Just because a lawyer says they handle “personal injury” and “accident” cases doesn’t necessarily mean that they have the knowledge and experience needed to handle injury cases arising from tractor-trailer or commercial vehicle accidents.
We see a lot of truck accident injury cases in Baltimore, probably because several major highways pass through the area.
These cases differ significantly from the average auto accident case. For starters, there are usually several parties involved other than the driver. There may be corporate entities that own the “tractor” portion of the rig and the “trailer” portion.
There are often leasing agreements between the parties that dictate who is the responsible party, and what insurance is primary. There are special requirements in terms of safety inspections by state and federal regulatory authorities, and special licensing requirements for commercial drivers. It is important to hire an injury lawyer who knows where to find this information and how to use it to best present your claim for damages.
Getting the Right Lawyer Quickly Matters
In a truck accident case, the trucking company will have a lawyer at the scene of the crash. They are already accumulating evidence and getting a head start. So you want to get the right lawyer to help you quickly. There are specific guidelines that federal and Maryland law imposes on trucking companies with respect to how long they must retain certain records. There is also a black box that might have a treasure trove of data about how the accident happened. But many Maryland personal injury lawyers who do not handle trucking cases do not know this. They also do not know, as our truck accident lawyers have seen from experience, that these companies are pretty desperate to delete the records that show they are responsible for the crash. To stop all of this, or mitigate the harm if they do when they destroy records, you need to set up the case correctly and quickly. Time is of the essence.
Is There a Difference Between a Truck Accident Lawyer and a Regular Personal Injury Lawyer?
"How different from a car accident can a truck accident be?" is the question a lawyer asks when presented with a large truck accident case. First, in many truck accident cases, the differences in the skill required are like day and night. Because there are so many issues specific to truck accident claims. (We just settled a truck accident case for a lot of money, in no small measure because we understand broker liability which is something I don't think most truck accident lawyers understand.) If you are up against an experienced truck accident defense lawyer and you don't have that experience, it is like an adult against a child.
Why Does Your Lawyer's Bank Account Matter?
More pragmatically, these cases cost a lot and take a lot of preparation. The numbers involved are larger. Does that make a difference? It absolutely does. If you are used to handling smaller cases, the amount of money involved is distracting. Some lawyers will focus — wittingly or not — more on keeping costs down and preserving their fee than they are maximizing the value of the claim. It makes them quicker on the trigger finger to settle for less. Of course, the defense lawyers know full well who is who and they approach the case accordingly. If you have limited experience in truck accident cases, they will wait longer to see if you blink and the fear of an excess verdict is much less.
How Should Truck Accident Victims Pick a Lawyer?
When you are selecting an attorney, ask how many truck accident injury cases they have handled, and taken to trial. What were the results in these cases? Does the lawyer you are considering really have the specialized knowledge and experience needed to get the best result in a trucking injury case? It’s much better to get this information upfront than it is to regret your choice of counsel later.