Preparing Your Truck Accident Case
Being involved in a traffic accident involving a truck is a scary situation and may require the assistance of a personal injury attorney to build your case after the truck accident.
They are usually more severe than other types of accidents and can leave the victims with life-altering injuries and expensive property damage.
If you have the unfortunate experience of being in a truck accident, it is important that you
know what steps to take to protect yourself legally and financially.
The first step you should take for your protection is to research whether or not you have a case. Once you have a good idea whether or not you have a case, you need to organize the case information, and finally meet with a Personal Injury Attorney.
Determining Whether or Not you have a Case
To know for sure if you have a case or not, you will need to meet with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney. However, there is some research you can do on your own that will help you decide whether or not to pursue a settlement after being in a truck accident.
The trucking industry has a set of rules and regulations that they must follow, and if they are found in violation of any of them, there is a good chance you have a lawsuit.
The agencies that regulate the trucking industry are the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Each state also has its department of transportation that regulates the trucking industry that you can further research if you would like to learn more. Click here for Georgia's department of transportation and click here for Tennessee's.
When reviewing your accident to determine whether or not you have a case, there are specific regulations you should check to make sure the driver was in compliance.
Conditions that must not be Violated
Licensed as a Commercial Driver
To drive a large commercial truck, drivers must obtain a commercial drivers license.
This license is given to drivers who have taken and passed a state-given certification. If the truck driver in your accident did not have his commercial license, then he and his employer could be held responsible for your accident.
Hours of Service Regulation
Another regulation that commercial truck drivers must follow is the Hours of Service regulation.
There are certainly imposed time frames that restrict
The purpose of this law is to keep these drivers off the road when they could be impaired due to exhaustion. If the truck driver was in violation of this law, you probably have cause for a lawsuit.
Maximum Weight of Truck Load
Every truck on the road has a weight limit it can haul that correlates to the size of the truck. This is one of the reasons that you see weigh stations on the sides of highways, to inspect and make sure trucks comply.
If a truck is overloaded and too heavy, it becomes very dangerous. By determining what the weight of the truck was that hit, you help to strengthen your lawsuit, especially if they were overweight.
Under the DOT and FMCSA, all commercial trucks must go through inspections to make sure that they are prepared for road safety. If the truck that hit you had not gone through the proper inspections and repairs, they could be held accountable.
Also, if the truck had been repaired, but there was a failure in one of its components, then the manufacturer, supplier, or servicer may be held responsible in your case.
There are stringent regulations for the transportation of hazardous materials at both the state and federal level.
These regulations are created and enforced by the Office of Hazardous Materials Safety (OHMS). If the truck that hit you was not following the appropriate guidelines at the time of your accident, you might have a case against both the trucking firm and the hazardous material company.
If you have reason to believe that any of the above violations occurred and contributed to your accident, you should inform the investigating police officers and speak with a personal injury attorney.
Preparing to Meet With a Lawyer
Having legal representation when seeking a settlement after a truck injury is crucial to the success of your lawsuit.
For a lawyer to determine the extent of your case, there is some information they will need that you should gather before your consultation.
This will help the attorney decide if they are going to take your case, and give an estimate of the size of your lawsuit.
Key Information to gather before meeting with a Truck Accident Attorney
An Overview of Your Accident
Before you meet with an attorney, it is important to gather as much information about your accident. In this information you should try to include:
- When and where the accident occurred
- A copy of the police report, the contact information of the other driver, his employer, and any witnesses
- Any documented evidence such as photos or videos of the incident
- What the driving conditions were like at the time of the accident.
Your Vehicle Information
The vehicle information that you will need to provide to your attorney is:
- The Year, Make, Model and condition of your vehicle before the accident
- Amount of damages resulting from the truck accident, as well as an estimate for repairs.
- Any photographs you have of the car before and after the accident.
Your Personal Details
Providing your personal information is vital to determining whether you have a case, to begin with, and the value of your potential settlement. You will need to provide:
- A copy of your driver’s license and insurance information.
Yourcriminal history if you have one.
- Your current employment information, including your salary and wages.
- Any other traffic accidents you have been involved in.
Details About the Truck Driver and their Employer
After being the victim of a truck accident, it is essential you get as much information as you can from the truck driver. The information you should focus on is:
- The truck drivers name and contact information.
- The license plate number and type of truck.
- Copies of the truck driver’s commercial license or any other licenses.
- The name and contact information of the company the driver works for.
Any Medical Records About the Accident
It is very likely that if you were involved in an accident with a truck that you sustained injuries. Therefore it is important to gather all medical records pertaining to your accident including:
- What are your symptoms and diagnosis?
- Whether you were taken to the hospital or went to a doctor.
- Any treatments you had and what tests were performed on you.
- Are your injuries preventing you from any activities?
- Have you had any similar injuries previously?
Before you meet with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney, it is important to gather the above information. Doing so will help to speed up the legal process and allow your attorney to provide a more accurate settlement value.
Choosing a Personal Injury Attorney
Now that you have prepared your case as much as you can, the next step is finding an experienced and qualified Personal Injury Attorney. When looking for legal representation, there are a few things to consider before making your decision.
First, you should gather a list of Personal Injury Attorneys in your area. When making this list, look for attorneys that offer a free consultation. This is a pretty common practice in the field so you should still have plenty of options.
Once you have gathered a list of potential lawyers, make contact with them and schedule your free consultation. Ideally, you should meet with multiple attorneys to make sure you are finding the best one for your unique case.
In each consultation, you should be informed of the strength of your case and the potential size of your settlement, as well as the contingency fee they will take if they win.
Now that you have gone to a few consultations, it is time to decide on an attorney.
In making this final decision, you should consider each attorney’s background, professional experience, and their knowledge of personal injury laws. Also look at the estimates of the value of your settlement each provided, and the strategy they laid out during your consultation. Finally, take into consideration the percentage they will take out of your settlement should they win, and any other fees that they charge.
Choosing the right personal injury attorney after being involved in a truck accident is important if you want to successfully win your lawsuit.
To be able to confidently decide on an attorney, it is important that you understand whether or not you have a case, adequately prepare all of the information pertaining to your case, and meet with multiple lawyers so that you can make an informed decision.
If you have been involved in a Truck Accident in the southeastern united states and would like to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to begin building your case, call or click the link below for a free consultation today.