1. How many truck accident cases do you currently have?
Many Texas personal injury attorneys handle truck accident cases when they can 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.
You can often research by “Googling” a perspective law firm or attorney and find that they have multiple websites in 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 was the last multiple-million-dollar truck accident case you handled?
Most trucking companies are insured by a handful of insurance companies who tend to write most of commercial vehicle policies. Each of these insurance companies maintains 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. The experience is important for the dealings with the motor carrier’s insurance company and 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 depositions of the defense experts. By maintaining records of the defense 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 will 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 which area of the personal injury practice is central to the attorney you are considering retaining is to go to the 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 might 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 quickly separate a real truck accident attorney from a general personal injury attorney. Suppose the attorney can answer the question without referring to the Regulations or looking them up. In that case, 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 scene to the jury. Trucking companies and their insurers also retain these types 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?
Suppose an attorney can give you references from a recent truck accident case. In that case, it demonstrates that the attorney handles truck accident cases on an ongoing basis and allows you 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, which truck accident lawyer you choose to represent you after a commercial vehicle crash is probably the most important decision you will make relating to the case or the claim.
8. Will you 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 you 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 retained attorney is “supervising” the case and assures him he will be involved. Nevertheless, it is not the person that you hired who is handling the case.
This dilemma has proven disastrous for many clients and is one of the most misleading aspects of a large firm’s practice. You will want to retain the attorney who was actually working on the file and not delegate your case to another. If you cannot get this assurance from the attorney, you’re considering you may want to look elsewhere.
In the 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.