Truck accidents often involve complex investigations and a complicated claim process. If you suffered injuries in a truck accident, working with a truck accident lawyer can make it much easier to navigate the complexities of that claim and move toward the compensation you deserve. What questions should you ask a truck accident lawyer? Before you decide that you want a lawyer to handle your claim, you may want to ask several key questions.
Questions About the Law Firm
As you determine whether you want to work with a truck accident lawyer, you may want to ask several critical questions about the law firm itself and about the lawyer who will most likely handle your case.
1. Who will actually handle your case?
Many law firms will have big-name lawyers who appear on the letterhead, but they may have many junior partners and other employees who will handle many of the day-to-day tasks associated with managing your claim.
In some cases, you will meet directly with the lawyer who will ultimately handle your claim. In other cases, you may meet with a lawyer available on the day you choose for your appointment. Before choosing a law firm, you may want to know exactly who will handle your case and who you can expect to communicate with as you handle your claim.
2. Does the firm have experience handling truck accident claims? What outcomes has the firm experienced in those cases?
Dealing with a truck accident claim may look very different than a standard car accident claim. A truck accident may involve a deeper look into the potential causes of your accident, including whether the trucking company might bear liability for the accident, whether the company that loaded the truck may share liability, and even whether mechanical failure on the truck may have contributed to the accident.
The lawyer who handles your claim may need to look through a great deal of evidence related to the accident to provide you with the most accurate assessment possible of who bears you liability and, therefore, how you will need to pursue compensation.
When you choose a lawyer to handle your truck accident claim, you want to know that the lawyer has experience specifically dealing with truck accidents and their aftermath. Furthermore, you may want to look into the details of past claims and what compensation the truck accident lawyer may have managed to acquire for other clients in the past who have suffered truck accident injuries.
While those claims cannot guarantee the compensation you will ultimately recover for your claim, you may feel more confident in the lawyer you have chosen after seeing a strong history of results.
3. How and when does the law firm usually prefer to communicate with its clients?
Communication is essential in any injury claim. You need to know the details of your claim and its progression.
When can you expect to receive compensation for your injuries? How long should it take to hear back from the insurance company? Has the insurance company responded yet to your latest communications?
You need a law firm that communicates the way you prefer and when you need that information.
Talk to the lawyer about when the firm usually communicates with its clients. Does the firm stay in touch even as nothing changes, or can you expect to hear back only when you have something to learn about your claim? Make sure you feel comfortable with the law firm’s preferred communication style.
4. Does the firm have the bandwidth to handle your truck accident claim?
You need a law firm with the resources necessary to focus on your claim and provide you with a high level of support as you navigate your truck accident claim. Sometimes, law firms may experience busy periods during which they might not have those resources on hand, preventing them from providing the high standard of support you might need as you pursue compensation from the truck driver’s insurance company.
Talk to the law firm about whether the firm has the resources to take on your claim. If the law firm expects delays in processing your claim due to inadequate bandwidth, you may need to look elsewhere.
5. What fees can you expect to pay for legal services related to your truck accident claim? What services does the firm include in those fees?
Before you sign a contract with a truck accident lawyer, you should understand what you can expect to pay for those services. Most lawyers will accept claims on a contingent fee basis. That means you will not typically have to pay upfront for legal services. Instead, you can expect to pay for your lawyer’s assistance out of a percentage of your settlement or court award once you receive it.
Make sure you know upfront what percentage of the settlement the lawyer will take. Does the percentage change if your claim has to go to court? In some cases, a lawyer may charge higher fees for the additional services required if your claim has to go to court.
In addition, ask about any legal fees not included in that amount, including filing fees. You do not want to end up with surprise fees as you handle your claim, especially if you are in a tight financial position.
6. What does the law firm focus on during the truck accident claim process?
As you work with a truck accident attorney, you must understand the law firm’s goals and how it typically approaches a truck accident case. You want an attorney whose goals and plans align with yours. Some attorneys will focus on aggressive legal representation that will maximize compensation for the client as much as possible.
