7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer
Are you trying to decide whether to hire an attorney to represent you after a truck accident? If so, you aren’t alone. There are more than 500,000 semi-truck accidents in the United States each year. Being involved in a truck crash can be a life-changing experience for you and your family. After overcoming the initial shock of an accident, you will need the help of a trusted truck accident lawyer to handle your claims against at-fault parties.
Read on to learn about the seven questions you must ask your prospective truck accident lawyer.
1. Where Did You Attend Law School, and Are You Licensed?
Law school and the bar exam are a rite of passage for most attorneys throughout the country. In the vast majority of states, a lawyer must first gain admission into an ABA-accredited law school.
After three years of rigorous study in law school, a student must graduate and begin studying for a state bar exam. A legal education includes courses like evidence, trial advocacy, and civil procedure.
A prospective attorney must pass the bar exam and have clear character and fitness to receive a law license. It’s important to find out which law school your attorney graduated from and how long they have been licensed to practice law in your state.
2. How Will I Be Billed for Your Legal Services?
Before you hire a truck accident lawyer, have a clear understanding of how you will compensate them for their services. Attorneys bill their clients in a variety of ways. Besides an hourly rate, the vast majority of truck crash lawyers charge their clients on a contingency fee basis.
What is a contingency fee, and why is it helpful for you? In short, a contingency fee is ‘contingent’ on whether you win or lose your case. This is beneficial to you because you will not have to forego filing a lawsuit for financial reasons.
Speak with a prospective law firm about how they will charge you for their services.
3. What Experience Do You Have Handling Truck Crash Cases?
The best truck accident lawyer is one with vast amounts of experience handling these cases. When you are injured by a semi-truck driver, many different causes of action may arise.
These include negligence and vicarious liability. Negligence is when a defendant fails to abide by a certain level of conduct required by law. When this breach of law causes damages to you it can classify as negligence.
Vicarious liability can occur in different factual situations. The most common one is where an employee injures someone while working for their employer. In that scenario, both the employer and employee may be legally responsible for damages owed to you.
Discuss how your prospective lawyer’s experience is important for your particular case.
4. How Will You Communicate with Me During Representation?
Arguably, the most important aspects of the attorney-client relationship are trust, honesty, and communication. You must trust your attorney will act in your best interest at all times.
Your lawyer must also be honest with you about the reality of winning your case and what can go wrong during the discovery process at trial. Communication is important throughout a lawyer’s representation.
You need assurances that your attorney will keep you up-to-date about what is happening with your case. This includes having a clear understanding of the method of communication between you and the law firm.
Does your lawyer communicate in a convenient way that fits well with your lifestyle? If your attorney does not use email very often and that is your primary form of correspondence, it’s important to know about it now.
5. What are the Strengths and Weaknesses of My Case?
Regardless of what you have seen on TV or read about in a book, there is hardly ever a clear-cut case one way or another. Whether a small or large claim is made, the weaknesses of a case can greatly diminish its value.
Avoid listening to only the good news that a prospective lawyer shares with you. The best law firms will give you a real sense of the pros and cons of your lawsuit. You will have a better idea about the status of your case and what it’s worth. Don’t forget that even if your case is strong now, a lot can change in litigation.
During the discovery phase of a lawsuit, your lawyer will learn a lot about your case by asking questions (interrogatories) and speaking with witnesses during depositions.
Knowing the important details of your case can help give you a more realistic expectation for the future.
6. Will You Be Ready to Go to Trial?
Did you know about 1 percent of civil lawsuits go to trial? Even though the chances are low that your case is tried, you can’t overlook the importance of hiring a trial lawyer.
Talk with a prospective attorney about their trial experience. What kind of cases have they taken to trial before and what was the result? You can learn a lot about how a lawyer handles trials by speaking with them about their experience.
When a lawyer has a reputation for going to trial it can help influence defendant litigants to resolve a lawsuit before it gets to that point. Always remember, the past performance of an attorney is not a guarantee of a future result in your case.
7. Who is Responsible for My Damages Under the Law?
When you find the best truck accident lawyer, they can give you valuable insight regarding who may be at fault for your damages. Although you may believe only the driver of a vehicle should be at fault, discussing this point with your lawyer may lead to a different result.
For example, in the case where an individual drives a vehicle to perform work duties, the driver’s employer is liable for damages caused by an accident if the employee is at fault. Knowing who to name as a defendant in a lawsuit is important for your case.
The more defendants involved in a lawsuit, the more parties will be present at a negotiating table. It can increase the likelihood that parties will seek to resolve the lawsuit to avoid further litigation expenses.
Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer
Hiring a truck accident attorney can be one of the most important decisions of your life. You need an advocate for your best interest in and out of court. Our lawyers are passionate about helping victims seek justice from negligent parties.
At Alpha Accident Lawyers, we are truck accident lawyers with decades of experience handling truck accident claims. We work closely with our clients to provide the best legal representation.
Contact us today to learn more about our legal services and to set up a free consultation!