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Handling an 18-Wheeler Accident Case on Your Own: What You Must Know


If you are in an accident with an 18-wheeler, you may be considering pursuing a claim on your own. There are certain factors you need to bear in mind when it comes to forgoing an attorney in your 18-wheeler case.

big rig attorney

Taking on an Insurance Company

In the aftermath of an accident with an 18-wheeler, you must file and pursue a claim with an insurance company. You need to know that an insurance company is in business to make money for its shareholders. An insurer increases its profits by reducing the amount of money paid out in insurance settlement claims. Including in 18-wheeler accident cases. The insurance company wants to pay as little as possible or nothing at all IF they can get away with that!

If you elect to handle your 18-wheeler case on your own, you need to be prepared to take on an insurance company during the claims settlement process. You must understand how to counter tactics utilized by an insurance company to reach a fair settlement in your 18-wheeler accident case. Countering the adjuster tactics to get a fair settlement are not easy because, on your own, you have no leverage to force a fair payment.

Tactics of the Insurers

The old adage is “delay, deny and defend” and you can expect that and more from your adjuster. Until you actually hear what they want to pay, trusting the adverse insurer is not a good plan. One common method used by adjusters is to make you feel like they will be fair to you. Often they acknowledge the fault of their driver (which is not binding on the insurer). The hope is that you will believe that they will pay a reasonable amount for the damages since liability is not disputed. That is never the case!

Many semi accidents are caused not only by driver error but also by safety violations of the driver, company, or both. Examples are endless, but most common are working beyond the permitted number of hours, failing to maintain the big rig, and speeding. If the company can avoid you learning about the violations they will save money- sometimes big money!  Many times it is only through lawsuit discovery by a skilled 18 wheeler accident lawyer that the violations are discovered.

Personal Injury Laws and Court Procedures

Another reality you address if you contemplate forgoing legal representation in an 18-wheeler accident case is the complexities of personal injury law and litigation.

Even if you end up representing yourself, you still will be required to prepare legal documents and follow court procedures in the same manner as would a seasoned attorney.

The court initially may cut you some slack if you make a mistake of some sort. In the long run, if you fail to comply with the court process, rules, and statutory provisions, you can face sanctions. You could even have your case dismissed by the court.

Hiring a Lawyer, Attorney Fees, and a Final Settlement

The main reason why you may be considering handling an 18-wheeler accident on your own is to maximize compensation in your case. You may have initially concluded that hiring a lawyer will result in a significant lessening of compensation in your case because of attorney fees.

The reality is that, more often than not, a person who ends up hiring a lawyer in an 18-wheeler accident case ends up with more in the way of compensation than an individual who doesn’t retain legal counsel. Obtaining more money with a lawyer proves to be the case even when attorney fees are taken into consideration. This is true with car and motorcycle accidents as well. It costs the same to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer as a truck crash attorney- nothing up front!

Also, most attorneys utilize a contingency fee arrangement in this type of case. You pay no fee in the case unless the lawyer obtains a favorable settlement or judgment for you.

Additionally, many times medical expenses must be repaid to the hospital in the event of a hospital lien or repaid to a health insurance company under contractual subrogation. You will be required to handle this medical reimbursement of your case if you elect to represent yourself. Attorneys, on the other hand, will do this work for you and in many instances, can get discounts from the health care interests or insurers because of the need for the attorney.

Worry and Stress

Hiring an attorney with experience in personal injury from trucking accidents takes the stress of the situation away and allows you to focus on recovery or dealing with the grieving process. Unless you have been through something similar before, it is hard to who what actions to take after an 18 wheeler accident. Not only do studies show you get more money with an attorney than without, but the law firm also handles the hard work required to advance your case.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer

The truck accident attorneys at Baumgartner Law Firm have been helping victims of semi-truck collisions maximize compensation for more than 35 years. Call for a no-obligation consultation! (281) 587-1111!




For more information see:

Nolo.com – http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/personal-injury-claims-handle-own-30140.html

American Bar Association – https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/personalinjury.html


Greg Baumgartner

attorney greg baumgartner

Greg Baumgartner has practiced personal injury law since 1984. He holds not one but two law degrees and is a graduate of Trial Lawyers College. He is licensed in Texas and Colorado. Mr. Baumgartner has earned a reputation for exemplary results for his clients. And has been preeminent rated for decades and recognized by Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Expertise, Newsweek, Houstonia magazine, and many others. He has given educational talks to lawyers and many media interviews regarding personal injury cases.