What Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Do? - Hensley Legal Group, PC

What Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Do?

Truck accidents can be some of the most devastating events on the road. Each year, thousands of Americans are killed in collisions involving trucks, while even non-fatal truck accidents can inflict serious injuries that may be beyond the means of many families. Though recovery may be possible with a personal injury case, success is not […]

March 29, 2024

Truck accidents can be some of the most devastating events on the road. Each year, thousands of Americans are killed in collisions involving trucks, while even non-fatal truck accidents can inflict serious injuries that may be beyond the means of many families.

Though recovery may be possible with a personal injury case, success is not guaranteed, which is why many plaintiffs could benefit from working with a truck accident lawyer. What does a truck accident lawyer do? Join us as we examine how a truck accident attorney can help you get what you deserve.

Truck Accidents Pose a Grave Danger to the Public

There are about 13.5 million trucks weighing at least 10,000 pounds registered throughout the country, and states like Indiana permit loaded semi-trailers as heavy as 80,000 pounds to travel within their borders. With vehicles of that size, there might be no such thing as a “minor” truck accident. Indeed, truck accidents pose a grave danger to the public, with trucks involved in about one-ninth of all deadly traffic accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 5,788 people were killed in truck accidents in the United States just in 2021 – 17 percent more truck-related deaths than in the previous year. Given the physical disparity between a commercial truck and the typical passenger car, it may be unsurprising that 72 percent of the decedents in these truck accidents were the occupants of the other vehicles, not the trucks themselves.

While the number of deaths from truck accidents is staggering, the number of truck-related injuries is even greater, with 117,300 large truck accidents resulting in injury in 2021, a 12 percent increase from 2020.

Furthermore, truck accident injuries have risen by 15 percent overall in the most recent five years on record, which is a highly disturbing development given how punishing truck accident injuries can be, including:

· Brain damage

· Concussion and post-concussion syndrome

· Spinal cord trauma

· Partial or total paralysis

· Fractured bones

· Herniated discs

· Loss of limbs

· Punctured or ruptured internal organs

· Burns

· Disfigurement

· Coma

Injuries of this nature could necessitate extensive medical care that may come at a cost that only a select few could afford, very quickly putting truck accident victims and their loved ones on a path to ruin.

Can You Handle Your Own Truck Accident Case?

Truck accidents can be catastrophic, but the good news is that you may be eligible to recover the resources to get back on track by pursuing a case against the ones responsible. If you happen to be contemplating such a case, it is only normal to wonder if you need to hire one of the personal injury attorneys you have seen advertised on television, billboards, or the internet, or if you can just handle your own truck accident case.

While you are entitled to represent yourself for your truck accident, you may soon run into difficulties that could stall your truck accident case before it has even begun.

For instance, you may not know how to initiate a claim against all the liable parties and their insurers. And even if you make it past that hurdle, your troubles may multiply when you try to negotiate with an insurance company directly. This may be your first truck accident, but it will not be the first for the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim, who may have already negotiated hundreds of truck accident cases or more, some of which may have been very similar to yours.

An insurance company can use your relative inexperience against you, either offering you an insufficient settlement or even denying your claim altogether, leaving you with little or no recourse, especially if you cannot credibly threaten to take the case to court.

A Truck Accident Lawyer Can Make a Difference

This is where a truck accident lawyer can make a difference. An experienced attorney can bring a wide range of assets to the table that may be invaluable in establishing, building, and litigating a viable truck accident case.

While no two cases are exactly alike, we would like to explore some of the core services that you can expect if you retain a truck accident lawyer.

Your Truck Accident Will Be Thoroughly Investigated

Every personal injury case must show both negligence and damages. Negligence is the failure to exercise care to avoid causing harm, commonly known as damages. If a plaintiff has suffered bodily damages because of a defendant’s negligence, that plaintiff can go after the defendant for financial damages.

The same holds true for your truck accident case, in which you will need to prove that a defendant (or defendants) negligently caused a truck accident in which you sustained damages. With this goal in mind, your attorney will begin your case by conducting a thorough investigation to reveal the root causes of your truck accident and everyone who might be at fault for it.

