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Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney: What You Need to Know

March 26, 2024

You’ve Been in a Truck Accident – Now What?

Getting into an accident with a semi-truck or 18-wheeler is terrifying. These massive vehicles can cause catastrophic injuries and damage. If you or a loved one were hurt in a truck crash, you need to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer ASAP.But with so many attorneys out there, how do you find the right one? Don‘t worry, we’ve got you covered. This guide explains everything you need to know about hiring a truck accident attorney who can get you the compensation you deserve.

Why You Need a Specialized Truck Accident Lawyer

You might think any personal injury attorney can handle your truck accident case. But the truth is, these cases are way more complex than a typical car crash claim. Here’s why you need a lawyer who specializes in truck accidents:

  • Federal regulations – The trucking industry is governed by tons of federal safety rules that don’t apply to regular drivers. Your lawyer needs to understand these regulations inside and out.
  • Multiple parties – In a truck crash, there could be several liable parties like the trucker, trucking company, cargo loader, etc. An experienced truck accident attorney knows how to investigate and go after ALL of them.
  • Catastrophic injuries – Truck accident injuries tend to be extremely severe like brain trauma, spinal cord damage, and amputation. You need a lawyer who can accurately value your future medical costs and lifelong needs.
  • Aggressive defense – Trucking companies have entire legal teams working to minimize payouts. You need an equally aggressive lawyer on your side who won’t back down.

Don’t risk hiring a general personal injury lawyer and getting lowballed. Truck accident cases are a whole different ballgame – you need an attorney who specializes in them.

What to Look for When Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney

So how do you find the right truck accident lawyer for your case? Here are some key things to look for:

1. Proven Truck Accident Experience

You want a lawyer who has successfully handled many truck crash cases just like yours. During the consultation, ask:

  • How many truck accident cases have you taken on?
  • What truck accident settlements or verdicts have you won recently?
  • Do you have experience dealing with the trucking companies involved in my case?

An experienced truck accident attorney will be able to provide you with real examples and results. Steer clear of lawyers who can’t back up their claims.

2. Ample Resources to Take On Trucking Companies

Truck accident cases require substantial resources for things like:

  • Hiring expert witnesses (accident reconstructionists, medical experts, etc.)
  • Conducting thorough investigations
  • Covering upfront costs while waiting for a settlement

Ask about the size of the law firm and whether they have the financial resources to fully develop your case. A small firm may struggle to match the trucking company‘s defense team.

3. Stellar Reviews and Reputation

In today’s world, you can easily research a lawyer‘s reputation online. Check out:

  • Google and Facebook reviews from past clients
  • Ratings from lawyer directories like Avvo (this Avvo link has info on finding a good attorney)
  • Testimonials on the firm’s website

You should also ask around your community for recommendations and check if the lawyer has won any professional awards or accolades.

4. Availability and Communication

After an accident, you’ll likely have lots of questions and need frequent updates. Pay attention to how responsive the lawyer is from the very first consultation:

  • Did they make time to understand your situation?
  • Do they communicate in a way you can understand?
  • Are they rushing you or making you feel like just another number?

A good truck accident attorney should be available, patient, and make you feel like a priority.

5. Contingency Fee

Most reputable truck accident lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means they only get paid if they win your case, taking a percentage of the settlement. Be wary of any attorney who wants you to pay hefty upfront fees.

Red Flags to Watch Out For

On the flip side, here are some red flags that could signal an inexperienced or unethical truck accident lawyer:

  • Overconfidence or guarantees – No lawyer can guarantee a specific outcome. Beware of those making bold promises.
  • Lack of peer recognition – They should have solid reviews, ratings, and be respected in the legal community.
  • Unwillingness to go to trial – Some lawyers just want a quick settlement. You need one willing to take your case all the way if needed.
  • Delayed communication – If they’re hard to reach from the start, that’s a bad sign for how they’ll handle your case.
  • Upfront fees – Why pay out of pocket when reputable lawyers work on contingency?

Trust your gut – if something seems off about a lawyer, keep looking. Your case is too important.

Questions to Ask a Potential Truck Accident Attorney

Don’t be afraid to grill potential lawyers during the initial consultation. Here are some great questions to ask:

  • What’s your experience with truck accident cases like mine?
  • How many cases have you taken to trial vs settling?
  • Will you personally be handling my case or handing it off?
  • What challenges do you foresee with my case and how do you plan to overcome them?
  • What experts or specialists do you typically work with on truck accident cases?
  • How do you calculate fees and costs? What’s your typical contingency percentage?
  • How long do truck accident cases like mine typically take to resolve?
  • What’s the best way for us to communicate updates on my case?

Pay close attention to how thoroughly and honestly they answer. The consultation is your chance to vet them thoroughly.

