Tractor-trailers are a crucial part of the American economy, and we rely on them to transport necessary goods. However, drivers must share the roads with these massive vehicles, which can weigh up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded. Everything needs to go right for a truck to reach its destination safely, and much depends on the skill and vigilance of the driver.

Unfortunately, truck drivers do not always take the time or devote the attention necessary to keep you safe. In some cases, the trucking company that employs them is the one that cuts corners at every single turn. Either way, you or a loved one may have suffered a severe injury by truck driver negligence, and you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. It is challenging to secure this on your own, so it is crucial to contact a lawyer. An experienced truck accident lawyer in Augusta will work for you to get you the settlement or monetary award that you deserve on account of your serious injuries.

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Truck Accident Lawyers Are Often More Complex than Other Cases

You need an attorney for a truck accident case. These accidents are even more complex than a car crash because many more variables are at play. You are dealing with a large and technologically advanced vehicle and a company that can have extensive operations (which you can learn about as your lawsuit progresses).

It takes much more tenacity and skill to investigate a truck accident case, and you must follow the same legal standard of proving that the truck driver was negligent in causing your accident. On the surface, the truck driver crashing into your car shows negligence, but you should also know the how and why of what happened to maximize your financial compensation.

How Your Truck Accident Lawyer Investigates Your Case

How Your Truck Accident Lawyer Investigates Your Case

Your truck accident lawyer will begin to investigate the accident as soon as you retain them for your case. They will pursue the “standard” leads that lawyers look for in every type of motor vehicle accident case, including:

  • Eyewitness testimony from people who saw the accident
  • Pictures from the scene of the accident
  • The accident report from police of the NHTSA
  • Testimony from an accident reconstruction expert
  • Traffic or dashcam footage of the accident

Your lawyer has a limited amount of time to obtain these sources of evidence before they disappear.

You Need More Types of Evidence to Prove Your Truck Accident Case

A significant reason you must have a lawyer in a truck accident case is because the sources of evidence are much broader than in a car accident case. Since you are dealing with a trucking company, there will be records and other documents in their possession to which you are entitled during the legal process.

One of the most critical pieces of evidence you must obtain is the truck’s black box data. According to federal regulations, most trucks have an event data recorder that can show things such as:

  • The truck’s speed
  • When and how the truck driver applied the brakes
  • How the driver steered the truck
  • The truck’s hours of operation

You Need to Fight to Secure Other Sources of Truck Accident Evidence

Trucking companies will not simply hand you the proof you need. While they are obligated to retain evidence for a certain period, there are no guarantees that they will follow the rules. An attorney must direct the trucking company to keep the evidence before litigation.

There are other sources of evidence that you will need access to during the legal process. Trucking companies may also have:

  • Records of the maintenance and inspection of the truck
  • The driver’s safety and employment records
  • The driver’s drug and alcohol testing records over their time with the company

You will need to obtain these pieces of evidence through the litigation process. In every court case, there is a process called discovery, where you can request proof in the other party’s hands. During a deposition, your lawyer can speak with the responsible truck driver and trucking company executives. You should have an attorney who knows the nuts and bolts of the litigation process so you can build a solid case.

A Lawyer Helps Determine the Value of Your Case

A Lawyer Helps Determine the Value of Your Case

Then, you need to know how much your case is worth; you never want to leave money on the table in a truck accident claim. Your case can be valuable based on the injuries that you have suffered and the trucking company’s level of fault. Even though you are dealing with a case worth hundreds of thousands of dollars (and, in many cases, millions of dollars), you still have the burden of proof and must be precise about your damages.

Your truck accident settlement or jury award compensates you for losses you have already suffered or will suffer in the future. Therefore, you cannot afford to leave anything to chance or make a “back of the envelope” calculation. You need an attorney because they will work with expert witnesses to determine the amount of your damages. A truck accident lawyer routinely consults with medical, vocational, and life care planning experts to understand the damages you incurred. Otherwise, you will never know how much compensation you deserve and may accept an unfair settlement.

You Need an Attorney to Take On the Trucking Company

One of the main reasons you need a truck accident lawyer is that trucking companies can be responsible for the truck driver’s actions so long as they are within the scope of the operator’s employment duties. It is a bedrock principle of personal injury law that the employer is the same as the employee for purposes of liability. If the truck driver is negligent, the trucking company is responsible, and there are far higher stakes. Some top-shelf lawyers may defend the insurance company and the trucking company because substantial money is on the line.