Large trucks and semi-trailers are chiefly used for commercial transportation, an industry that is fueled by the participation of 1.86 million trucking companies and countless individuals and entities nationwide. Many hands may take part in completing a single shipment by truck, and they could all share blame when that shipment goes horribly wrong.

For example, the driver of the truck could bear responsibility, as could the owner of the truck (if separate from the driver) and any company making use of the truck at the time of a crash (if separate from the owner).

Depending on the circumstances leading up to the truck accident, others could be liable as well. An outside servicing agent could be held accountable if a truck accident is caused by a mechanical breakdown, along with the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of a defective truck component linked to that breakdown. And because the trucking company itself may not have loaded or secured the cargo being hauled, the company responsible for those tasks could be culpable if improperly loaded or secured cargo causes a truck accident. In some situations, multiple parties might have varying degrees of legal liability simultaneously, for which they might have varying degrees of fiscal liability.

A lawyer will uncover the causes of your truck accident and every potential defendant within the time allotted by law, since failure to do so could bar you from full recovery.

A Valid Claim Will Be Established

Once your attorney has located the parties who may be responsible for your truck accident, he or she will establish a valid claim against all of them, sending formal notification in writing to the defendants and any insurers who have applicable coverage.

If needed, your truck accident lawyer can file a lawsuit as well. This will entail filing a complaint in a court with the power to hear your case and issue a binding judgment on the defendants. The complaint must name every defendant, who must each be served with a copy of it.

Lawsuits that are not filed correctly in the appropriate venue can be dismissed, the kind of oversight that should not happen with a meticulous truck accident attorney on your case.

Proof of Negligence Will Be Secured

While identifying and taking action against every defendant is critical, you may not get the compensation that your case warrants without proving negligence on the part of the defendants and conveying the totality of your losses from the truck accident.

Veteran truck accident lawyers will know what constitutes robust evidence of negligence and will work tirelessly to obtain it, acting to prohibit its destruction and coordinating their efforts with experts in their field if need be. In a truck accident case, this evidence may include:

· Police reports

· Traffic citations and dispositions

· Crash site photos

· Dash cam, streetlight, and surveillance footage

· Black box data

· Eyewitness statements

· Phone records

· Hours of Service (HOS) and vehicular inspection logs

· Forensic analysis and accident reconstruction

Your Damages Will Be Fully Conveyed

Evidence of negligence is absolutely essential to your truck accident case, but it is only one part of the equation. Assuming liability is clear, your level of remuneration will primarily be based upon your damages from the truck accident, which must be fully conveyed to an insurance company, judge, or jury. A truck accident lawyer can make an indispensable contribution to your case by accurately assessing your damages and then doing whatever it takes to recover a settlement or verdict that reflects their true value.

Injuries are at the heart of any truck accident case. Even if you were injured prior to your truck accident, it is doubtful that you have ever evaluated an injury in strictly economic terms before. Consequently, you may not be able to say with genuine authority what your injuries are actually “worth” or if an insurance company’s offer for them is too low – something that your truck accident lawyer will have done many times before.

Novice truck accident plaintiffs are also likely to focus only on their current or short-term damages, such as bills and co-payments for the medical treatment they have received. However, a truck accident can produce both short-term and long-term damages, with complications that may not emerge until later on, when they will require more treatment at additional expense. If you accept an offer that only takes the short-term damages into consideration, you may be left to cover these long-term damages entirely on your own because you had no idea that you should have anticipated them. But a proficient attorney will be aware of the long-term impact of a truck accident and take pains to make sure that you are adequately compensated for it.

A truck accident lawyer will further watch out for both the monetary and non-monetary damages that may arise from a truck accident. Monetary damages are the losses that have a price tag associated with them, such as medical bills or wages lost because of your injuries. Non-monetary damages are more subjective, like pain and suffering or reduced quality of living. These losses may not come with a receipt attached, but they can sometimes have a more profound and prolonged impact than your monetary damages.

A dedicated attorney will work to get you compensated for all of your losses from a truck accident, whether they are short-term or long-term, monetary or non-monetary, including:

· Past, present, and future medical expenses

· Lost wages

· Diminished earning capacity

· Pain and suffering

· Psychological and emotional trauma

· Reduced quality of living

· Permanent impairment

· Loss of consortium

· Punitive and wrongful death damages (if relevant)

A Settlement Can Be Negotiated

After putting together an airtight truck accident case, one that definitively demonstrates the liability of the defendants and exhaustively catalogs your losses, your truck accident lawyer will enter into negotiations with the at-fault parties’ liability insurance carriers, who are the main sources of recovery in most truck accident cases. How much you can receive will depend upon the strength of the case presented during these negotiations as well as the maximum insurance coverage available.

