If you are in an accident with a big rig, you may be considering pursuing a claim alone. There are certain factors you need to bear in mind when it comes to forgoing an attorney in your 18-wheeler case. Handling an 18-wheeler case without an attorney is not always a good idea.
Taking on an Insurance Company
In the aftermath of an injury 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 profits by reducing the amount paid in insurance settlement claims, including in 18-wheeler accident cases. The insurance company wants to pay as little or nothing as possible IF they can get away with that!
If you elect to handle your 18-wheeler case independently, you must be prepared to take on an insurance company during the claims settlement process. You must understand how to counter tactics an insurance company utilizes to reach a fair settlement in your 18-wheeler accident case.
Countering the adjuster’s tactics to get a fair settlement is not easy because, on your own, you have no leverage to force a fair payment. Consider hiring an 18-wheeler truck accident specialist to represent you with your claim.
Tactics of the Insurers
The adage is “delay, deny, and defend,” you can expect that and more from your adjuster. Until you hear what they want to pay, trusting the adverse insurer is not a good plan. One common method adjusters use is to make you feel 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 they will pay a reasonable amount for the damages since liability is not disputed. That is never the case!
Many semi accidents are caused by driver error and safety violations of the driver, company, or both. Examples are endless, but most common are working beyond the permitted hours, failing to maintain the big rig, and speeding.
If the company can prevent you from learning about the violations, they will save money- sometimes big! Many times, it is only through truck accident 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 personal injury law and litigation complexities.
Even if you represent yourself, you will still be required to prepare legal documents and follow court procedures like a seasoned attorney.
The court initially may cut you some slack if you make a mistake. In the long run, you can face sanctions if you fail to comply with the court process, rules, and statutory provisions. 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 the money you receive. You may have initially concluded that hiring a lawyer will significantly lower your in-pocket compensation in your case because of attorney fees.
The reality is that, more often than not, a person who hires a lawyer in an 18-wheeler accident case ends up with more money in hand than an individual who doesn’t retain legal counsel. Even when attorney fees are considered, obtaining more money with a lawyer proves to be the case. This is true with car and motorcycle accidents as well. Hiring a top-rated motorcycle accident lawyer as a truck crash attorney costs the same- nothing up front!
Also, most attorneys utilize a contingency fee arrangement in this case. You pay no fee in the case unless the lawyer obtains a favorable settlement or judgment for you.
Additionally, medical expenses must often be repaid to the hospital in case of a hospital lien or repaid to a health insurance company under contractual subrogation. If you elect to represent yourself, you will be required to handle this medical reimbursement of your case. On the other hand, attorneys 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. It allows you to focus on recovery or dealing with the grieving process. Unless you have been through something similar before, it is hard to know what actions to take after an 18-wheeler accident. 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.
Tips For Dealing With an 18-Wheeler Injury Claim
As an attorney with over 35 years of experience in handling truck accident litigation, I have a few tips and suggestions for those injured in an accident with a big rig and looking for the best way to handle their personal injury claim.
- If your injuries are minor, and you are confident that you have fully recovered and will have no further medical treatment or issues, handling a truck accident case yourself may make sense.
- If your injuries are not minor or you suspect you don’t know exactly how badly you are hurt, do not consider settlement discussions at that stage.
- You must learn the value of your case to get fair compensation for the claim.
- If the adjuster is reaching out to you early and working to instigate a settlement, ask yourself why they are doing that.
- If your injuries are not minor and you have ongoing medical treatment, take advantage of a free consultation with an experienced attorney in truck accident lawsuits.
- When considering hiring a truck accident lawyer, hiring one early in the process is best before vital evidence has been lost or destroyed. Also, damage can be done to a case by delaying representation and attempting to resolve a case on your own.
- If you decide to hire an attorney for taking your 18-wheeler accident case, always look to a local attorney with a wealth of experience in truck accident litigation. Do not consider an out-of-town or out-of-state attorney for your case. If you have seen a lawyer or law firm on TV, that is not the right choice.
Contact a Leading Truck Accident Law Firm in Houston, Texas
The truck accident attorneys at Baumgartner Law Firm have been helping victims of semi-truck collisions maximize compensation for over 35 years. Call for a no-obligation consultation! (281) 587-1111!
6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX, 77069