Bagen Law Firm | December 1, 2022 | Truck Accidents
Transporting products in the United States is big business. Thousands of commercial vehicles, including semi-tractor trailers, travel interstate I-75, Florida highways, and local roads to deliver the items we use every day. Sometimes, these heavy trucks cause serious accidents that injure and kill other motorists. If a commercial driver negligently injured you or a loved one, you need to find the best truck accident lawyer in Florida to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Truck accidents can cause serious personal injuries because fully loaded trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds—20 to 30 times more than a standard passenger vehicle. Also, semi-trucks take longer to maneuver or stop before impact and can jackknife when drivers turn suddenly. Crash survivors often face significant medical expenses, lost income, and extensive recovery.
If a negligent truck driver or commercial carrier caused your truck accident injuries and financial losses, work with a skilled truck collision attorney who will advocate for you.
So, how do you find and hire the best truck accident lawyer in Florida? Let’s go through the process together.
First Phase: Narrow Your Search to Only Include Truck Accident Lawyers
Florida has thousands of personal injury and car accident lawyers. However, not all of them can handle truck accident cases. In one recent year, the Gainesville and Ocala areas reported almost 11,000 vehicle crashes resulting in more than 9,500 injured people. Of those accidents, more than 1,200 collisions involved a commercial truck, and 20 people died in those truck accidents.
If you were in a truck-related crash, you must work with an experienced truck accident lawyer. Truck accidents are usually more complicated than standard passenger vehicle crashes. The federal government regulates the commercial trucking industry, so a truck collision attorney must know the relevant federal rules and regulations. Accordingly, the best truck accident lawyers in Florida will understand the added difficulties involved in a semi-tractor or other commercial vehicle crashes.
Trucking companies and their drivers must abide by strict laws that protect other motorists. For example, although truckers must keep a log of their driving and sleeping hours, sleepy drivers who have exceeded their legal time behind the wheel cause many truck accidents. An experienced Florida truck accident lawyer will know how to obtain the driver’s records to determine if a legal violation caused your crash.
Reconstructing a commercial vehicle collision involves details not always related to a two-car crash investigation. Someone other than the driver might also bear liability for your injuries and financial losses.
A dedicated truck accident attorney will have the training and skill to review the factors that may have caused your injuries and determine who you may hold responsible. For example, the trucking company could bear liability for your legal damages if a poorly maintained commercial rig with worn-out brakes caused your accident.
You deserve an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to investigate commercial vehicle crash details and prepare a solid insurance claim or lawsuit to protect your rights.
You need a truck accident lawyer who knows how to gather:
- Truck driver’s logs,
- High-tech information from the truck’s black box,
- Driver training and supervision records,
- Maintenance reports,
- Post-accident drug or alcohol test results and more to determine how your accident occurred and who you can hold responsible for your losses.
So how do you find the best truck accident lawyer in Florida for your case? Start with research.
Second Phase: Research Your Best Options
To find the best truck accident lawyer in Florida to protect your rights, research attorneys who understand the trucking industry, how truck accidents happen, and the losses you suffered.
Consider these factors when starting your research:
- Does the lawyer have prior truck accident experience?
- Has the attorney represented other truck accident victims with similar injuries?
- Has the lawyer fought for accident victims’ rights against big trucking companies?
- Is the lawyer prepared to take on nationwide insurance companies that may offer a lowball settlement or deny the claim altogether?
- Can the attorney file a lawsuit if settlement negotiations fail?
You should use several methods to search for the best truck accident lawyer, including internet research and personal contacts.
- Use the Internet to Find the Best Attorney for a Truck Accident Case
Searching online is the fastest and easiest way to find a Florida truck accident lawyer.
Consider these options:
- Google, Bing, MS Edge, and other general search engines – Narrow your search by entering a few specific queries such as “Gainesville Florida truck accident lawyer” or “Ocala truck accident attorney.” Locate a few promising law firm websites and read their information to focus your search.
- Lawyer websites – While on a lawyer’s website, review the practice area pages know if they can handle truck accident cases. Look for previous client testimonials to read about other accident victims’ experiences with the firm or attorney. Pay special attention to awards and recognitions that show the lawyer’s reputation in the legal community.