Because your attorney will have had far more experience negotiating with insurance companies than you have had, he or she will be able to meet the adjuster on equal footing during this phase of your case. Your truck accident lawyer will have encountered all of the standard insurance company tricks and be able to avoid the amateur mistakes that might otherwise doom your claim.

And since your attorney will know what your truck accident is worth, he or she will endeavor to match or exceed that figure, refusing to let the insurance companies settle for less no matter how hard they try. In fact, statistics suggest that you are far likelier to get top dollar with a lawyer at your side. The Insurance Research Council has found that personal injury plaintiffs with attorneys receive settlements or judgments that are 3.5 times higher than the ones obtained by plaintiffs who represent themselves, while a different study discovered that 85 percent of the funds paid out by insurance companies go to claimants with lawyers.

Your Attorney Can Represent You in Court

The bulk of truck accident cases are settled outside of the courtroom, and even an unfair denial can be overcome by an adept truck accident lawyer. When faced with a rock-solid case that convincingly details the plaintiff’s damages and the defendant’s guilt, an adjuster may agree to reverse a denial and tender a healthy settlement instead of risking a worse outcome at trial.

But sometimes a trial may be necessary when an obstinate adjuster refuses to negotiate in good faith. During moments like these, it is crucial to have a truck accident attorney who can be your staunch advocate before a judge or jury, since plaintiffs who represent themselves at trial win their cases only about 4 percent of the time.

In contrast, having a lawyer in your corner will make you more likely to win at trial, though the amount awarded will depend upon how compellingly your attorney can present your case in court. If a skilled litigator manages to paint a vivid portrait of your damages, you may be able to receive a significant verdict or judgment that might even surpass what you could have gotten in a negotiated settlement. And should a trial not be decided in your favor, your truck accident lawyer may be able to appeal the decision if certain conditions are met.

Even though most truck accident cases do not go to trial, it is always important to retain attorneys with courtroom victories under their belt in case yours does, like the accomplished truck accident lawyers at Hensley Legal Group.

Your Lawyer Can Keep You Out of Debt

Major truck accidents can leave you in major debt, and the bill collectors will not simply go away after you receive a verdict or settlement. Fortunately, many creditors will accept a lesser payment that is reasonable rather than hold out for a full payment they can never hope to get, thereby bringing the calls and collection notices to an end and preserving your credit rating.

If there are medical liens, letters of protection, or liens from insurance companies, lenders, and government agencies on your file, your truck accident attorney will strive to negotiate them down to the bare minimum so that you can walk away from your case debt free.

How to Find a Truck Accident Lawyer

The advantages of working with an attorney for your truck accident may now be more apparent, though you may still have questions about what to do next, such as “How do I find a truck accident lawyer near me?”

There are a variety of ways you can connect with a truck accident attorney who is right for you. You could ask for recommendations from friends and family members who have worked with truck accident lawyers or personal injury attorneys before, or you could call the bar association in your state for guidance. If you do online research on truck accident lawyers in your area, pay close attention to reviews and testimonials, which may give you a better sense of an attorney’s reputation. (Hensley Legal Group has received more than 4,000 five-star review on Google from satisfied clients.)

Once you have narrowed down the list of candidates, consider meeting with lawyers in person so you can learn more about them and what they will do for you. How many clients have these truck accident attorneys represented? How often have they gone to trial, and what were the results? You and your truck accident lawyer will have a close working relationship for months or even years to come, so it is vital to be comfortable with the one you choose.

Getting Justice for Hoosiers

If you have been hurt in a truck accident, the Indiana truck accident lawyers at Hensley Legal Group will be here for you. We have been fighting for Hoosiers for more than 25 years, and we are eager to get justice for you and the ones you love.

Call or text us at (317) 472-3333, chat with us online, or fill out our contact form now for a free case review with a knowledgeable Indiana truck accident attorney.