Getting into an accident with a commercial truck, a big rig, or semi-trailer can be a life-threatening, life-altering, and traumatizing experience. The last thing you need to worry about is going after the company responsible for your injuries and damages. Hiring the right lawyer at the right firm can make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and strife, while also working to protect your rights.
This article will outline some steps you or a loved one can take to ensure that you successfully file for a truck accident claim.
Step 1: Find a Truck Accident Lawyer, and Sign an Agreement
Finding a lawyer should be your first course of action after dealing with the immediate medical ramifications of your accident. This contract can be called a Retainer Agreement or a Letter of Engagement. A good contract should include an outline for:
- Ask about contingent fees, percentages, and expenses.
- Map out a general timeline for the case. Understand that it may take a long time to complete this suit and that some of that time you may not be in constant contact with your lawyer.
- Ensure and acknowledge the confidentiality of your lawyer-client relationship
- Know how your attorney will handle your case, negotiate medical expenses, order necessary medical records, and conduct inquiries.
- Also, be sure to outline termination agreements, if you or the attorney choose to cancel this arrangement.
Each firm will likely handle this contracting process a little differently. Always make sure that you are thoroughly aware of what your contract states before agreeing to sign anything.
Step 2: Be Sure to Only Correspond with Your Truck Accident Lawyer
After you find a lawyer and start your case, it’s advised that you should only talk about your case to your attorney and avoid communication with other institutions. However, when you’re in an accident with a commercial vehicle you will likely be contacted by your insurance agency and other companies.
Listed below are some common guidelines you should mind after you’ve been in an accident with a commercial vehicle.
Correspondence with the Police, DMV, and Doctors
- File a police report after your accident.
- Get a medical evaluation from a doctor after your accident.
- If it’s required in your state, also report your accident to the DMV.
- Avoid sharing any details about your case to anyone outside these entities and your attorney.
- Report your accident to your insurance agency.
- Avoid answering questions or signing paperwork you don’t understand.
A Trucking Company Claims Adjuster or Another Insurance Agency
- If you receive correspondence, give them the contact information of your attorney.
- Avoid answering any questions.
- Avoid signing any documents.
If you have any questions about this step, or about what you can and cannot say to these entities, be sure to ask your lawyer before making any definitive statements or signing anything.
Step 3: Collect Evidence and Investigate Your Situation
You’ve likely already discussed some details of the investigation with your attorney, including your personal testimony, police report, and medical examination. In this stage, further investigation will be done, after your attorney agrees that you have a viable case.
This will be handled by the legal team but be prepared to provide assistance if necessary.
Step 4: Pen and Send a Personal Injury Demand Letter
After all the necessary paperwork has been signed, evidence collected, and conclusions are drawn, you can move forward with your case.
This is the step where your lawyer will reach out to the company or agency responsible for your accident and make the demand for compensation. This demand letter outlines the seriousness of your claims and ensures that the responsible parties will not be released from liability unless they meet the conditions outlined in the demand letter.
Step 5: Prepare for Trial or Review Settlement
The responsible party will have received your demand letter and will now review your evidence and conduct their own investigation. Three actions are most likely.
One, they may accept your demands and settle the case outside of court. Two, they may present a counter-offer, and negotiations may begin until a settlement is reached. Third, you may have to file a lawsuit against the company if they refuse your claims or you cannot arrive at a deal.
Step 6: Head for Trial
If you cannot strike a deal with the trucking company, you may have to sue them for damages and go to court. In this case, a judge or jury will determine if, and how much, you will be compensated for your injuries and strife.
Finding the Right Help
If you’re in the Pennsylvania area and need to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer, consider reaching out to McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt for your case. From catastrophic injuries to wrongful death claims, if you’ve suffered a terrible accident our team can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Find a nearby office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If you can’t make an appointment, consider filling out this contact form or calling McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt directly at 1-800-590-4116. Start your consultation today and get the compensation you deserve.