Many truck accident victims think they cannot afford an attorney. However, organizing a case on your own can cost you more. Without an attorney, insurance companies and/or the courts can unjustly deny your petition.
You’re more likely to get a fair hearing with a trucking accident lawyer by your side. A Columbia truck accident lawyer can help you determine liability, create a compelling case, obtain a higher settlement, collect evidence, streamline the court case, and calculate the damages.
This article will highlight other reasons you need a semi-truck accident lawyer. Let’s explore.
7. Determining Fault
Determining fault can be tricky because the trucking industry involves multiple parties. In addition to the driver, the following parties may share the blame:
- The Driver’s Employer: Employers who hired a negligent driver are also liable. They must ensure drivers have the certification and competency to drive the trucks. If the employer forced the driver to ignore regulations, for example, the employer is at fault.
- The Parts Manufacturer: In some cases, trucking accidents occur due to defective parts. The truck could have faulty brakes or tire issues. Therefore, the manufacturer can take all or part of the blame.
Additionally, each party may share different proportions of blame. However, a trucking accident lawyer can investigate on your behalf and assign fault where necessary. Without attorney involvement, a negligent person could escape justice.
6. Crafting a Strategy
After an investigation, a lawyer can help you develop a viable case. When you go to court, you must present your case to a jury. Your story must be coherent and backed by plenty of evidence.
Before going to court, a trustworthy attorney will convey the chances of a case victory. Your lawyer can also do the following:
- Study your case
- Find witnesses and evidence
- Develop the best legal strategy based on the evidence gathered
As such, a lawyer can spare you the hassle of investigating the incident on your own. If you have a compelling case, you also need an attorney to make an effective presentation in court.
5. Settlement Negotiations
In many cases, truck accident cases don’t go to court. Instead, an insurance company may offer a settlement. However, insurance companies tend to offer meager sums during the first negotiation phase. Insurance carriers hope victims will take the money.
Additionally, insurance companies could offer a large sum upfront. However, the hefty sum is usually misleading.
- Example: An insurance company offers $50,000 if you suffered crippling injuries. However, the value of your case is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. In some cases, truck accidents command settlements in the millions of dollars.
Trucking accidents usually require higher settlements due to the serious nature of truck accidents. You’re more likely to suffer from severe injuries that require ongoing medical care.
If you have an attorney by your side, they can double the original offer through extensive negotiations. They can also tell you if the amount offered is enough money.
4. Gathering Evidence
Insurance companies will use loopholes and tricks to minimize or deny your claim. To improve your victory chances, you must have strong evidence.
Therefore, you must conduct your own investigation. An attorney can help you through the investigative process. They can help you:
- Take photos and videos of the accident scene
- Find witnesses
- Collect all of your medical bills
- Collect all bills and invoices for damaged property
Moreover, your attorney can store all of the evidence you gathered in a safe place.
3. Different Regulations
You’ll need an attorney who will help you navigate trucking regulations. For example, truckers aren’t allowed to drive more than a certain number of hours, but many drivers ignore the rule.
Often, drivers will overextend themselves to meet deadlines. Truckers must also go through intensive training and submit to drug/alcohol tests.
Further, their trucks must undergo regular maintenance. In many cases, truck accidents occur when the driver breaches a regulation. Your attorney can help you find the specific regulation broken. If they find a regulatory breach, you have a stronger case.
2. Enhanced Efficiency
An attorney can hasten the trial process. Since many people don’t have legal experience, they could fumble along the way. As a result, your claim could be dismissed. Consider the following factors when filing a case:
- Filing within state deadlines
- Filing with the correct jurisdiction
- Knowing the legal terminology
- Gathering evidence for your case
- Articulating your case in court
An attorney can help you with all of these factors. They can streamline the process and ensure your case proceeds on time.
1. Award Calculations
You may not know how much you’ll receive overall. You may be eligible for several types of awards, such as:
- Lost Income: The court will provide compensation if you’re unable to work.
- Medical Bills: The court will compel the offending party to cover your medical bills.
- Pain and Suffering: The court will grant you additional money if you suffer from long-term pain. You could also receive money if you’re contending with mental/emotional pain.
- Loss of Enjoyment: You could receive more money if the injury prevents you from doing hobbies or activities.
- Wrongful Death: This will cover funeral costs if someone dies. This category also covers medical expenses and pain and suffering.
- Loss of Companionship: The accident may have changed the relationship between you and a loved one. If the accident changes relationship dynamics, you could win additional money.
An attorney can place an accurate figure on all of the award categories. Without attorney assistance, you stand the risk of low-balling or overestimating your claim.
A Trucking Accident Lawyer Can Help You Win
People who have a lawyer are more likely to win their cases. However, it’s not enough to hire any lawyer. A trucking accident lawyer has knowledge about trucking regulations and trucking investigations.
They will help you create a cogent case that you can bring to court. If you reach the settlement phase, they will also negotiate on your behalf, allowing you to focus on recovery.
Do you need to find a personal injury lawyer in Columbia, SC? The attorneys at Burriss and Ridgeway can help.