The aftermath of a truck accident involves more than just dealing with severe injuries. Victims of these accidents have to overcome many intricate legal challenges to get the compensation they rightfully deserve. Schedule a free case evaluation to explore your legal options today.

Dealing with the legal aspects of a truck accident case is no walk in the park. On top of dealing with physical injuries and emotional trauma, victims also have to face the legal complexities to pay their medical bills and get their lives back on track. Fortunately, they do not have to go through this alone. That’s where the expertise of a truck accident lawyer comes into play.

Many people hesitate to contact an attorney after an accident, which is often because they are not fully aware of the benefits of hiring a truck accident attorney. In this post, we are going to discuss the advantages of getting legal representation after being involved in a life-altering vehicle accident.

With 15 years of experience serving clients in Missouri and Southern Illinois, we have what it takes to successfully navigate the complicated landscape of truck accident lawsuits and secure the compensation you deserve. Call 314-860-1644 to get started.

What Is a Truck Accident Lawyer?

A truck accident lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in handling personal injury cases related to accidents that involve large trucks, including commercial trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and big rigs. These attorneys possess in-depth knowledge of the specific laws and regulations that govern the trucking industry and are skilled in representing those who have been injured as a result of truck accidents. Here’s a closer look at the responsibilities of a truck accident lawyer to give you a better understanding of what these legal professionals can do.

Investigating Accidents

A truck accident lawyer is responsible for investigating the circumstances surrounding an accident. This may include:

  • Gathering evidence from the scene
  • Preserving evidence
  • Examining accident reports
  • Analyzing the truck’s black box data
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Consulting with experts, including accident reconstruction experts

Investigations play a pivotal role in determining the cause of the accident and identifying all potentially liable parties. Since commercial trucks are usually owned by large corporations, determining liability can be complicated due to the multiple parties involved.

Navigating Regulations

Commercial trucking is heavily regulated by both state and federal laws. A lawyer in this field must understand and interpret these complex regulations when building a legal case for their client. This includes knowledge of:

  • Hours of service regulations
  • Truck maintenance requirements
  • Load restrictions
  • Licensing standards

A comprehensive understanding of these regulations is imperative in determining whether any violations contributed to the accident and who is at fault.

Handling Insurance Claims

Truck accident lawyers manage claims with insurance companies to ensure their clients receive fair compensation. This includes:

  • Evaluating the extent of damages and injuries
  • Calculating appropriate compensation amounts
  • Preparing demand letters and counteroffer letters
  • Negotiating settlements with insurance adjusters

Since insurance companies may attempt to minimize payouts, having a lawyer advocate for fair compensation is critical.

Legal Representation

If you do not obtain adequate compensation through negotiations, your truck accident lawyer will provide you with the necessary legal representation in court. They will:

  • Prepare and file legal documents on your behalf
  • Walk you through all pre-trial activities
  • Represent your interests during trial proceedings
  • Argue the case before a judge or jury

Let’s be real: standing in the courtroom alone with no one by your side can be an intimidating and nerve-wracking experience. That is why you can benefit from hiring an attorney who will present your case in front of the judge and jury to maximize your chances of winning.

The Difference Between a Truck Accident Lawyer and a Personal Injury Lawyer

While any qualified lawyer can offer guidance and legal services following a traffic accident, not every attorney is familiar with the complexities of truck accidents. Truck accidents fall under the umbrella of personal injury law, and so every truck accident lawyer is also a personal injury attorney. However, not all personal injury lawyers are equally experienced in navigating truck accident lawsuits.

The following are some of the key reasons victims of truck accidents should hire a lawyer specialized in truck accident injury cases: 

  • Industry-specific knowledge. Truck accident lawyers have deep knowledge of the trucking industry, including specific laws and regulations that govern it, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. Understanding the standards set for trucking companies and drivers at the federal level is vital for identifying violations and building a strong case. Personal injury lawyers – while they handle a broad spectrum of claims like regular car accidents and slip and falls – may not always possess the same level of industry-specific knowledge as a truck accident lawyer. This specialized knowledge can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful injury claim.  
  • Necessary expertise in truck accident cases. Truck accident lawyers bring a wealth of experience specific to the types of injuries and damages that result from these devastating collisions. They are familiar with the common causes of truck accidents, from driver fatigue to equipment failure, and understand how to gather evidence that is pertinent to a client’s specific situation. In contrast, a personal injury lawyer may have a broader practice that does not always offer such focused expertise. 
  • Experience in dealing with trucking companies. After a truck accident, you are not just dealing with an at-fault driver – you are also contending with their employer, the trucking company. Truck accident lawyers have the experience needed to tackle issues that arise when these corporate entities and their insurers get involved. A lawyer is equipped to deal with tactics that trucking companies might use to minimize their liability or shift the blame onto the victim. Personal injury lawyers may not be as prepared for the formidable legal resources these companies often employ. 
  • Skills in navigating the complexities of truck accident claims. The complexity of truck accident claims can be considerable, with factors like multiple jurisdictions and extensive financial repercussions coming into play. A truck accident lawyer has the necessary skills to unravel these complexities and ensure that all contributing factors to the accident – such as truck maintenance records, driver logs, and black box data – are meticulously examined and preserved. On the other hand, a personal injury lawyer without specialization in truck accidents might not be as proficient in dealing with the complexities of truck accident claims. 

As you can see, an attorney who is not specialized in handling cases related to truck accidents may not have the expertise, skills, and resources necessary to work on your case as effectively as an experienced truck accident lawyer would. 

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer?

