CDL). These drivers and the companies they haul for owe a higher duty of care to other people on the road. If the at-fault trucker is an employee, the trucking company may be liable for damages.
Hiring an attorney who has experience with truck accident cases could increase your chances of winning your claim or lawsuit.
What Are Your Past Outcomes?
Another critical question to ask when hiring a truck accident lawyer is what his or her past cases have been like. What types of outcomes has he or she gotten for clients in the past? A lawyer should be able to detail similar cases, and the settlements reached, along with his or her overall win rate.
What Is Your Fee?
Truck accident cases are typically expensive to file, particularly if a case involves an attorney. To ease the expense of filing a case, many truck accident lawyers accept cases on a contingency fee basis. When lawyers charge a contingency fee, they collect a percentage of the final settlement or award as payment for their services. They only collect the fee if they are successful in recovering damages for their clients.
The attorney should also detail any other potential fees you may need to cover. Clients are often responsible for expenses that arise during the course of a case. You may end up paying for the expense of collecting evidence or hiring an expert to reconstruct the accident.
How Often Will We Communicate?
You should ask prospective truck accident lawyers about the frequency of communication you can expect during your case. Ideally, you should receive regular communication from your attorney. Otherwise, you may not understand what's happening with your case and feel like your lawyer is not accomplishing anything. You and any potential truck accident lawyers should establish the type and frequency of communications you can expect during your case.
What Will Your Approach Be?
Each attorney takes a different approach to cases. You should try to find a lawyer with an approach with which you are comfortable.
Ideally, an attorney would be strategic and practical in their approach to maximize personal injury settlement amounts. Individuals can also compare approaches across multiple lawyers to find the best one.
What to Expect During Your Truck Accident Claim
When you are interviewing lawyers, they should also be able to explain what will happen during your claim. They should start with an initial free consultation to discuss options regarding possible compensation and whether you should pursue either claim. Truck accident attorneys should also be able to detail what the most realistic outcome will be, and the different steps involved in reaching a settlement or going to trial.
If a lawyer over-promises or guarantees compensation of any amount, it's best to keep looking for an attorney who will be more honest and realistic. A good attorney will never guarantee any specific outcome, as they need to understand more about the case and work toward seeking compensation.
Interview Multiple Attorneys
As you begin the search for the ideal truck accident lawyer, you should select multiple potential attorneys to interview. You can find lawyers in local directories, through online searches, from references, or from other sources. You can then schedule a free consultation with each one. Before the consultation, you can create a list of questions to ask and bring this list to each consultation.
A good lawyer will also want to ask about the specifics of your case. This can help him or her determine whether he or she can provide meaningful representation and secure a positive outcome. Even if the attorney decides not to handle your case, he or she may be able to discuss other options for you or direct you to another lawyer.
By asking the right questions, including those regarding an attorney's experience, fees, and approaches, you can increase your chances of locating the attorney who is right for you and your truck accident case.
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