What Should I Look for in Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer in Dallas?
If you were injured and/or lost income following a trucking accident, you will need to file and claim, and possibly a lawsuit, to get the recovery you are entitled to under the law. However, a truck accident claim is complex, and requires an experienced and qualified legal team.
For this reason, accident victims often choose to hire legal representation. It is difficult to choose the right lawyer, so make sure you look for these four things in hiring a truck accident lawyer in Dallas.
A qualified truck accident attorney should be knowledgeable on various aspects of personal injury and trucking industry law.
For instance, in addition to knowing about traffic laws in general, truck accident attorneys must be knowledgeable about federal and state trucking regulations. These regulations, implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), specify rules regarding numerous topics such as:
- Commercial licenses
- Driving requirements
- Employer responsibilities
- Operation and maintenance of the vehicle, and
- Maintaining trucking logs, just to name a few.
In addition to being familiar with trucking regulations, your attorney should be familiar with the elements of negligence.
To recover compensation, you must be able to prove that the driver or trucking company had a duty to you, it breached that duty, and you suffered injury and sustained damages due to the breach.
Your attorney will present evidence to the court to show that the truck driver in your case violated one or more trucking regulations and therefore, breached his/her duty to act responsibly behind the wheel.
You also need to determine the total amount of damages you suffered in the accident. Ask prospective lawyers what their process is for establishing damages. Do they work with experts to determine your case value? Will they ensure you recover compensation for past and future damages?
If your attorney does not seem confident in calculating your damages, it might be time to move on to the next prospect.
2) Experience with Trucking Accident Cases and Insurers
In addition to knowledge, you need an attorney with a high level of experience with trucking accidents. While many licensed attorneys are familiar with the general aspects of a personal injury case, not every attorney has experience dealing with the intricacies of truck accident cases.
Your attorney needs to know:
How to Negotiate with Insurers
An attorney with truck accident experience will know what to expect in the courtroom and during settlement talks. Ideally, your attorney will have years of experience handling both personal injury settlements and trials.
Many insurance companies prefer to settle truck accident claims outside of the courtroom to avoid a lengthy and expensive court battle. Insurers are generally trying to get away with paying you as little as possible. That is why you need an attorney who will use his/her experience with insurance companies to fight for you during negotiations.
Your attorney should also know the tricks that insurers try to pull to reduce or bar your settlement.
Once your insurer makes you a settlement offer, your attorney should be able to evaluate whether the offer is reasonable and advise you on what to do next.
How to Prepare your Case for Court
Some attorneys only settle out of court, while others prepare their clients cases for court regardless of whether they think they will need to head to court.
If your attorney has significant trial and trial prep experience, you can be sure the firm is not afraid to fight for its clients.
Ask your prospective attorneys:
- How long they have been handling truck accident cases
- Approximately how many they have handled
- Whether they will prepare your case for court or rely strictly on out-of-court negotiations
- If you can see testimonials and any case results
3) Ability to Collect Evidence
The ability to collect the right kind of evidence for a trucking accident case comes with experience and adequate resources. Your attorney should know what evidence you will need, how to analyze it, and be willing to spend the money necessary to get that evidence.
In addition to knowing what type of evidence you will need, your attorney needs to know how to get it. Much of the evidence you need for a successful trucking accident claim is in the hands of the trucking company. This alone can make the evidence gathering process difficult; unfortunately, there is another complication. Vital evidence can be lost forever if your attorney is not willing to spend the money on necessary experts to preserve evidence, especially evidence at the accident scene. Properly litigating a trucking case is not a game of “wait and see.” Experts must be on the ground immediately doing the work necessary to collect the evidence you need. That takes the willingness to put forward large amounts of resources, which many firms are not willing to do.
To ensure the trucking company preserves the evidence, your attorney will need to draft and send a spoliation letter notifying the company that there is pending litigation against it and that it must preserve any evidence mentioned in the spoliation letter. To do this properly, your trucking attorney must know the evidence that he will need to prove your case.
4) Willingness to Communicate
Even the most qualified lawyer might not work for you if s/he keeps you in the dark for the entirety of your case.
When you meet with your attorney, ask:
- How often you can expect correspondence from them (e.g., will they call you every week or will they only call you if something happens?)
- Who you will be communicating with primarily (e.g., the lawyer him/herself, a paralegal, another attorney, etc.)
- What the best way to reach them is (e.g., email, phone, text, etc.)
Remember, if the attorney you thought you were hiring will not talk to you, he probably is not the attorney actually working for you. Do not be left in the dark.
Where can I find the right attorney?
Accident victims can find knowledgeable attorneys by asking for referrals from friends, coworkers, and acquaintances who have been in similar situations.
However, because every case is different, you should not rely on this alone. In addition to asking for referrals, you should conduct additional research to determine whether an attorney is right for you. Consider the attorney’s bio and check his/her qualifications.
Make sure your attorney has knowledge of trucking industry and personal injury laws, has experience handling truck accident cases, knows how to collect evidence, and will keep you in the loop.
Lovins Trosclair, PLLC will help ensure that your suit is successful. We have decades of experience handling truck accident cases and a team of qualified experts ready to do what is necessary to properly handle your claim.
Call 214-484-1930 to meet with us for free. We would love the chance to prove why we are the legal team you need.