The actions you take after a collision can make or break the outcome of your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. There are many things you should and should not do following a serious truck accident in Florida.
One of the most important things you should do for your case is to retain a truck accident lawyer. Hiring a personal injury attorney enables you to protect your rights, negotiate the settlement you deserve, maximize your compensation, and move on with your life after a traumatic crash.
Below are five reasons a lawyer is critical to winning your case.
1. Lawyers Understand the Filing Process
Unless you’re a lawyer yourself, you won’t have the knowledge or experience necessary to optimize the outcome of your case – starting with the red tape of the filing process. Litigating truck accident claims requires knowledge of state and federal trucking industry laws, traffic rules and regulations, and the steps required to file a successful claim. Trying to file yourself exposes you to risks that could end in the courts refusing to hear your case – something that could be detrimental to your future.
You could miss deadlines, make critical errors, leave out information, or make other mistakes that lead to a delay or denial of your claim, if you try to file on your own. You also miss the opportunity to move your claim through in the quickest and most efficient way – something a lawyer can easily do for you. Filing through a lawyer puts the right paperwork in front of the right people at the right time – all to your favor. Start your claim on the right foot by retaining a lawyer from the start.
2. An Attorney Can Preserve Evidence
A key piece of evidence in any truck accident claim is the data stored in the vehicle’s black box. Most states have laws that make the black box, or the electronic logging device, the property of the trucking company. This means the company could be within its legal rights to destroy the black box or erase its data. A lawyer can prevent the destruction of this important evidence by filing a motion for a temporary restraining order over the data. An attorney can also direct parties not to remove the black box or erase/retrieve its data. Preservation of black box information is extremely important for most truck accident claims.
3. A Lawyer Won’t Miss Filing Deadlines
Florida civil courts don’t give accident victims an indefinite amount of time to bring their claims. To make things as fair as possible, the courts impose statutes of limitations on personal injury claims, or deadlines for filing. Missing your deadline almost always results in the courts refusing to hear your case. Even if the courts allow you to proceed, the defense can use the missed deadline as an argument for the courts to drop the case. If you miss your deadline, you could lose the opportunity to obtain compensation forever – regardless of the strength of your case.
4. Lawyers Have Experience Speaking to Insurance Companies
After a collision with a commercial truck, the trucking company’s insurer will most likely contact you. You might receive a call from an insurance agent or insurance claims adjuster as soon as the day of the crash. The trucking insurance company is not on your side. The insurance adjuster has the best interests of the company in mind, not yours. The insurer’s goal is to convince you to settle your claim for as little as possible. Do not accept a settlement or record a statement without first talking to a truck accident lawyer.
Adjusters often know less about your crash than you do – they have other claims to process and are typically pressed for time. With a little bit of negotiation, you may be able to get much more for your settlement than the insurance adjuster initially offered. Knowing what to say to the claims adjuster can make a big difference in the outcome of your insurance claim. A lawyer can take over settlement negotiations on your behalf, to get the most for your case.
5. An Attorney Can Work Wonders in a Courtroom
If your case cannot successfully settle during insurance negotiations, a lawyer can take your case to court, in pursuit of fair and just compensation. You will want to retain a seasoned trial attorney to optimize your courtroom experience. Your lawyer should feel comfortable representing you in front of a judge and jury. The lawyer should be able to reconstruct the accident, hire key expert witnesses, and take other steps to prove your losses, pain and suffering, and the defendant’s fault. The skill of your attorney in the courtroom can greatly affect a jury verdict amount in a truck accident case.
When you retain a truck accident lawyer, you sign up for expert legal guidance every step of the claims process. They can get help protect your rights and pursue maximum damage recovery. Never underestimate the value of a good attorney.
To learn more about truck accidents, read our A Comprehensive Guide for Truck Accident Victims.