A Commercial Truck Hit Me: Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?

By April 22, 2020Truck Accidents

Many people like the idea of handling their own accident claim. This gives them a sense of control and power. They also are afraid of paying for a lawyer, who they believe will unnecessarily charge too much.

However, negotiating a fair settlement for a truck accident is very difficult. Tractor trailers, box trucks, buses and commercial trucks have special laws that apply to them that regular drivers do not know. Most people would benefit enormously by hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer to tackle their claim for them. Please contact MG Law so we can explain the services we provide.

Trucking Wrecks are Different than Car Wrecks

All wrecks involving commercial Motor Carriers can bring claims called “Direct Actions” which allows the injured person to sue the trucking company, even if the driver was not a W2 employee, and the insurance company directly under O.C.G.A. Sec.  40-2-140 (https://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-40/chapter-2/article-6a/40-2-140). This is very different from suing a non-commercial driver. Commercial truck driver’s are held to a different standard established by their commercial driver’s licence, even if it is from another state.  Inspection of the commercial truck is performed in many cases to see if the vehicle was maintained properly since commercial trucks are professionally maintained.  All accidents in Georgia that result in serious injury, including brain trauma or head trauma, broken arms, broken legs, fractured bones, dislocated bones and the like, require the commercial driver to be tested for drugs and alcohol immediately after the wreck. Truckers are required to keep log books or logs and cannot work more than Federally limited hours. The truck driver in your wreck may have ignored these regulations. Finally, the commercial truck itself often has a “black box”, “electronic control module” or “EDM” that provides crucial evidence about the speed of the truck upon collision, turning of the steering wheel, application of breaks, use of horn and blinker and other evidence.

Trucking Companies Aggressively Limit their Liability

Large trucking companies usually hire large insurance companies to represent them. These companies have a strong incentive to offer as little as possible to injured claimants. Even if you think you have an “open and shut” case, insurance companies can and will dispute your claim.

We have seen many insurers try to deny valid claims by pushing responsibility for the accident onto the victim. For example, if a truck rear-ended you, the insurer might claim you cut them off or refused to use a turn signal. These types of mistakes on your part could reduce how much you receive or outright result in no compensation at all.

In other cases, insurers offer peanuts to someone who has suffered serious, lifelong injuries. Unfortunately, many victims don’t really understand the true value of their claim. For example, they don’t know that they can often qualify for future medical expenses, lost earnings capacity, and pain and suffering. These can represent significant sums of money.

Negotiation Takes Time and Skill

If a company won’t immediately agree to your demands, you will need to carefully negotiate a fair settlement. This can require an extensive back-and-forth process.

Most laypeople do not know how to negotiate effectively. They might also wrongfully believe that the insurance company is looking out for their best interest—which could not be farther from the truth.

A Lawyer Can File a Lawsuit

When negotiations grind to a halt, injured victims have no choice but to march into court and file a lawsuit. There is no other way to ensure fair compensation for an accident.

Filing a lawsuit is very complicated. A person must learn the rules of civil procedure and evidence, as well as personal injury law. Few people have the time to learn all of this, but any misstep could be disastrous. A person could easily lose a case or have it kicked out of court for failure to follow the rules or timely submit legal documents.

At MG Law, our attorneys know how to file a lawsuit in the correct court following the proper procedures. We can also ensure that we make the strongest case possible.

A Top Notch Lawyer is Affordable

Some people want to tackle their own case because they don’t want to pay a lawyer’s fee. This is a mistake. Without a lawyer, many victims end up with far less money than they could get with an attorney’s help.

Truck accident lawyers are affordable. At MG law, we work on a contingency fee agreement. Essentially, we forego any lawyer’s fees until we win your case. At that point, we take a percentage of your settlement or court award. The percentage is agreed to ahead of time.

This arrangement works for all parties involved. We have a direct incentive to maximize the amount of money in a settlement, which also benefits our clients. We also have no incentive to take on a case that we believe lacks merit.

Contact MG Law for a Free Consultation

If you are still unsure about whether you need a lawyer after your truck accident, please give us a call. Our lawyers are available every day to speak to injured victims about their chances of receiving a fair recovery following an accident. We can talk you through the process and estimate whether you have a strong case.

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