According to the Indianapolis Star, Indiana had an 8.1% increase in fatal traffic accidents in 2020. Unfortunately, these deaths happened despite there being fewer drivers on the road due to stay-at-home orders. The number of vehicles on expressways, interstates and freeways in Indiana rural areas dipped more than 12 percent in 2020. Drivers on Hoosier roads are sharing the road with semi-trucks. An accident with a truck may result in disastrous consequences, but a truck accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.
The Trouble With Semi-Trucks Stopping
A semi-truck’s size and weight make it take longer to slow down, and air brakes increase the distance needed for it to stop. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, trucks need 20-40 percent more room to stop than a passenger car.
Bringing a truck to a halt can be even more dangerous if the driver has a short reaction time. Braking quickly can cause the vehicle to jackknife, swinging the trailer out of alignment.
Other Truck Hazards
Other factors can be at play too. If the road is wet and slippery, the truck’s brakes are poorly maintained, or the driver is tired, accidents can be more likely to happen.
Your chances of being in a crash with a semi-truck don’t stop just because you’re driving off of the interstate. In 2019, 51 percent of fatal truck crashes occurred on major roads other than interstates or freeways.
The aftermath of a semi-truck accident can be much different than that of a crash with another passenger vehicle. The fault can apply to several other parties, including:
- The trucking company
- The truck manufacturer
- The company for whom the trucking business hauls products
- The company that loaded the truck
With so many parties involved, the insurance companies don’t back down. They can find a chance to place blame in several different directions and rarely worry about the injured party’s best interests.
Finding a Good Truck Accident Attorney
What does this mean if you’ve been in a semi-truck accident? You can benefit from talking to a lawyer who understands how truck accident claims work. These claims require a professional who takes quick action and has experience with truck accidents.
Before talking to a semi-truck accident attorney, consider preparing a list of questions to take along with you to the initial consultation. That way, you can remember to get all the answers you need.
Truck Accident Knowledge
Because a truck accident case involves many parties, the lawyer you choose needs to know who to question. They also need to uncover certain kinds of evidence specific to a truck accident such as:
- Driver training records
- Vehicle maintenance reports
- Compliance with state and federal regulations
It is important that you choose a lawyer familiar with the details of truck accidents. You don’t want anything about your case to be overlooked.
Questions To Ask About Truck Accident Experience
To find out what the lawyer knows about truck accident cases, you can ask questions such as:
- How many truck accident cases have you handled?
- How many of those cases were successful?
- How many cases were settled instead of going to trial?
- Are any of the cases you’ve handled similar to this one?
Find out if the truck accident lawyer is a member of any professional legal organization, such as the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys.
Questions To Ask About Your Own Claim
No two crashes are the same. The accident in which you were involved is unique. However, your truck accident lawyer should be familiar with any aspects that are common in truck crashes.
To find out how the truck accident attorney plans to handle your case, you should ask:
- What damages you can expect to recover: Damages are compensation for your losses. They can include medical expenses, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and lost wages. You can also ask how much you may expect to receive.
- How you will receive compensation: Your lawyer may file a claim with the trucking company’s insurance provider. Big trucking companies often retain teams of lawyers to handle these types of cases. This means the attorney needs to know how to negotiate with truck companies and their legal staff.
- With whom you will work most often: Find out if you will usually work with the attorney you’re speaking to. You may also work with support staff or another lawyer.
- If your case is expected to go to trial: If your attorney cannot get the truck insurance company to reach a settlement, you will need a lawyer to help you take your case to court.
- How much involvement you will have in the decision-making: Find out how often you can expect to receive updates and how you can reach the attorney if you have questions.
Attorney Fees and Compensation
You may be hesitant to hire a law firm if you think you will owe money you don’t have. What if you lose your case? In that situation, how will you pay the law firm?
Talk to the attorney about how the firm receives compensation. Does it work on contingency? A contingency fee is money the firm receives out of the compensation awarded to you. In such cases, you do not owe the firm money if you don’t receive any from your claim.
Find out if the law firm requires any fees or money up front, such as deposits, retaining fees or hourly charges.
Preparing for Your Consultation
On the day you meet with the truck accident lawyer for the first time, bring the documents pertaining to your case. That way you can have an efficient meeting with the attorney.
What To Bring
Bring your list of prepared questions. Also take along a pen and notepad so that you can jot down information. If you prefer, you may ask for permission to record your consultation so that you can go back and listen to it later. Whichever method you choose, it’s important to collect and preserve any information so that you don’t forget anything.
There are several kinds of documents likely to be related to your case. They can help your meeting be more efficient and informative. Take along any of these records if you have them:
- Police report
- Witness statements, if any
- Photos of the accident scene and vehicle damage
- Information about the trucking company and its insurance provider
- Truck driver information, if available
- Your medical records
- Your insurance information
Why You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer After Your Crash
The trucking and insurance companies know that many crash victims don’t have the time, experience or resources to deal with claims themselves. They will probably try to get you to accept a settlement offer that is far lower than the fair value of your claim. A legal professional on your side can negotiate on your behalf and calculate a reasonable compensation amount.
Call Hensley Legal Group Today To Get The Help You Need
You deserve to get the full amount of what you are owed after a truck accident. Hensley Legal Group has experience with these types of collisions. When you are the victim of negligence in a semi-truck crash, we are prepared to fight for you so that you receive the compensation you need for your medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages. Call or visit our office or reach out on our website 24/7 for a free conversation.