How to Hire a Truck Accident Attorney

As noted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, commercial trucks often weigh 20-30 times more than a passenger car and are taller with a greater ground clearance that leaves the occupants of smaller vehicles susceptible to extremely serious injuries or even death. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you may be eligible for compensation. An experienced truck accident attorney may be able to help. How do you find an experienced truck accident attorney? Read on for more information.

Finding Prospective Attorneys to Take Your Case

In the past, finding an attorney who works in your area of residence and in the area of law that matches your case was a matter of asking others for a referral or looking in the phone book. However, while those are still options for finding an attorney, there are many other ways to find one these days, including on the internet.

When researching truck accident attorneys online, you will want to look for those specializing in personal injury law, including motor vehicle accident cases. Look at the websites provided for these attorneys and take note of reviews that have been provided by clients, as well as examples of results of cases they’ve represented, particularly those involving truck accidents. Additionally, you should take note of legal industry awards that the law firm has received and the experience of the individual attorneys as listed in their biographies.

While the website research is a big first step to hiring an attorney to represent you in your case, you still need to meet with your potential attorney to ask him or her questions and to get a better feel for whether the firm is a good match for you.

Attending a Consultation

Many personal injury attorneys, including those at The Champion Firm, offer a free consultation and case evaluation for prospective clients. This will be a time for you to ask the attorney questions as well as to share the details of your case with him or her. As free consultations tend to be relatively brief, it is important to go to the meeting prepared. Here are some things to keep in mind as you get ready for your consultation:

  • Bring all of the documents you have relating to your case, including a copy of the police report from your accident, medical bills, medical documents relating to your prognosis, the names and contact information from any witnesses, any information you have gathered about the driver of the truck and the company he or she works for, photos of the accident scene, and photos of the damage to your vehicle.
  • Be sure to bring a notepad and paper so that you can take notes as the attorney answers your questions. Remember to also bring the list of questions you have for the attorney.
  • Remember that an attorney who is easy to talk to may not always be the best one for your case. The best one will be the one who has experience in handling your type of case, has provable results in truck accident cases, and is able to answer the questions you ask to your satisfaction.
  • Be honest with the attorney during your consultation and answer the questions that he or she has for you to the best of your ability.
  • If you decide to retain the services of the attorney you speak to, there will be documents to sign. Be sure to read all of these documents carefully. If you have questions about the information in the documents, be sure to ask the questions and have them answered to your satisfaction before signing.

Questions to Ask

  • Who is responsible for compensating me for my injuries? What damages are available to me? What is the likelihood that my case will settle? What is the value of my case?
  • How much experience do you have with truck accident cases? How many truck accident cases have you handled, and how many have you settled? Are you comfortable with the state and federal regulations that govern the trucking industry? Are you aware of the evidence you need to collect from the trucking company, such as electronic hours of service laws and maintenance records and how to obtain that information?
  • How comfortable are you with working with corporate law firms that trucking companies often keep on the payrolls?
  • Are you comfortable with looking for additional sources of liability, such as the trucking company, the broker or shipper, or the manufacturer of defective parts?
  • How experienced is your legal team at conducting truck accident investigations? Do you have the resources to properly investigate? Do you have access to experts such as medical professionals and accident reconstructionists?
  • Do you plan to pursue an accident claim with the insurance companies of all liable parties first? If those insurance companies refuse to offer a fair settlement, are you comfortable with representing me in court?
  • Who will I work with most often, and how does your firm handle communication with clients? Will I be informed of all new developments in the case?
  • How are clients billed for your services and what are the payment options that are available to me?

There will likely be more questions for you to ask pertaining to the facts of your case and the information that the attorney provides to you, but these are a good place to start.

What You Should Expect From Your Truck Accident Attorney

The skills, experience, and abilities of your attorney are an extremely important aspect of your case. You should expect the following from the attorney who represents you:

  • Personal attention.
  • Regular communication with you about your case.
  • A case evaluation that takes into consideration the unique circumstances of your accident and your needs
  • Flexibility in how and where you meet with him or her to discuss your case. The understanding that you are recovering from injuries and that meetings may need to take place at the hospital or at your home.
  • An unwillingness to entertain a settlement that is too low to meet your needs.

The truck accident attorneys at The Champion Firm are looking forward to meeting you. Contact us online or by calling (404) 596-8044 to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.

If you have been struck by one of these vehicles, you need someone fighting on your side, holding the trucking company accountable for the full extent of your injuries.

At The Champion Firm, P.C., we have seen the damage that high speeds and heavy loads carried by large trucks can cause, and we know the barriers to compensation that injury victims must overcome.

We also know that you need this time to heal, so we work on your behalf to get you the maximum amount of compensation you are owed under the law—and we do not collect any payment from you unless we succeed in your case.START MY CASE REVIEW NOW

Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyer: A Commercial Truck Case versus Car Wreck Case

Although Atlanta car accidents and 18-wheeler crashes are both considered personal injury cases, there are major differences that can affect the outcome of the case. One of the biggest differences is that a commercial vehicle crash involves not only a driver, but the company that owns and operates the fleet of vehicles. While victims are struggling to recover from their injuries, the trucking company will be working to protect its own interests, placing victims who do not have attorneys on their side at a disadvantage.