Are you thinking of contacting a lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case but are not sure how you would benefit from their legal representation? Learning more about the advantages of hiring a truck accident lawyer may help you make the right decision in this situation: 

1. You Will Know What Your Legal Options Are & How Much Your Case Is Worth

After a truck accident, understanding your legal rights, what compensation you may be entitled to, and how to proceed with your claim is crucial. An experienced attorney will analyze your case and inform you about:

  • What compensation you can claim for your injuries, damages, and losses; 
  • How much your case is worth, so you do not settle for less; and
  • Which solutions, including a settlement or litigation, are available to ensure a more favorable outcome.

With their knowledge of case precedents and settlement averages, truck accident lawyers can offer a realistic overview of the potential outcomes. If your negligence contributed to the accident, your attorney will explain how being partially at fault can affect your right to compensation under the doctrine of comparative negligence.

In Missouri, which adheres to the pure comparative negligence system, the injured party’s recoverable damages are reduced in proportion to their degree of fault and, more importantly, they are entitled to compensation even if they are found to be 99% at fault (Revised Statutes of Missouri § 537.765). 

2. You Will Be Able to Gather and Preserve Evidence in Your Case in a Timely Manner

Evidence plays a critical role in any truck accident case. Lawyers know the importance of acting quickly to prevent evidence from being lost or destroyed by the interested parties, including the trucker and their employer. Attorneys also have the tools and network to collect comprehensive evidence, including black box data, surveillance camera footage, driver logs, vehicle maintenance records, police reports, and more.

3. You Will Not Have to Deal with Insurance Companies Yourself

Interactions with insurance companies can be tricky to handle on your own. Attorneys have experience negotiating with insurance providers and understand their tactics, which is why having an attorney on your side can strengthen your position during negotiations. When dealing with the insurer, your lawyer will act as your advocate to ensure that you are being treated fairly and with the respect you deserve. 

4. You Will Not Need to Spend a Significant Amount of Time Researching the Relevant Laws and Regulations

Truck accident attorneys have a thorough understanding of state and federal trucking regulations, which means you will not have to do an extensive and daunting search online in an attempt to understand all the relevant laws and regulations overnight. Your lawyer will manage all aspects of your case, saving you significant time and effort. 

5. You Can Be Confident That Your Legal Rights Will Be Protected & That You Will Obtain Maximum Compensation

Your attorney will stand up for your rights and work to protect your interests from the moment you hire them and throughout the legal process. With a skilled lawyer, you are more likely to receive the maximum compensation possible for your case as your lawyer will advise you on the best strategy to seek compensation through all available sources. 

One of the common reasons people miss out on the compensation they need and deserve is waiting too long to take legal action. Each state has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including those arising from truck accidents. In Missouri, for example, injured victims have five years from the date the injury is sustained or discovered to initiate legal action (Revised Statutes of Missouri § 516.120). Your lawyer will make sure that you meet all relevant deadlines and procedural requirements that apply to your case. 

6. You Can Enjoy a Sense of Relief & Have Peace of Mind to Focus On Your Recovery

With a seasoned attorney handling your case, you can minimize the stresses of legal proceedings and focus entirely on your physical and emotional recovery. Having a lawyer by your side means that someone is always looking out for your best interests. The knowledge that your case is in capable hands is very powerful and can go a long way in making the entire legal process more bearable.

How to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer

Now that you know what a truck accident injury lawyer can do for you, you may be wondering, “How do I hire a lawyer for my case?” When it comes to finding legal representation, getting started is always difficult, especially if you have never done it before. Below, we have prepared a short guide to help you out: 

  • Search for truck accident lawyers in your area. Begin by looking for attorneys with a practice focus on truck accidents in your area. You can start with a simple Google search such as “truck accident lawyer near me” or something more specific like “truck accident lawyer in St. Louis” if you live in St. Louis. You can also check legal directories, such as the American Bar Association (ABA) or your state’s bar association, and professional networks like LinkedIn to find lawyers who specialize in truck accident law.
  • Ask your family and friends for referrals. Personal recommendations can be invaluable. Ask your family members, friends, or colleagues if they have ever hired a truck accident lawyer or know someone who did and can recommend their services. Hiring a lawyer through referrals from people you trust gives you the confidence and reassurance you need to move forward with your case. 
  • Schedule initial consultations. Once you have compiled a list of potential lawyers in your area, schedule initial consultations with them. Many lawyers, including Tom Wilmowski, offer free consultations, which provide an opportunity to discuss your case and get a feel for the lawyer’s expertise and compatibility with your needs without any financial commitments. It also allows you to compare different lawyers’ perspectives and approaches to your case before hiring one. 
  • Prepare questions for the lawyer. Before meeting with a lawyer, prepare a list of questions to ask. Inquire about their experience with similar cases, the success rate in litigating or settling truck accident claims, and their familiarity with the laws governing the trucking industry. Ask about their fee structure – many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, so they only get paid if they win your case.
  • Consider the lawyer’s experience and qualifications. Evaluate each lawyer’s credentials. Look for a lawyer with a track record of handling similar truck accident cases successfully. Check if they have earned any awards or recognitions from professional associations. Confirm that they have a valid license to practice law in your state and whether they have any disciplinary history. Choosing a lawyer with a profound understanding of not only personal injury law but also the specific regulations and complexities associated with the trucking industry can be instrumental in the outcome of your case.

Through careful consideration and due diligence, you can choose a truck accident lawyer who is best suited to handle your case and maximize your chances for a successful outcome. Remember that the lawyer-client relationship is a partnership, so select a lawyer who you feel comfortable working with and who demonstrates a commitment to advocating on your behalf.

Have you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in an accident with a large truck? You might want to speak with Tom Wilmowski, a reputable and experienced truck accident attorney in St. Louis. Tom offers compassionate representation to truck accident victims and their families in Missouri and Southern Illinois and is committed to providing personalized attention for each client. Request your free case evaluation with Tom by calling 314-860-1644 or emailing us