Truck accidents are among the most serious traffic accidents because of their size and weight. If you have been in a truck accident, your injuries are likely serious, prompting you to search for an attorney to help you recover these losses. Hiring an accomplished truck accident lawyer increases the likelihood of winning your case and recovering the most damages for your injuries.
Choosing the right lawyer for your case takes more than a quick internet search. You must research lawyers and firms to ensure you have the best person for your circumstances. Truck accident lawyers should offer free case evaluations for prospective clients. This initial meeting is your chance to ask questions, learn about the lawyer's services, and determine if the relationship is a good fit. Yet, you do not want to schedule many consultations. Instead, take the time to do some preliminary research to narrow the list of prospective lawyers to only the most promising.
This guide provides tips to help you search for the best truck accident lawyer for your case and includes questions you should ask during your initial meeting with the prospective attorney.
Before Scheduling Your Initial Consultation
You can find much information about a truck accident lawyer before your initial meeting. Trusted websites provide background information about members, client reviews, and peer reviews to ensure you are confident in your truck accident lawyer. Referrals online or from people you know are a good way to start narrowing your search.
Reach out for Referrals
Contact your friends, family, and professional network to discuss their experiences with truck accident attorneys. Those who have suffered accident injuries and hired a lawyer to seek damages for their losses can share their stories with you and make recommendations.
You may also have relationships with a divorce attorney, tax attorney, or another type of lawyer who can refer a colleague who specializes in truck accident cases. When the people you trust refer you to a lawyer, you can assume that lawyer has a strong reputation among peers and clients. People do not typically refer mediocre lawyers or those who provide subpar services.
Examine Client Reviews
Several websites offer client reviews of lawyers, and some law firms publish client testimonials on their websites. However, law firms will not publish bad reviews on their websites, meaning you must do more research to find unbiased information. Avvo.com is one place to look for more objective information. This website is a directory of over 90 percent of lawyers who practice throughout the United States. You can look up truck accident lawyers near you and search by name.
Each lawyer's avvo.com profile provides contact information, practice area, and client reviews. Clients rate lawyers from one to five stars, and the website combines the ratings to offer an overall rating. You can also find out how long your lawyer has been practicing and whether the bar association in their state has ever sanctioned them. Avvo.com aggregates the data from the site and assigns a score between one and ten to each lawyer. Do not rely on one specific piece of information from the site, but view the lawyer's profile as a whole to find quality truck accident lawyers near you.
Examine Peer Reviews
If you feel pressure to hire a lawyer quickly and have little time to research or reach out for referrals, relying on peer reviews typically offers the most helpful information. Avvo.com provides peer endorsements on lawyer profiles, but you should examine other sources that give you an idea of an attorney's reputation in the legal community and among other personal injury lawyers that handle truck accident claims.
These three reputable websites serve as reliable sources for peer reviews:
- Martindale-Hubbell owns avvo.com. Their registry includes more than one million attorneys. Each profile provides a lawyer's biography, contact information, and peer reviews. They recognize lawyers who have received stellar peer reviews with an “AV” designation on their profile.
- The Best Lawyers in America is another registry of attorneys in the United States. Each year, the company releases a list of “Best Lawyers,” including lawyers from almost 60 practice areas chosen by their peers. Previously listed lawyers confidentially evaluate nominees for the award.
- Super Lawyers also releases a yearly list. Only five percent of practicing lawyers from each state receive the prestigious Super Lawyers designation. After reviewing peer nominations and evaluations, the final list includes outstanding attorneys from 70 practice areas. Super Lawyers also relies on independent research to rate lawyers and firms.
Look for Accolades
The legal community is notorious for giving awards, honors, and other forms of recognition. However, these awards are more than participation trophies; not all lawyers receive local or national recognition.
The best truck accident lawyers near you have likely received local, state, or national recognition. The most prestigious national awards include “Lawyer of the Year” and “Law Firm of the Year” from Best Lawyers and coveted awards from the National Law Journal and the American Bar Association (ABA).
Asking Questions During a Free Consultation
After completing your preliminary research and narrowing down your list of truck accident lawyers, your next step is to schedule a free consultation. This initial meeting allows you to discuss your truck accident case with an attorney experienced with these accidents.
The attorney can review your claim to determine if you have a viable case and are eligible to seek compensation for your injuries. However, you also have the chance to ask questions about your case, client service, the legal process of recovering damages, and the attorney's record with previous clients.