Others may focus more heavily on providing a high standard of support for the client to make them feel more comfortable with the entire claim process and their ability to recover reasonable compensation. While maximizing your compensation may top your list, you also want to make sure that you choose a personal injury lawyer who will support you as you manage the claim.
Questions About Your Claim
During an initial consultation with a truck accident lawyer, you may have several questions about your claim itself. Take the time to ask these vital questions about your specific truck accident claim.
1. How much compensation does the law firm believe you should receive for your truck accident?
Talk to the lawyer about how much compensation you should expect from your truck accident claim. Knowing how much the law firm thinks you can receive offers two key benefits.
First, you need to know how much compensation you should expect so you can determine how you want to handle your finances and your claim as you move forward. Knowing how much a truck accident lawyer thinks you can make from your claim can help you decide how to best handle your medical bills, what to do about your financial situation moving forward, when to accept a settlement offer from the insurance company, and when to continue to pursue additional compensation.
Do not assume, however, that the law firm that offers the highest potential settlement offer, especially in an initial consultation, will ultimately offer the best results for your claim. If you get a number that seems wildly different from one law firm to the next, one firm may have information that the other does not, or one firm may have unrealistic expectations. Instead, look for a firm that provides realistic expectations for the compensation you can recover.
2. How long does the firm expect it to take to reach a reasonable settlement in your claim?
You should expect it to take time to settle your truck accident claim. It can take time for the insurance company and lawyer to investigate your claim. It may take considerable time to arrive at a reasonable settlement agreement based on the insurance policy terms and the injuries you may have sustained.
However, you may need to know how long you can expect it to take to manage your claim. How long does the lawyer think you will have to wait for compensation? Having an approximate timeline may make it easier for you to make medical and financial decisions in the meantime.
3. Does the lawyer have any advice for immediately after your truck accident?
Many people don’t know what comes next or what to expect when they file a truck accident claim. A truck accident lawyer may offer some basic advice as part of your initial consultation to help you decide more about your next steps. For example, a truck accident lawyer could let you know whether working with a lawyer can add benefit to your claim.
A reputable lawyer will not take a case when the lawyer feels the firm cannot add value to the claim process. A truck accident lawyer may also provide you with advice about your social media profiles and other public interactions as you manage your case. You may walk away from that initial consultation with valuable information about the claim process or steps you need to protect yourself.
4. When should you talk to the truck driver’s insurance company, and what information do you have to provide?
In general, let your lawyer deal with the truck driver’s insurance company directly whenever possible. Your lawyer can help you avoid many traps and snarls the insurance company might put in your way, making it easier to maximize the compensation you can recover for your injuries.
However, in some cases, you may need to give a statement to the insurance company, or you may need to provide information like your medical records that may help establish the extent of your injuries and the compensation you reasonably deserve for them.
Talk to a truck accident attorney about how to handle any interactions with the insurance company, including what information you should or should not provide. Make sure you know what medical records, bills, and other healthcare information you may need to provide for the insurance company to offer a reasonable settlement agreement while still protecting your privacy.
A lawyer can often handle those interactions more successfully, which may help you maximize your compensation.
5. What does the firm need from you as you manage your truck accident claim?
Before selecting a lawyer to handle your truck accident claim, you must know what the law firm will expect from you throughout the claim process.
Do you want to stay highly involved in every step of the process, with updates about any changes and the ability to make decisions about even minor details of your claim, or do you want to remain more hands-off, allowing the lawyer to work on most of the aspects of your claim while you focus on your recovery?
Make sure your idea of what the claim will look like lines up with the attorney’s plans for you so you can feel more comfortable with the entire claim process.
Do You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident, contact a truck accident lawyer who can help you learn more about your rights and maximize the compensation you can recover. Talk to a truck accident lawyer as soon after your accident as possible to get a better idea of your next steps and decide whether you have chosen the right lawyer for your needs.