Truck accidents often lead to serious property damage and devastating injuries, even when no fatalities are involved. If you’ve been hurt in an 18-wheeler crash, you may wonder if you need an attorney. An injury lawyer will help protect your legal rights, help you get the compensation you deserve, and advise you throughout the process.
If you’re still wondering when to hire an attorney, consider the answers to these questions.
When Did the Incident Occur?
Ideally, you should call an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. The sooner you make the call, the sooner the lawyer can:
- Help you decide what sort of compensation to seek.
- Gather evidence that may prove the other party’s responsibility, such as logbooks, camera footage, or proof that the driver was under the influence of alcohol, prescription medicines, or illicit drugs.
- Talk with witnesses to gather more essential information about the accident.
Waiting to call an attorney may lead to the loss of crucial evidence, which will affect your case and decrease your award. Contacting an attorney early on will provide peace of mind, which makes it a worthwhile investment.
Have You Received a Settlement Offer?
Often, a truck driver’s insurance company will make a settlement offer shortly after the accident report has been filed. However, such offers typically fail to reflect the amount of compensation you should receive for your pain, suffering, and medical bills. With an attorney’s help, you can find out how much you deserve for your accident-related losses.
When you call a lawyer, they’ll examine your medical charts, discuss and evaluate your injuries, and learn how the truck accident has affected your quality of life. From there, they’ll help you understand whether the insurer’s settlement offer is adequate. An attorney can:
- Give advice on whether you should take the insurance company’s offer. In some instances, acceptance may be best, especially if you simply want to put the accident behind you and you need quick cash access. In other situations, an attorney may suggest that you wait until the severity of your injuries becomes clear. Your lawyer may even recommend rejection of a settlement offer.
- Negotiate with the driver’s insurance company. An attorney will fill out offer rejection paperwork, make a fair counteroffer, and enter into negotiations on your behalf.
- Make suggestions when negotiations fall through, such as taking a case to trial or filing a legal claim.
Do You Have to Go to Trial to Get the Compensation You Deserve?
Ideally, you should call an attorney well before thinking of going to court. Your lawyer should negotiate with the other driver’s insurer, provide solid advice, and help you get the settlement you need to live a normal life. If you’ve rejected a settlement offer and plan to take the case to court, hiring an attorney is crucial.
How Serious is the Injury?
Truck accidents, especially those involving larger vehicles, typically cause more serious injuries than car crashes. A truck’s sizable mass requires more turning and maneuvering room, and its weight usually causes more severe damage. If you’ve suffered injuries in such an accident, you may face a long recovery.
Consider these factors:
- With a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you may not be able to adequately communicate with the driver’s insurance company. You might find it difficult to make the necessary statements or keep up with case paperwork. On the other hand, if you hire an attorney, they’ll handle the documentation and help you gather evidence. They’ll also handle all communications, which might prevent you from inadvertently incriminating yourself.
- A serious injury may lead to the use of painkillers. If you experienced a broken bone, amputation, or spinal injury, you will probably require prescription pain management. As useful as these medicines are, they may also make communication difficult. With an attorney on your side, you’ll have someone who can handle these tasks on your behalf.
- Serious injuries require more funding. Insurers are in the business to make profits, and they are often difficult to handle where serious injuries and substantial compensation are concerned. Of course, you want everything you deserve; however, the driver’s insurer will likely offer as little as possible. Injuries often take time to manifest themselves, and it’s often difficult to determine the severity of an injury right after an accident. An experienced injury attorney may be able to tell how much your injury will cost with time.
- It’s crucial to focus on recovery. Working with an attorney will help you focus on what matters most: your recovery. You shouldn’t have to spend your time dealing with paperwork and insurance company stall tactics. Your attorney will deal with those details, leaving you with enough time to work on getting better.
What Information Does the Insurer Have?
Have you given the insurance company a copy of your medical charts, or have you already made a statement about the accident? You should call an attorney before talking to the other party’s insurance company. While it’s important to start negotiations as quickly as possible, it’s more crucial to get legal help first.
Keep the following tips in mind:
- Don’t say anything like “I’ve been okay” or “I’m fine.” It’s best not to make small talk with the insurance adjuster, as they may use those conversations to harm your case. When working with an attorney, they will handle all insurance company communications and keep you updated.
- Give the insurance company the information they ask for. Insurers typically have scales outlining payouts for certain injury types. However, every accident is different and deserves consideration. By hiring an attorney, you’re more likely to give the insurance company all the documentation required for a fair payout.
Why Should I Call an Attorney Early?
Ideally, insurance companies would offer fair settlements as quickly as possible after an 18-wheeler accident. You wouldn’t have to worry about choosing a lawyer, and you wouldn’t have to wonder if the settlement reflected the severity of your losses. Many victims mistakenly put their faith in the insurance system, putting off hiring a lawyer in the hope of getting a reasonable settlement offer. However, this often backfires. Though it’s not necessary to make the call from the accident scene, it’s crucial to contact an attorney once the severity of your injury is known.
Here are a few reasons to get legal help as soon as possible.
- Witnesses have short memories: The longer it takes to call a lawyer, the longer it will be before witness statements are gathered. Human memories often fade quickly, and they’re easily altered by others’ perceptions of an event. The sooner witnesses’ statements are passed on to an attorney, the better the outcome may be.
- The longer the delay lasts, the harder evidence collection is. Some evidence, such as broken glass and skid marks, disappear soon after a crash. Similarly, stores often delete surveillance footage within days. By calling a lawyer right away, you can secure that crucial evidence before it’s gone.
- The sooner the call is made, the sooner your case gets started. Are you sure about that social media post? Do you have to give a statement to the driver’s insurance company? Should you limit your post-accident activities? Accident recovery is a challenging process, and an attorney can guide you through it. With an early call, you’ll get the advice needed to get through your case without damaging it.
Get Legal Help Right Away
If you were injured in a truck collision, calling an attorney as quickly as possible will give you the legal support needed to get through the recovery process. With help from the legal team at Hadley Law Firm, it’s possible to deal with the aftermath of a crash and get on with life. Contact us today.