What Happens After Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer

Once you‘ve found the right truck accident attorney and signed a contingency fee agreement, here’s what you can expect:

  1. Investigation – Your lawyer will launch a full investigation into the accident to gather evidence like police reports, truck black box data, video footage, maintenance logs, and more. This proves negligence.
  2. Experts – Your attorney will likely hire various experts to reconstruct the accident, calculate damages, and prove liability. Common experts include accident reconstructionists, medical professionals, economists, and more.
  3. Demand Letter – Once they’ve built a strong case, your lawyer will send a demand letter to the trucking company’s insurer requesting a settlement amount.
  4. (Potential) Negotiations – If the insurer doesn’t accept the initial demand, your lawyer will negotiate back and forth to reach a fair settlement. They are skilled at maximizing your compensation during this process.
  5. Filing a Lawsuit – If the trucking company still refuses to pay enough, your attorney will file a lawsuit and take your case to trial if needed. This is why it’s so important to have a lawyer willing to go the distance.
  6. Potential Settlement or Trial – Depending on how negotiations go, your case could settle out of court or proceed to an actual trial in front of a judge and jury. Your lawyer will guide you through every step.

The key thing is to be patient and let your truck accident attorney do their job. These cases take time but having the right lawyer maximizes your chances of a full financial recovery.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents (And Who’s At Fault)

To build a strong case, your lawyer needs to investigate and prove exactly what caused the truck accident. Some common causes include:

Truck Driver Negligence

  • Fatigue (violating hours of service rules)
  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving (alcohol, drugs, etc.)
  • Speeding
  • Improper training

In these cases, the truck driver would be considered negligent and liable. But their employer (the trucking company) could also bear responsibility through the principle of “respondeat superior” by negligently hiring or supervising the driver.

Trucking Company Negligence

  • Forcing drivers to violate hours of service rules
  • Improper vehicle maintenance
  • Inadequate driver training or supervision
  • Violating FMCSA regulations

Even if the driver made a mistake, the trucking company could still be held liable if they had negligent policies or practices that contributed to the crash.

Vehicle Defects

  • Tire defects or blowouts
  • Brake failures
  • Lighting or signal issues
  • Other manufacturing defects

In these cases, the truck or parts manufacturer could be the liable party for producing a defective vehicle or component.

Cargo Issues

  • Improper loading causing unbalanced weight
  • Unsecured cargo
  • Hazardous materials issues

Here, the parties responsible for loading and securing the truck’s cargo could be held liable if their negligence caused or contributed to the accident.

Road Hazards

  • Poorly designed or maintained roads
  • Missing signage
  • Construction zones

In some cases, the government entity responsible for the road conditions could bear partial fault.During their investigation, your truck accident lawyer will determine all potentially liable parties and build a strong case against each one to maximize your compensation.

Damages You Can Recover in a Truck Accident Case

One of the biggest advantages of hiring an experienced truck accident attorney? They know how to accurately value your total damages and future needs. This ensures you get full compensation, not just a lowball settlement.Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to recover compensation for:

  • Medical expenses (current and future)
  • Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Punitive damages (in cases of gross negligence)

Your lawyer will calculate both your economic damages (bills, lost wages, etc.) and non-economic damages (pain/suffering, etc.) to determine a fair settlement value. They’ll also account for future costs like ongoing medical care if you suffered a permanent disability.Don’t settle for less – let your truck accident attorney make sure you’re fully compensated.

Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Claims

There are strict time limits for filing truck accident injury claims, known as the “statute of limitations.” This deadline varies by state but is typically between 1-3 years from the date of the accident.If you fail to file your claim before this deadline passes, you’ll likely lose your right to any compensation at all. That‘s why it’s so crucial to hire a truck accident lawyer immediately after your crash. They’ll ensure your claim is filed on time while handling all the other complexities.

Why Hire Our Truck Accident Attorneys?

If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident in New York, the Spodek Law Group is here to help. Our NYC truck accident lawyers have recovered millions for injured clients through aggressive representation against trucking companies and their insurers.Here’s what sets our firm apart:

  • Proven track record of multi-million dollar truck accident verdicts and settlements
  • Extensive resources to take on the largest trucking companies and insurers
  • Cutting-edge technology and expert witnesses to build unbeatable cases
  • Compassionate legal guidance every step of the way
  • Contingency fees so you don’t pay unless we win

We understand how overwhelming truck accident cases can be. Let our team handle everything from A to Z while you focus on recovering. Your initial consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose by giving us a call at [phone number].Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Our truck accident lawyers fight tirelessly to maximize your compensation. Contact us today for the skilled, aggressive representation you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much does a truck accident lawyer cost?

A: Most truck accident attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if you win your case. Typical contingency fees range from 25-40% of your total settlement or award.

Q: How long do truck accident cases take?

A: Every case is different, but most truck accident claims take 1-2 years to resolve through settlement negotiations or a trial. Your lawyer will work to resolve your case as quickly as possible while maximizing your compensation.

Q: What if I was partially at fault for the accident?

A: You may still be able to recover partial compensation through the legal doctrine of comparative negligence. An experienced truck accident lawyer can argue to minimize your percentage of fault.

Q: Should I accept the trucking company’s initial settlement offer?

A: No! Their first offer is always extremely low. Let your attorney negotiate for maximum compensation.

Q: What if the truck driver doesn’t have insurance?

A: Your lawyer can explore other avenues like the trucking company’s insurance, your own uninsured motorist coverage, or suing the driver personally.

Lawyers You Can Trust

Todd Spodek

Founding Partner

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RALPH P. FRANCHO, JR

Associate

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JEREMY FEIGENBAUM

Associate Attorney

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ELIZABETH GARVEY

Associate

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CLAIRE BANKS

Associate

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RAJESH BARUA

Of-Counsel

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CHAD LEWIN

Of-Counsel

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