What Will Happen in My Truck Accident Case?
If you or someone you love was hit by a truck, your life probably feels like it’s been torn to pieces. The injuries are extremely serious, and you want to hold the people who did this accountable. However, you aren’t sure where to start or what the process of getting justice will look like.
The most important steps you can take now are to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer and to get ready for what comes next. By knowing what happens in a truck accident case and having the right attorney on your side, you can give yourself the best chance to get justice and compensation for your losses.
In this article, we’ll talk about the steps of your truck accident case, and we’ll also explain some of the factors that make your case different from a typical car crash.
1. Case Evaluation
If a truck crash just happened to someone you love, you can take some immediate helpful steps, like gathering the names of all the witnesses and getting the police report. For more information, read our helpful checklist on this topic.
However, it’s okay if you weren’t able to gather any evidence on your own after the crash — most victims can’t. An experienced truck wreck attorney should know how to investigate the crash and uncover all the evidence.
When you meet with your attorney, they’ll ask for any documentation you have of the crash and your medical treatment, including medical records and any medical bills you had to pay. If you don’t have these items organized, don’t worry — your attorney should help you.
Your attorney will talk to you about your case and try to gather as much information as they can. They’ll try to determine whether or not the crash happened because of negligent behavior. For example, maybe the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel or drove a poorly maintained vehicle.
If the attorney can take your case, they’ll give you a retainer agreement for their services. This document will discuss important information like attorney’s fees, the fact that you’re entering into an attorney-client relationship, and how you can cancel the agreement if you want to find a different lawyer.
Once the attorney takes your case, they should launch a painstaking investigation of the crash. This investigation will take time, but it’s critical to the outcome of your case.
While the investigation goes on, your attorney will start moving your legal case forward. Your attorney won’t file a lawsuit right away. Instead, they’ll file a personal injury demand letter with the trucker’s insurance company. The demand will include the amount of money you would accept, which your attorney will discuss with you beforehand.
If the insurance company accepts the demand, you’ll receive a payment (minus attorney’s fees) and your case will end. If the insurance company has a counteroffer, your attorney will negotiate and try to reach a settlement that’s acceptable to you. If the insurance company won’t pay you a fair settlement, then your attorney will proceed with a lawsuit.
3. Filing the Lawsuit and Litigation
The next step is to file a claim in court for your personal injury lawsuit. Your lawyer should handle this process while keeping you informed.
Once you file the lawsuit, your case will enter the discovery phase. During this phase, your attorney and the defendant’s attorney will exchange evidence and any other relevant documentation.
If there were witnesses to the crash, like a police officer or another driver, those witnesses will go through deposition, which involves questioning under oath. A court transcriber will take the information down during the deposition and make it available to the court if the case goes to trial. You might also have to go through a deposition, but your attorney should let you know well in advance and prepare you.
During the litigation process, your attorney will keep negotiating with the insurance company, and your case could still settle at any time. The two sides might also work with a mediator to try and reach a fair settlement.
Most truck accident cases settle before they go to trial. But sometimes, the insurance company won’t make a fair settlement offer. If this happens to you, then your case will go to trial.
4. Going to Trial
If your case goes to a trial, a jury will hear both sides of the argument and decide what compensation you should receive. The jury could also decide you aren’t entitled to anything. That’s the risk of a trial, so it’s important to take reasonable settlement offers seriously. Your lawyer should work with you to help you decide whether a settlement offer is fair.
If either side isn’t happy with the case’s outcome and thinks they can prove they didn’t receive a fair trial, they can ask a higher court to change or throw out the decision. This process is called an appeal. Your lawyer should work with you to decide whether filing an appeal makes sense or to prepare for the process if the other side files.
How Truck Accident Cases Are Different
Even if you’ve been in a car accident before and filed a personal injury claim, you may have a very different experience with your truck accident case. There are lots of complicated regulations that govern the trucking industry, so it’s essential to hire an attorney who understands these regulations and has successfully handled truck accident cases before.
Trucking companies also have much larger insurance policies than most ordinary drivers have, and the insurance company will do whatever they can to stop you from filing a lawsuit or getting a large settlement. They may even cover up evidence, hire a private investigator to spy on you, or resort to other underhanded tactics. So, it’s critical to work with an experienced attorney who can fight back against these types of insurance company tactics and make sure the playing field in your case is fair.
Contact Seattle Truck Law Today If You’ve Been Hurt in a Trucking Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving a large truck or bus, please contact Morgan Adams and the Seattle Truck Law team today. We’ll listen to your story and advise you about your legal options during a free consultation. When you choose us to represent you, we’ll investigate all the causes of the crash that injured you and pursue every available option to get you the compensation you deserve.
To schedule your free initial consultation today, please call (866) 580-HURT or complete our quick and easy online contact form. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can move to preserve evidence and make sure your rights are protected, so call us right away if you need help.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.