Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer: What Really Goes On
If you get injured in a truck accident, but you’re not at fault, there’s a good chance that you’ll have a valid claim. You must speak with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to determine if you have a valid case and if you’ll receive compensation. Whether your case settles or goes to trial, your lawyer will be extremely busy getting the best possible outcome. After all, they get paid on a contingency fee basis. That means that if you lose the case, then they won’t be getting anything.
But what does a truck accident lawyer really do to win the case? Let’s have a quick look at the aspects of your lawyer’s role during a truck accident case.
What happens when you hire a truck accident lawyer?
When you hire a truck accident lawyer to represent you, you can expect them to be busy with so many things. The first thing they’ll do to help you with your case is to get as much information as they can. By that, we’re referring to the relevant details regarding the extent and nature of your injuries. Your lawyer will also have to find a determination of fault for the accident, which includes the following:
- Hospital bills
- Medical treatment history
- Official government reports
- Police reports
- Surveillance video footage
- Witness statements
Once the lawyer has obtained these pieces of information, they will submit their demand to the at-fault driver’s truck insurance firm.
If this demand leads to a settlement offer, then your lawyer will be responsible for reviewing it with you. During this review process, they will recommend how to respond to their offer. The initial settlement offer isn’t always the final offer – it can still change. Before accepting the settlement, there has to be a full understanding of the scope of the injuries you suffer from, as well as other losses, which includes all future medical treatment you’ll need and the impact of your injuries on your ability to work.
What if you don’t get your desired outcome? After the settlement negotiations, if your lawyer is not able to get your desired amount, then this would lead to a trial. Your lawyer will have to prepare to bring this case to court.
The role of a truck accident lawyer in the litigation process
The truck accident lawsuit begins when you file the complaint – a legal document that lists all your legal arguments. It also contains the facts that support those legal arguments and what you demand as compensation. After filing the complaint and serving it on the defendant, the defendant will then file a response to your complaint.
After filing the complaint, the discovery begins. This is the part of the litigation process where the two parties exchange information. This information could serve as evidence during the trial. In most truck accident cases, this stage will involve requests for documents, depositions, and interrogations. What makes this unbearable is that the discovery process can take months to complete.
The trial begins once the discovery is over. Your truck accident lawyer may file different pre-trial motions during this stage. Pre-trial motions will keep the defendant from using any piece of evidence during the trial. It’s not common for truck accident lawsuits to reach the trial phase. At any point during this process, settlement may be possible – it can be right up to or during the trial phase.
Your truck accident lawyer will be responsible for all the aspects of the litigation phase. They will make sure to keep you in the loop regarding the progress of the case.
Things you should remember after hiring a truck accident lawyer
Once you hire a truck accident lawyer for your case, you need to remember the following:
Always update your lawyer
Always notify your lawyer of whatever you’re doing. If you already finished your medical treatment, your lawyer should know. If you receive additional documents or medical bills validating your damages claim, inform your lawyer right away, and send them copies of the necessary documents. Inform your lawyer if someone tries to get in touch with you on behalf of the defendant.
And most importantly, if you face financial struggles resulting from your accident, then tell your lawyer right away. Your lawyer can recommend other avenues of financial support. They may also offer help in dealing with the creditors.
Never discuss the specifics of your case with anyone except your lawyer.
If you receive a call from someone that you’re not familiar with, even if it’s from an insurance adjuster, never bring up your case in the conversation. Only discuss your case with your lawyer or any representative from the lawyer’s office. If they have concerns or questions regarding the case, always refer them to your lawyer. Also, don’t sign any document related to your case, unless your lawyer advises you to.
Your lawyer may be unable to respond to your calls and e-mails
We know that lawyers have to respond to their clients within a certain amount of time. However, they also have other things to do – perhaps working on another case, preparing depositions, etc.
With that said, you also need to remember that there’s a difference between being busy and not updating you at all. Your lawyer should not keep you in the dark when it comes to the status of your case. If there’s a settlement offer, your lawyer should not accept or reject it, unless you have given your permission.
Whether you win or lose the case, your lawyer will be there to make the necessary arrangements to collect the money from the defendant. They will have to get in touch with the defendant’s insurance firm and get them to send you a check. If your case settles, you’re most likely going to sign some settlement release forms. These forms serve as an agreement that you promise to end your case against the defendant or that you won’t sue them anymore.