Truck Accident Cases Usually Result in More Money

Truck accident claims can result in higher financial compensation than other personal injury cases for the following reasons:

  • The size of the truck means that it will unleash a large amount of force on the passenger vehicle, causing more severe injuries.
  • Trucking companies carry much more insurance than passenger car drivers because federal regulations require it, and they have much more to lose from a lawsuit.
  • You can get punitive damages if your case goes to trial if the jury wants to send a strong message to the trucking company. There have been a rising number of “nuclear verdicts,” where trucking companies have had to pay tens of millions or more.
  • If your verdict is substantial (more than the trucking company has in insurance coverage), you can collect against the trucking company’s assets. It does not matter that your lawsuit judgment may put them out of business.

Since so much is at stake, the settlement negotiation and litigation process will be more intensive and exacting. Insurance companies will only write a check if they give your claim an extreme amount of scrutiny. Trucking companies will defend your case to the last if they realize the outcome may put them out of business.

A Lawyer Begins the Claim or Lawsuit on Your Behalf

Your lawyer will draft the claim or lawsuit complaint that begins the legal process, and your documents will result from a thorough investigation. At that point, the real battle will begin, and you need a lawyer to fight this battle, one who is tested in the courtroom and knows how to go toe-to-toe with anyone who will stand between you and the financial compensation you deserve.

The insurance company and trucking company will respond to a claim or lawsuit in one of two ways:

  • They may believe that your claim does not have merit, and they may decide to fight you until the end by denying your claim and defending themselves in court.
  • They can manage their risk and offer you a settlement offer.

In most cases, the defendants will take the latter option, regardless of whether you have filed a claim or a lawsuit. However, receiving a settlement offer is not necessarily good news in a truck accident case, and the offer is often a sign of how much work still needs to be done to get the total compensation you deserve.

You Will Need Your Lawyer’s Skill and Toughness

A lawyer is needed for their toughness and negotiation skills when you must get the insurance company to raise the settlement offer. Ultimately, you have leverage in a truck accident case and should use it fully. Trucking companies should be terrified of a jury trial because juries often react harshly to the lack of a safety culture and may make the defendant pay dearly.

You can and should reject early settlement offers. Insurance companies will never initially put their best foot forward and likely have much room to raise settlement offers. Your lawyer will counter the offer, and the insurance company may respond with a reasonable settlement. It can take many months or years to settle a truck accident case, so you must be patient while your lawyer negotiates.

A Strong Litigation Position Can Help Maximize Your Settlement Value

The threat of litigation will work in your favor in a truck accident case, but you will need an experienced courtroom attorney.

Your attorney will continue to build your case as the lawsuit progresses. If you have yet to reach a settlement agreement, you can expect to have intensive negotiations as the date of trial approaches. In many cases, your truck accident case will settle on the eve of trial, as the defendants realize what they must be afraid of and why they can be on the wrong side of a large verdict.

You need a truck accident attorney because insurance companies will trample on your legal rights if you are unprotected at any point. They will treat you differently when they see you have an experienced attorney who will not let them get away with anything. You must hire an attorney right after the accident; if you cannot call a lawyer, have someone contact them.

Then, you will not owe your lawyer anything unless you win your case. It does not matter whether your truck accident lawsuit takes years to complete. Your attorney will receive payment from the proceeds of your case, and you do not have to pay them if you do not win.

Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer With In-Depth Knowledge of These Challenging Cases

Always hire a lawyer who knows truck accident cases. Why is this important? Well, the trucking industry is heavily regulated, and navigating the legal landscape can be complex. That’s why you need a lawyer by your side who has in-depth knowledge of trucking industry regulations and standards.

There are specific rules and regulations that govern the trucking industry. These regulations cover various aspects, such as driver qualifications, hours of service, maintenance and inspections, and cargo securement. A lawyer with experience in handling truck accident cases understands these regulations and can use their knowledge to build a strong case on your behalf.

Preserving evidence from trucking companies is another challenge that an experienced truck accident lawyer can address. Trucking companies are required to keep records of their drivers, maintenance logs, and other important documents. However, these records can be easily lost or destroyed if not preserved in a timely manner. A knowledgeable lawyer knows the importance of preserving evidence and can ensure that important documents are obtained and secured for your case.

Jacque Hawk, Truck Accident Attorney in Augusta
Truck Accident Lawyer, Jacque Hawk

In addition to dealing with the trucking company, you may also have to juggle multiple insurance claims. In truck accident cases, there can be multiple parties involved, such as the driver, the trucking company, and other potentially liable parties. Each party may have its own insurance company, and navigating the claims process can be overwhelming. A lawyer with experience in truck accident cases can navigate through these complex insurance claims and advocate for your rights.

Seek a free consultation with a personal injury attorney today.