How a Lawyer Helps With a Truck Accident Lawsuit
Each year, there are roughly 38,000 commercial vehicle accidents, so it is no surprise that truck accident lawsuits are a very common lawsuit type. Though every case is different, most lawsuits will still require a lawyer with a specific set of skills. During a truck lawsuit, you can expect your attorney to provide these sorts of services.
Giving You Advice
One of the first and most essential things that a truck accident lawyer will do is simply give you advice. Most lawsuits start with a consultation where your lawyer will sit down and discuss your case with you. They will try to learn about your situation and give you suggestions on how to proceed. A lawyer will not tell you exactly what to do, but they can let you know if they think that you have a case or not. Your lawyer can help you figure out what steps to follow and whether or not to settle before your case goes to court.
Collecting Essential Evidence
Once a trucking accident attorney agrees to take your case, they will start trying to document the accident. This is important because it can provide proof for your lawsuit. In some cases, your lawyer can get evidence for your case just by doing basic research. However, they might also need to talk to the police or the court to formally request certain information. A lawyer might do many things to collect evidence, including:
- Getting witness statements from people who saw the accident
- Collecting footage from video cameras near the accident
- Going over the police reports from the accident
- Looking into the truck driver’s background, especially their history of prior drug usage or unsafe driving
- Seeing if the driver or the company violated any trucking or employment laws
- Having you go to a doctor to document your injuries
- Reviewing driver service logs, vehicle inspection records, and other documentation
- Hiring an expert to determine whether the truck crashed because of mechanical issues or driver error
Assessing the Damages That You Experienced
After a truck accident, most people only think of their immediate expenses, like paying for a new car and paying their medical bills. However, a truck accident attorney has the experience needed to see the true impact of the accident. Their years of working with truck accident victims can help them recognize other expenses that you may face. You can ask for compensation to help cover costs from the time you cannot work or money to pay for therapy needed for the mental trauma that you endured.
A lawyer’s ability to calculate damages is important because it tells you how much money you should seek in a trucking accident lawsuit or insurance claim. Without input from a lawyer, you could be leaving much-needed money on the table. Your lawyer will do more than just recommend how much money you should be asking for. They will also gather proof to support their claims and help you logically explain your request for compensation.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
In almost all truck accident cases, the trucker or their employer does not directly pay out any funds to injured parties. Instead, their liability insurance will be the one paying for legal fees, court-ordered compensation, and other funds. Therefore, one of your first steps should typically be to file a claim with the insurance company.
Having a lawyer on your side makes the insurance claim process a lot easier. Your lawyer can figure out which insurance company to contact and formally notify them of the accident. Having a lawyer to represent you can show the insurance company that you mean business. Your lawyer may be able to convince them to go ahead and pay you a decent compensation without requiring you to spend any time in court.
Filing Your Lawsuit and Other Legal Documents
It is extremely rare for truck accident cases to actually go all the way to court. In most cases, lawyers can negotiate a satisfactory settlement with the trucking company and its insurers. However, there are some cases where one party is too stubborn to actually offer you a decent settlement. In these situations, you would end up needing to proceed with the lawsuit itself.
These situations give your lawyer even more work to do on your behalf. When you file a lawsuit, you have to follow all sorts of legal steps, including:
- Filing a complaint with the court that describes the case and asks for compensation
- Notifying the defendant about the lawsuit with a formal summons to court
- Replying to any counterclaim that the defendant makes after receiving the summons
- Submitting requests for evidence during the discovery phase
- Providing the court with documentation prior to the court date
- Submitting appeals if you do not agree with the outcome of the lawsuit
Each one of these steps has to be done at the right time with the right paperwork. A lawyer’s expertise and attention to detail ensure that nothing goes wrong. They will prepare all relevant documents and make sure that they are sent to the right person at the right time.
Negotiating on Your Behalf
After you submit your initial insurance claim and file your lawsuit, negotiations start right away. These negotiations consist of the trucking company and their legal team trying to convince you to drop your lawsuit in exchange for a payout. Typically, there is a lot of back and forth during these negotiations. They may start with a very low offer or try to get you to reduce your requested amount of compensation.
Handling negotiations yourself is a bad idea since it is easy to get emotional and make mistakes. The unbiased input of a lawyer is very useful. Your trucking accident lawyer can help you explain exactly why your requested settlement is fair. They can bargain to get as high of a settlement as possible, and they can help you with drafting, reading, understanding, and signing any settlement documents. This ensures that you get what you want and do not end up accidentally signing rights away.
Presenting Your Case in Court
If things actually get taken all the way to court, your trucking accident lawyer will be very helpful. During your court order, the lawyer can give you tips on how to follow protocol and behave appropriately. Your lawyer will interact with the other side for you, so you don’t have to worry about your emotions getting in the way of your case. Having a lawyer to speak on your behalf ensures that your case is explained as clearly and logically as possible.
Getting a lawyer who will work for you during your court case can make a big difference in your eventual outcome. All the complex language and legal precedents brought up in a court case can get a little confusing if you do not have a legal background. However, your lawyer has the expertise and knowledge needed to process this information and respond appropriately.
At RAM Law, we are happy to offer all these essential services to those considering a truck accident lawsuit. Conveniently located in New Brunswick, Somerville, and Freehold, our team can assist you with each step of your lawsuit. To schedule a free consultation now, call 732-247-3600 or fill out our online contact form.