There are many types of trucks on the road, from box trucks to 18-wheelers, semi-trailers, tow trucks, and other commercial motor vehicles. If you’ve been in a truck accident with any type of commercial truck, you may get an offer from the truck company or their insurance provider or you may contact your own car insurance company to file a claim. The offer you may get may look good on paper, but before you sign it may still be a good idea to contact an experienced truck accident attorney.
Why Might Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer Be a Good Idea?
Truck accidents can result in serious injury that may mean high medical and incidental costs. Each year, people who are injured suffer financial distress: about 62 percent of personal bankruptcies are linked to medical costs and about one in three disabled American adults have faced unmet medical needs in the past twelve months because they lacked the financial resources to pay for care.
You may get an offer for compensation, but keep in mind that insurance companies work for their shareholders, not for you. Their main goal is to resolve claims inexpensively to save shareholders money. For truck companies, their main goal after an accident is to avoid liability and costs.
Your attorney, on the other hand, has a duty to work in your best interests. They can review any offers, negotiate with insurance companies, file a lawsuit, and take care of additional details as needed. Most importantly, they can work to seek the best possible financial recovery so you have the resources to pay for medical care, lost wages, property damages, and other losses you may have suffered.
What Are Some Green Flags to Look for in a Truck Accident Attorney?
When choosing a truck accident attorney for your case, it is typically best to avoid a generalist who also takes care of probate and business matters. Instead, you want to look for a personal injury attorney who has experience with truck accident claims in your area. Here are some additional green flags to look for:
- A good track record of cases similar to yours. Ask how many truck accident cases the attorney has handled and how many they have taken on in the past year or two. If you have a specific commercial truck accident case, such as a drunk driving or fatigued driving incident, ask whether the attorney has handled similar cases recently. Truck accident cases are more complex than other motor vehicle claims, so you want an attorney who understands the challenges presented with your potential case.
- Good listening skills. An attorney should be taking notes and should be taking in the information you share. You want someone who gets an accurate idea of your case, has ideas about how to tackle your claim and is empathetic to your situation.
- Availability. The best attorney in Houston is not useful to you if they are too busy to give your case the attention it needs. A good attorney is one who is ready to tackle your case.
Finally, keep in mind that you may be working with your attorney for months or over a year. Look for an attorney who makes you feel comfortable and who has a communication style that encourages a good working relationship. While these can seem like intangibles, they are important in building trust and helping you work together with your attorney.
What Are Some Red Flags to Be Aware Of?
When speaking with an attorney in a consultation, there are also some characteristics that should make you wary. While personalities and approaches vary, you will want to look out for:
- Lack of transparency. It’s natural to have questions about your truck accident case, and you want an attorney who can answer your queries. It’s also natural to want to know about the costs of pursuing a legal claim. Be careful if attorneys do not answer your questions or are vague about contingency agreements or legal costs. While an attorney may not be able to tell you exactly how much your costs will be in the end, they should be clear about how those costs are calculated and should be able to give you at least an understanding of the pay structure.
- Guarantees. No attorney can guarantee a specific outcome in a truck accident case, even when the cause of the accident seems very clear. Be wary of anyone who promises a specific outcome, guarantees a win, or tells you they can secure a specific dollar amount.
- Few testimonials. You should be able to find out how past clients have felt about working with an attorney. A good attorney has positive reviews and testimonials and is pleased to share them.
- A high number of settlements and little trial experience. You want an attorney who has negotiating experience, but also someone who is willing to go to trial if they cannot secure financial recovery through other means.
Ultimately, there are many truck accident attorneys in Houston. Finding an attorney who has years of experience and a good reputation and who treats you well is possible, and it’s important, too. After all, your claim could affect your financial life for years, so you deserve the right attorney for you.
What Questions Should You Ask?
When you consult with an attorney, the attorney will ask you questions about your medical treatment, injuries, the details of the accident, and other circumstances of your case. However, you may also want to ask your own questions, including:
- Do I have a claim?
- How much could my claim be worth?
- What would you need from me?
- What should I do if an insurer contacts me?
- What experience do you have with cases similar to this one?
Asking these questions may help you determine whether you want to proceed with a claim and help you understand your role in the claim. For example, your attorney may advise you on the steps you need to take to strengthen your case. An attorney’s answers can also help you evaluate what working with this individual might be like, which can help you make an informed decision.
Ultimately, choosing an attorney means choosing someone with experience in cases similar to yours who also makes you feel comfortable. Look for someone with trial and settlement experience, previous happy clients, and a good communication style.
How Can Johnson Garcia Help?
If you need a truck accident attorney in Houston or the surrounding area, the team at Johnson Garcia has over 30 years of combined experience. We have recovered over $100 million on behalf of injured people in Texas and have a track record of results as well as extensive experience with trucking accident claims.
Our goal is always to seek the best financial recovery for you. If you would like to learn more or if you’re not sure whether you have a claim after your truck accident, contact Johnson Garcia for a free consultation.