1. How many truck accident cases do you currently have?
There are many personal injury attorneys who handle truck accident cases when they are able to sign one up. Most of these attorneys have a practice that centers around other areas such as maritime, mass torts, or general personal injury instead of motor carrier and trucker lawsuits.
Often, you can research by “Googling” a perspective law firm or attorney and find that they have multiple websites in multiple different areas. Some attorneys even handle non-personal injury matters. The truth is that 18-wheeler accidents are unique and require specific expertise to be most effective as an advocate for the victim.
2. When is the last multiple million dollar truck accident case you handled?
The majority of trucking companies are insured by a handful of insurance companies who tend to write most of the commercial vehicle policies. Each of these insurance companies maintain databases of the attorneys they have dealt with in the past and the companies know who is knowledgeable and experienced in making a truck accident case. They also have statistics on the settlements and verdicts obtained by the attorneys they deal with.
If an attorney has not handled numerous multimillion dollar cases that involve a semi truck accident, they may not be the wisest choice for your case.
3. How long have you been handling truck wreck injury cases?
Experience matters when it comes to commercial vehicle litigation. Not only is the experience important for the dealings with the motor carrier’s insurance company but also for how quickly and effectively your case moves forward against the truck driver and the trucking company.
Does the law firm maintain databases of the experts favored by the defense? If not, the firm may be at a big disadvantage when it comes to depositions of the defense experts. By maintaining records of the defenses experts, prior testimony can be used effectively to impeach their experts. You want your attorney to have seen and questioned the defense experts in the past.
4. What is the central part of your personal injury practice?
This is a key question for any attorney you’re considering who is going to handle a commercial vehicle accident for your or your family’s financial future. Being a personal injury lawyer may not be enough to be effective when litigating cases involving tractor-trailers.
One method of knowing for certain which area of the personal injury practice is central to the attorney you are considering retaining is to go to their results section of their website and see what types of cases are published.
If most of their large verdicts and settlements were not truck accident related they may not be the best choice for this type of case.
5. Can you tell me what Part 391 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations covers?
This question will separate a real truck accident attorney from a general personal injury attorney very quickly. If the attorney can answer the question without referring to the Regulations or looking them up, they probably have a pretty good working knowledge of the Federal Regulations and can only have been obtained by experience and practice.
If an attorney does not know the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, in and out, they probably are not a real truck accident lawyer.
6. What accident reconstruction experts do you use?
Truck accident attorneys will routinely retain expert witnesses who will “reconstruct” an accident and be the one who explains the accident scenario to the jury. Trucking companies and their insurers also retain these type of experts to aid their case. A good method of who you may want to hire would be to ask an expert who they think the premier truck accident attorney is in your area.
7. Can you give me references from actual truck accident clients?
If an attorney can give you references from a recent truck accident case it demonstrates not only that the attorney handles truck accident cases on an ongoing basis but also gives you an opportunity to find out from a third-party how the law firm operates and if they were satisfied with the representation and results.
At the end of the day who you choose to represent you after a commercial vehicle crash is probably the most important decision you’re going to make relating to the case or the claim.
8. Are you going to handle all aspects of my case or will another attorney also work on the file?
This is a very critical question that must be asked of any attorney your consider retaining for a semi truck accident. Every day clients are convinced to retain an attorney who then delegates the work on the file to an associate or another attorney who does not have the experience necessary to fight for maximum compensation.
In most of these cases, the attorney who was retained is “supervising” the case and gives assurances he will be involved, nevertheless, it is not the person that you hired who is actually handling the case.
This dilemma has proven to be disastrous for many clients and is one of the most misleading aspects of a large firm practice. You will want to retain the attorney was actually working on the file and not delegating your case to another. If you cannot get this assurance from the attorney you’re considering you may want to look elsewhere.
In commercial vehicle litigation experience does matter and the questions above are designed to help you understand the experience and practice of an attorney to you may retain to look after your financial interests after a serious injury or wrongful death truck accident.
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