Washington semi-truck accident claims are notoriously complex. While many personal injury attorneys are willing to represent clients who have been hurt in commercial transportation accidents, some lawyers lack the experience needed to effectively advocate for their clients.
If you have been seriously injured or a loved one has been killed in a crash with a commercial semi-truck, it is vital that you make an effort to find the best possible attorney to represent you in your claim for compensation.
Questions to Ask Your Truck Accident Attorney
Personal injury law firms usually offer free consultations. During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to explain your case and ask the lawyer questions. Before making a decision to hire an attorney, try to get answers to the following questions:
How Much Experience Do They Have?
Your attorney’s experience—or lack thereof—could make or break your case. In general, legal offices that have more experience fighting auto claims are more likely to get their clients positive results. Crashes involving semi-trucks are not the same as other types of motor vehicle collisions. You want a law firm that has successfully resolved dozens of semi-truck crash claims.
What Are Their Areas of Specialization?
While few lawyers exclusively represent semi-truck accident victims, the firm may have a dedicated commercial vehicle wreck practice area. Hiring an attorney who specializes in semi-truck accidents could bolster your chances of success since they will know how to approach your case without needing to research the trucking industry’s legal peculiarities.
Conversely, even highly experienced attorneys who primarily handle other personal injury cases—such as premises liability claims—may not understand the intricacies of truck accident cases.
What Kind of Evidence Will They Review?
Semi-truck accident claims revolve around evidence—evidence that your attorney should know how to collect, analyze, and assess. If you have already begun collecting evidence, ask the lawyer about the following:
- Police reports. If the accident resulted in personal injury or significant property damage, you or the truck driver might have been required to inform law enforcement of the collision. While you may or may not have a copy of the report in your possession, the investigating officer’s findings could be used to determine fault and liability.
- Your vehicle. You might be inclined to repair your vehicle immediately after an accident, especially if you have comprehensive insurance. However, a damaged vehicle can be an invaluable source of information. Before making a fix-it decision, ask your attorney for their advice.
- Photographs from the accident site. If you took pictures of your damaged vehicle, your injuries, or important road features, your attorney might be able to use your photographs as additional evidence.
Your attorney should also be prepared to obtain the following:
- The semi-truck driver’s accident and violations history
- The semi-truck driver’s electronic logbook
- The trucking company’s vehicle inspection and maintenance records
Since trucking companies will sometimes alter or suppress these critical documents in the immediate aftermath of a serious accident, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Are They Familiar With Trucking Industry Regulations?
Semi-truck accidents are very different from ordinary car accidents since the interstate trucking industry is regulated at the federal level. Ideally, your attorney should be intimately familiar with Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration regulations, as well as industry-specific insurance rules and expectations.
How Much Do They Charge?
Every law firm has its own fee schedule.
Max Meyers Law, for instance, never asks our clients to pay for our services upfront. Instead, we operate on a contingency fee basis. In other words, we pay for routine legal services and expenses. If and when we win a case, we deduct our client’s payment as a percentage of their award or settlement. While most personal injury firms operate on a similar basis, every office has its own contingency fee. Before hiring an attorney, ask about their contingency fee, their percentage, and their results for similar cases.