Truck accidents are also different from other crash cases because they may involve:

  • A greater potential for deadly injury. The increased size and weight of tractor-trailers or box trucks have the potential to cause devastating injuries to the passengers of smaller vehicles. Spinal cord injuries and paralysis are common after semi-truck accidents, and many families are forced to grieve the wrongful death of a loved one.
  • Liability of multiple parties. Truck drivers may be to blame for causing an accident, but they are not the only party that can be sued after a crash. The company that owns the truck, the company that loads and unloads the shipment, and the company that performs maintenance on the vehicle could be separate entities, and each one could be negligent depending on the facts of the case.
  • Commercial insurance carriers. Trucking companies must be covered under commercial insurance policies. While this could mean that more funds are available to an accident victim, there also is a greater likelihood that the commercial insurers will hire lawyers to minimize their exposure.

Commercial Vehicles Accidents in Atlanta

There are many types of large trucks, and each one is bound by different standards and requirements. Some drivers need commercial licenses and undergo mandatory training, and each vehicle must adhere to specific safety codes.

Vehicles that may be bound by commercial trucking laws include:

  • Semi-trucks. An 18-wheeler may travel unloaded or attached to a trailer, and each one poses a risk of colliding with smaller, lighter vehicles.
  • Delivery vehicles. Delivery services can include those bringing mail (such as UPS or FedEx), furniture, or goods to consumers, but also catering trucks, refrigerated trucks, and vans bringing large orders to corporate clients.
  • Box trucks. Many companies use box trucks (also called straight trucks or cube trucks) to haul loads and make deliveries. Moving vans are a common form of box truck and may not require a commercial license to drive.
  • Tow trucks and haulers. A tow truck combines the weight of two vehicles, while a car carrier stacked with vehicles can be deadly if the cars are not properly secured.
  • Service vehicles. Utility companies rely on heavy vehicles such as garbage trucks, power company vehicles, fuel tankers, and other transport that can be hazardous in a crash.
  • Oversized load trucks. Vehicles carrying lumber, industrial materials, or whole houses may encroach into other traffic lanes or spill cargo weighing several tons.
  • Heavy equipment. Road construction carries a risk of collision with dump trucks, excavators, cement mixers, and other machinery.

Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers Discuss Types of Collisions

The heavy weight and high profile of large trucks make them especially deadly when they collide with smaller vehicles. Types of collisions between trucks and passenger cars include:

  • Head-on collisions that occur when the front end of a car and the front of the truck’s cab collide.
  • Side-impact crashes (also called T-bone accidents) that occur when the front of the truck collides with the side of a passenger vehicle.
  • Rear-end crashes that result from a trucker striking the back of a car because the truck was following too closely or not paying attention.
  • Sideswipe accidents as the truck merges without warning or drifts into the other lane.
  • Jackknife accidents that result from a trucker’s sudden braking, causing the trailer to swing to the side and cab and trailer to fold up like a jackknife.
  • Underride accidents that occur when a car becomes wedged under the back or side of the trailer.

Common Causes of Big-Rig and Large Atlanta Truck Accidents

Every truck driver has the potential to engage in unsafe or illegal behaviors behind the wheel, and some fleet operators may cut corners on safety in order to increase their profits. While only a thorough investigation into your case can reveal the exact cause of your crash, there is a good chance the driver or the trucking company could have done something to prevent it.

Big-rig accidents are most commonly caused by one or more of the following:

  • Drowsy driving. Commercial truckers spend long hours behind the wheel, and many do not get proper rest when they are off-duty. Even drivers who are not required by law to take breaks may drive drowsy due to working overtime or late shifts.
  • Impaired driving. Drinking and driving, taking illegal drugs, or even relying on prescription medications can alter a driver’s concentration and reaction times.
  • Distracted driving. Although truckers are forbidden to text, check email, use social media, or talk on cell phones while driving, some indulge in distractions to fill the long hours behind the wheel.
  • Speeding and aggressive driving. Truckers may feel pressure to drive faster to make their deliveries more quickly. Unfortunately, studies have continually found that speeding increases accident rates and makes crashes more severe.
  • Driver errors. Truckers who enter the roadway without using flashers, merge or turn without using signals, or fail to check blind spots are all in danger of colliding with smaller cars.
  • Improper loading. All cargo must be evenly weighted and properly secured to prevent loads from shifting during travel. Otherwise, cargo may fall to one side during a turn, pulling the truck down in a rollover crash.
  • Poor maintenance. Trucking companies have a duty to inspect and repair all of the vehicles in their fleet before sending them out on the roads. The rig that hit you should be inspected for bald tires, worn-out brakes, faulty electrical equipment, and other signs of equipment failure.

You Should Speak to an Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyer Immediately

It is vital that injury victims speak to an attorney as soon as possible after a large truck crash. One reason is that trucking companies are only required to keep driver logs and other evidence after a crash occurs for a limited time. After this time limit expires, companies can dispose of the information, making it more difficult for a victim to prove negligence. In addition, insurance companies may try to minimize their losses by offering an early settlement to a victim that is thousands of dollars less than his or her claim is worth.

Only an experienced Atlanta truck wreck attorney can accurately estimate the full costs of the accident and offer the legal advice you need to put the accident behind you. If you or a loved one was involved in a commercial truck accident in Atlanta, contact us today to schedule a confidential and free case evaluation or use our accident guide to find out how to proceed with your case.

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