Most accomplished truck accident lawyers do not rely only on past accomplishments. If you sense this may be the case, you might want to continue your search elsewhere. During the meeting, your potential lawyer will offer much information and answer many of the questions below.
Ask them directly if the attorney you speak with does not provide this information. These answers can help you decide if the lawyer is a good fit for you and your case.
Questions Related to Client Service
- Which team members at the firm will be working on my case? You can expect junior associates, paralegals, and other members of the firm will work on your case. However, you want to ensure that the lawyer you hired oversees everything and will give you the personalized attention you deserve. Expect to speak with other team members for paperwork and administrative things, but your truck accident lawyer should be engaging in the most communication with you.
- How quickly can I expect you to return a phone call from me? If the lawyer you want to hire does not commit to returning a phone call within a day or two, they might have too much on their plate. Even worse, they might not care about client service. You deserve to have answers to your questions and promptly discuss concerns with your lawyer.
- How often will you update me about my case? Each truck accident claim is different, and the legal process always varies. It isn't easy to set expectations about the timing of the claim. However, you should expect your lawyer to contact you after any major event. Examples include settlement offers and new evidence. The attorney you speak with should be able to give you an estimated time when you will talk again, whether in a few days or a few weeks. Ensure the truck accident lawyer you hire has good communication skills to ensure you don't suffer more stress about your case from being left in the dark.
Questions Related to Experience
- Can you provide examples of truck accident cases similar to mine? You want to know your lawyer has ample experience representing clients who have been involved in truck accidents and suffered injuries like yours. This experience ensures your lawyer knows the laws related to your case and how to apply them to reach a positive outcome for your case.
- Can you provide examples of past settlements and jury awards for cases like mine? Your lawyer cannot guarantee a specific financial outcome for your case. However, they should be able to offer examples of past jury awards and settlements in similar cases. The answer to this question highlights the lawyer's experience and gives you a range of the outcome you could expect in your truck accident claim.
- How many truck accident clients have you represented since you started practicing law? This broad question allows you to examine a lawyer's experience.
- How many cases do you take on each year? Strong lawyers have large caseloads or only a few high-stakes cases. You want to know your lawyer is staying busy, which translates to being active in the legal community.
- How many clients are you currently representing? Although you want an active lawyer, you do not want one who is spread too thin. You want your lawyer to have time to dedicate to your case, so you do not suffer from poor client service or a bad outcome.
- How many times have you gone to trial in truck accident claims? It's doubtful your case will go to trial because most traffic accident claims settle long before the court hears them. However, liability disputes, failed settlement negotiations, and other aspects of your case might force litigation. You want a lawyer who has courtroom experience if your case needs to go to trial.
Questions Related to Your Case
- If we cannot settle my truck accident claim, are you willing to take my case to trial? Both sides want to avoid costly litigation, but sometimes it's the only option. If settlement negotiations go awry, you want a lawyer who is not afraid of the courtroom. Additionally, you want them to pursue the best outcome possible aggressively.
- What damages apply to my truck accident claim? In general, damages in a truck accident injury claim include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and non-economic losses. However, specific types of damages differ among claims, so ask your potential lawyer about what is recoverable in your case and what documents you need to provide to support your claim for damages.
- What strategy will you use to win my case? Different cases and situations require different approaches. Lawyers choose strategies based on the extent of your injuries, your long-term prognoses, whether you have preexisting injuries, and liability. Your lawyer should have a rough idea of how your truck accident case will proceed and the specific ways they will fight for you to get compensation for damages.
What challenges and obstacles do you see with my case? Truck accident claims are notoriously complex because they typically involve the truck driver, their employer, and their insurance companies. Trucks are expensive, and truck accident injuries are often severe, so insurance policies are large. Insurance companies are even more determined to avoid a large payout with larger policies. Your lawyer should be realistic about the difficulties associated with your claim and anticipate challenges, giving you the best chance to recover maximum compensation for your truck accident injuries.
Ultimately, finding the best truck accident lawyer for you means doing some homework and asking questions to ensure you receive the representation you want and need. The good thing is that accomplished truck accident attorneys are ready and standing by to help guide you through the claim process and give you the best chance at recovering the compensation you deserve. Contact the truck accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group for a free consultation today.