Automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of death or injury in the country. Unfortunately this is no surprise given the fact that the majority of adult Americans are drivers, or at least passengers, and considering how much time people spend on the road. Occasional accidents are bound to happen. However, this doesn’t mean that if you have been in an automobile accident involving a commercial truck that you should just accept it as bad luck and deal with the physical and financial burden that it causes all alone. If you have been in a car accident with an 18-wheeler then you should absolutely pursue your legal rights and get the settlement you deserve.
Your success in getting a fair settlement will depend on a lot of factors; however, one major factor which you should consider carefully is your attorney. The difference between having a good accident attorney and having a bad one can add up to quite a bit of money or mean the difference between whether you get a settlement or not. What follows is some of the top things to look for when searching for the right trucking accident attorney.
This is one of the biggest and most important things to look for in a eighteen wheeler accident lawyer. You will want someone who is very familiar with the ins and outs of these types of litigation. The attorney may be excellent in the field of family law or another specialty but that doesn’t mean that he or she will necessarily be the best choice for litigation in a big rig accident case. In fact, even an attorney who specializes in accidents may not be well-experienced in trucking accidents specifically because there are so many other different types of accidents which he or she may be more used to dealing with.
For this reason it is essential to find out how often the attorney handles cases that are related to automobile accidents specifically. Being fully aware of their record and history can give you great insight. Even an attorney who regularly hears these types of cases is no use to you if they seldom win! It can even be beneficial to inquire if they’ve ever done a case with circumstances similar to your own.
This is another crucial element in choosing the right attorney. If you have been involved in a traumatic experience like a car accident then you will most likely want an attorney who is compassionate and sympathetic to case. You don’t want someone who just views you as a bunch of dollar signs.
It is also essential that the attorney hase a professional, confident attitude and appearance. You want someone whom the judge and jury will take seriously. Someone who is well organized and courteous and who seems prepared for your case. A few good questions to ask yourself are:
- Is the attorney on time for meetings?
- Is the attorney professionally dressed?
- Does the attorney inspire confidence and trust?
- Does the attorney seem to be listening and reacting appropriately while you speak?
What it ultimately comes down to is the importance of hiring an attorney with whom you have a good rapport. Of course it matters how others involved in your case will view the attorney, but first and foremost you want to make sure that the attorney is at least someone with whom you will be comfortable working with.
Availability can also be a big factor in whether or not this is the attorney you want to hire. The attorney may seem great at the initial meeting, but if subsequent contact will be difficult or delayed then that can negatively impact the case and your working relationship. Be sure to ask how you can contact the attorney and how long it typically takes for him or her to respond.
Another important question to ask is whether or not the attorney will actually be present at the depositions and during the actual trial. It’s not uncommon for a junior attorney at the firm to go in place of senior partners. This is information that you are entitled to know ahead of time so that you can decide your comfort level with this.
It is important that the lawyer has good strategies and a clear idea of what they need to do to win the settlement or claim that you deserve. Of course an advanced strategy may not emerge until they have fully immersed themselves in the case; however, they should be able to give you at least a basic idea of how they expect things to proceed and what their strategy will be.
Don’t be afraid to ask them how much they think the case is worth. They may not be able to commit to an exact number, but at least giving you a ballpark figure will help you set your expectations and help you compare what other attorneys may have told you.
Make sure to asking about their billing charges. Determine how they are paid and how much they charge. Do they work on contingency with a percentage of the potential settlement taken out as their fee? Are there hours fees and if so how much? Are there additional fees for other services?
Asking these questions will ensure that there are no nasty surprises when the bill comes. It will also provide you with a baseline to determine if this attorney is one that you can afford and if the case is worth pursuing.
These are just a few of the basic things to look for when selecting a trucking accident attorney. Become well-informed and understand the situation thoroughly before you agree to anything. The selection of a good attorney is one of the most crucial parts of the entire case and it is essential that you do not rush it or fail to take it seriously. Knowing what to look for and what to ask will make a huge difference in your success and satisfaction.