What to do if you crash your truck when traveling.
Truck accidents are some of the most serious disasters across the US. Large trucks include vehicles that can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. Because of this massive size, these trucks are more difficult to maneuver than small automobiles.
This can lead to catastrophic accidents that mainly involve passenger vehicles. If you have also been injured in a commercial truck accident, the most important thing after checking your health is to consult a truck accident lawyer to protect your rights and file claims.
Following is a step-by-step guide to help you effectively go through this process.
Step 1: Find a Truck Crash Lawyer
Consulting a truck crash lawyer should be your top priority if you want to be in the best position to recover fair compensation for all your damages, including health, work hours, and vehicle. You will first have to do your research and ask friends or family if they have a recommendation for you.
For example, if you are one of the victims of truck wrecks in California, the best approach is to narrow down your research to local law firms in California and interview multiple lawyers to find the best match for your case. Find an attorney you can get along with and interview multiple lawyers to find the best match for your case.
Once you have found a lawyer, it is advised to ask about their success rate and try to work on contingency. This means they don’t get paid until you get paid. Contingency amounts usually range from 25% to 40%, so look for a lawyer to work on the minimum percentage.
Step 2: Sign an Agreement with the Lawyer
No matter how well you know your attorney or how simple your case is, you should have a professional relationship with your attorney by negotiating and signing a contract with fair terms. This contract may outline the following:
- Identity of the lawyer and client
- Acknowledgement of confidential client-attorney relationship
- Percentage of contingent fees (if applicable) and complete details of any other expenses
- Scope of services (in case the work is limited in any way)
- Details of withdrawal or termination of services
- Disclaimer of how the attorney will handle the case (Negotiation with the trucking company, insurance provider, and healthcare provider)
Remember, each law firm and attorney work with a different style of contract, so you will have to follow it. Just ensure that every crucial detail is listed down before signing anything.
Step 3: Communicate Only Through Your Lawyer
Once your attorney has started working on your claim, it is strongly advised to channel your communication only through them. Truck crash claims are handled differently than other injury accidents because of many other players involved in the case.
You will have to answer the questions from your insurance provider, trucking company, police, and doctors. So, it is best to follow the guidance provided by your lawyer and don’t say anything you are not sure of.
For example, the trucking company and insurance provider may approach you to get your feedback and manipulate you into signing some documents for the record. Don’t sign anything or answer any questions without first consulting with your lawyer.
Step 4: Collect and Investigate the Evidence
There are two types of evidence to present for your claim. The first is primary evidence that includes details about your medical visits, testimonial statements, and police reports about the accident. This type of evidence helps the lawyer know the basics and move forward with your claim.
After collecting the basic evidence, the attorney will look for any demonstrative evidence to present in court. For this purpose, they will appoint a qualified investigator to visit the crash site and review all police reports and medical records.
The attorney will also locate and review the traffic camera recording evidence and any additional eyewitnesses. This additional evidence will unravel all possible details to help you get your claim.
Step 5: Send Personal Injury Demand Letter
Here comes the real big step in getting your truck accident claim. After you and your lawyer have reviewed and collected all the evidence, you will have enough to move forward with processing your claim. Your law firm will send a personal injury demand letter to the party responsible for your injuries and other damages, including physical, financial, and other losses.
Your attorney will decide on the letter-receiving party, which can be the truck driver, the truck driving company, or the driver’s insurance provider. The demand letter will have the financial payment amount demanded by you, and it will let the other party know how they will be released from liability.
Step 6: Negotiate a Settlement
Now that the truck company has your demands in front of them, they will evaluate their own case and consider their next move with the case. Usually, the other party will do one of the following things:
- Accept your demands and do the settlement outside the court
- Negotiate the terms of your demand letter and present a counteroffer. In this process, the negotiations may become overwhelming. However, if an agreement is made, the settlement will move forward.
- If you’re unable to reach a deal with the truck company and still believe your evidence and demand fully justified, you’ll have the option to file a lawsuit against them.
The choice of any of the above options will determine the outcome of your case. So, it’s best to move forward carefully with this step.
Step 7: Go to Trial if Negotiation Fails
Usually, most cases are solved before this step, and trials are considered a rare occurrence. However, if the insurance company is not ready to negotiate the settlement deal or your demand letter remains unanswered, your attorney will take these demands to court, and the jury will decide on what financial amount you will recover.
The whole trial process starts with both sides sitting down in the courtroom with some judges. They will hear your case and decide what you will be able to recover from your truck accident losses. The trial can be a frightening process, and you will have to prepare your best to get the claim you deserve.
That’s why it is strongly advised to hire an attorney that can present your case in the best way possible, should the need come for trial.