If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one in a commercial trucking accident, it’s in your best interest to retain an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer right away. While there’s no legal requirement that you be represented by an attorney, there are several reasons you should think twice before going it alone.
Some of those reasons are common to all car accidents and other motor vehicle accidents, while others are specific to truck accidents. Let’s start with the general ones:
- Insurance companies don’t always play fair. That means attempting to negotiate your own settlement with the responsible party’s insurance carrier is risky. Some will try to rush you into a quick settlement before you know the full extent of your injuries, cutting off your access to compensation for future medical expenses. Others will drag out negotiations in hopes that you won’t notice the statute of limitations is expiring, meaning you could lose your right to sue entirely.
- The process of filing a personal injury lawsuit is a sea of technical requirements, deadlines, disclosure requirements, formatting specifications and more, before you even get into the substantive legal issues. If you try to proceed without an attorney, you don’t get a free pass on these requirements. It’s up to you to educate yourself in detail about the processes and requirements or risk hurting your case–or even having it dismissed.
- In many auto accident cases, expert witnesses are required to establish causation and/or damages. An experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer will know when an expert is required and will generally have a network to draw on to locate and hire the right witness for your case.
- If you’re not represented by an attorney, the insurance company may assume you’re not prepared to go to trial. They may also believe–perhaps correctly–that you’re not aware of all of the types of compensation you should be entitled to. That can impact the amount of the settlement they offer, and even their decision as to whether to offer a settlement.
These are just a few of the pitfalls and disadvantages an unrepresented injury victim faces in a motor vehicle accident case. Commercial truck accidents are generally more complicated and are often higher stakes. That means it’s also important to work with an experienced truck accident lawyer because:
- It may be difficult to determine who is liable for the crash. Many commercial truck drivers are independent contractors, while others are employees. Both contractors and employees may answer directly to the company shipping the goods they’re carrying or to a shipping company the shipper contracts with. The legal issues involving liability when there are multiple parties involved can be complex, particularly when the driver is a contractor rather than an employee. If you sue the wrong person or leave someone out, you may significantly reduce the compensation available–or lose your case entirely.
- Truck accident cases often involve out of state defendants. Suing people and companies in other states can raise procedural complications. An experienced truck accident attorney will know how to navigate those procedures and achieve service on out-of-state defendants.
- Truck accident cases often involve significant damages. Because of the size, weight, and momentum of a commercial truck, injuries are often severe and fatalities are common. The more that’s at stake in a claim, the more likely the insurance company is to pull out all the stops and fight to minimize or avoid the payout. Most people aren’t prepared for the tactics insurance companies and their lawyers employ, but an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer will know exactly what to expect and will be prepared to defend your interests.
- Truck accident cases can be technically complex. More specialized experts may be required to establish causation in a commercial trucking accident.
- Truck accident cases often involve a web of state and federal laws. While motor vehicle accident cases are typically tried in state courts under state tort law, commercial truck drivers and their vehicles are subject to a number of federal safety regulations. Thus, it’s important to work with an attorney who is familiar and comfortable with both sets of laws, and understands how violations of federal regulations may be used to establish negligence in a state court proceeding.
Attorney Kevin P. Broderick has extensive experience representing people who have been injured or lost loved ones in motor vehicle accidents. He knows that it’s not just important to hire a truck accident lawyer but to find the right truck accident lawyer for you. He offers free consultations so you can get your questions answered and make sure you’re making the right choice for you and your family. Schedule yours right now by calling 978-459-3085 or filling out the contact form on this site.
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