The decisions you make following a commercial vehicle accident can be crucial to your efforts to obtain financial recovery for your injuries and other losses. But navigating the processes of seeking medical treatment and communicating with insurance providers can be difficult, especially in the aftermath of a physically and emotionally harrowing event.
You do not have to face these challenges alone. An experienced commercial truck accident lawyer will protect and guide you through tough choices while building a case to prove your injuries and hold the at-fault parties liable for the harm they have caused.
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What Does a Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer Do?
Even the most cut-and-dried personal injury case can be much more complicated than it initially seems. Commercial truck accidents tend to be more devastating than regular car accidents due to the size and weight of vehicles that are designed to transport cargo. This means there is usually a great amount at stake for all parties involved. Most individuals need to hire a lawyer who specializes in personal injury settlements in order to secure the best outcome.
Before hiring a truck accident injury lawyer, you may want to understand exactly what they will do and how it will benefit you. Here’s an overview of a personal injury lawyer’s role in representing a commercial truck accident client.
Communicate with Insurance Providers
Soon after the accident, you will likely receive a call from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. They will try to discuss what happened and may even try to convince you that hiring a lawyer is unnecessary. Anything you say can be used to devalue or deny your claim, which is why it’s advisable to hand the reins to a lawyer.
Commercial vehicle wrecks can be uniquely complicated because the drivers are often independent contractors who do not directly work for the company whose goods they transport. You may need to negotiate with multiple insurance providers, each of which are trying to protect their own interests and deflect blame. What’s more, the driver’s employer might be a company with extensive financial resources and a dedicated legal team. Your lawyer will deftly maintain contact with all parties in order to prevent costly communication mistakes.
Understand and Prove Your Injuries
Your lawyer will review your medical records and make sure you are receiving adequate medical care to address your injuries. They will also confirm that you have received an accurate medical diagnosis as well as consult with medical experts to understand the implications of your condition. Medical documentation is absolutely vital to proving injuries, which is why it’s important to seek any necessary medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident.
Investigate the Accident and Determine Legal Liability
When it comes to commercial vehicle accidents, there is often more than meets the eye. The at-fault party may be the truck driver, the trucking company, or the owner of the truck if they are a third party contracted to work with the trucking company.
Commercial drivers and vehicles are subject to strict governmental regulation, and even a seemingly insignificant slip-up around these rules can have devastating effects. Your lawyer will seek to uncover the story behind your accident and demonstrate that the company caused your injury by prioritizing profits over safety, perhaps by failing to do the following:
- Adequately train drivers
- Screen candidates for criminal convictions and drug use, as well as make sure new hires’ commercial licenses are valid and up to date
- Maintain vehicles
- Adhere to the Department of Transportation’s hours-of-service (HoS) regulations, which determine the maximum time spent driving and frequency/duration of rest breaks
Companies often put pressure on their drivers to meet demanding delivery schedules. This can result in drivers feeling the need to drive while fatigued, or even to drive aggressively and recklessly, just to stay employed.
Your lawyer will speak with witnesses, gather evidence, and obtain available documents such as records from the Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) database. This shows a company or driver’s history of traffic, maintenance, and crash violations. Some documents, such as internal company records, may only be obtained through the discovery process, which requires filing a lawsuit. However, your lawyer will obtain as much information as possible prior to making that decision.
Establish the Value of Your Case
Your lawyer will determine the types and value of losses for which you may be able to receive compensation, as well as potential sources of compensation. In addition to seeking recovery for medical bills and lost wages, your lawyer will consult with medical experts to establish future medical costs and quality of life changes that could impact the value of your settlement.
File a Lawsuit If Necessary
Your personal injury case will likely be settled out of court. But knowing when to file a lawsuit requires discernment. Your lawyer will know when and if it’s time to take your case to court in order to have the best chance of receiving a fair settlement.
Can I Receive Legal Advice Before Hiring a Lawyer?
At FVF, we understand that choosing a lawyer to represent you in your commercial truck accident case is a momentous decision. We offer free case consultations so that you can better understand your case and the benefit of hiring an experienced FVF lawyer.
Should you choose to hire an FVF truck accident injury lawyer, you will receive critical support and advocacy that will put you in the best position to receive financial recovery and get your life back on track. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-commitment consultation.