- Avvo – Clients can post comments on this lawyer review site after working with a personal injury lawyer. Some lawyers ask their clients to write nice reviews for them, but many comments are unbiased, spontaneous reviews, both positive and negative.
- Yelp – Internet users can post reviews about businesses on Yelp. You may find helpful comments about a lawyer before you contact them. Lawyers can ask a client to post a review, but many clients freely share their experiences and insights here, especially if the attorney-client relationship went well.
- Bar Associations and Lawyer Directories – You can find state and local bar associations and lawyer directories that list attorneys who practice in those areas. Look at the association membership to see whether your potential attorney is a bar member in good standing or a listed association leader. You can also learn if the attorney is on the board of directors and how many years they have practiced law.
- Attorney disciplinary sites – Each state maintains an organization that monitors attorney activity, reviews client complaints, and disciplines lawyers if they violate the law or legal ethics. The Florida Disciplinary Review Committee handles complaints involving Florida lawyers. Search the truck accident lawyers you are considering to ensure they are members in good standing. Also, see whether they have past or pending client complaints or disciplinary actions.
- Social media like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn – Members can use these platforms to share comments about almost anything, including attorney critiques. Remember, these comments are often not fact-checked, so you must decide how much weight they should carry in your decision. Apply common sense and don’t always accept someone else’s opinion as accurate.
Place your focus on the lawyer’s prior truck accident experience and overall reputation. As a truck accident victim, you deserve an attorney with several years of personal injury law experience, specifically including truck accident cases.
You might also consider whether they are a solo practitioner or part of a firm. As mentioned above, truck collision cases may require extensive financial resources and additional legal personnel to help you recover the compensation you deserve. A dedicated legal team can support you after a traumatic event like a truck accident.
- Seek Referrals from Knowledgeable Sources
A great way to find the best truck accident lawyer in Florida is to ask around for referrals. Former clients, friends, and family members who can attest to a lawyer’s work are more reliable sources than online strangers. Talk to other accident victims to see if they can recommend a personal injury lawyer and why they suggest that particular person.
Specific questions to ask may include:
- How did the attorney treat them during the legal process?
- Did the lawyer respond to emails and phone calls within a reasonable time?
- Did they understand the lawyer’s legal strategy, and was it explained clearly?
- Were they included in any decisions, or did the lawyer tell them what to do?
- What was the outcome?
- How long did their case take to resolve?
- Did they think the lawyer’s fee was fair under the circumstances?
- Would they use the same lawyer if they suffered another injury?
Since every accident is different and the potential outcomes can vary dramatically, another person’s experience may differ from yours. Using multiple, reliable sources of information, you can find the best truck accident lawyer in Florida to handle your case.
Third Phase: Attend an Initial Case Consultation
You’ve researched and asked for referrals. Now it’s time to narrow your choices to a few personal injury attorneys that are your best truck accident lawyer options. Set up a free case consultation to discuss the specifics of your case with each.
The best truck collision lawyers in Florida accept cases on a contingency fee basis. Under this fee arrangement, you will not pay for phone calls or emails to discuss your case with your attorney. In fact, you should only pay lawyer fees if you receive payment for your losses.
Before your initial meeting, make a list of questions so you don’t forget to ask something important.
When you first meet with a truck accident lawyer, raise the following questions:
- How many years of personal injury law experience do you have?
- Have you handled other truck accident cases like mine? How did they turn out?
- Have you represented other clients who were injured like me?
- Have you negotiated with big trucking and insurance companies before? Have you faced the companies involved in my accident?
- How many truck accident cases have you settled without going to trial? How long should I expect a settlement to take?
- How many of your truck accident cases went to court? Did you win those trials?
- Is there a deadline to file a truck accident insurance claim?
- Is there a deadline to file a truck accident personal injury lawsuit?
- Who will I work with if I hire your firm? Will I be delegated to an associate or legal assistant?
- Who can I contact if I have questions?
- Do I have a strong case, and what is the chance I’ll recover my losses?
- How much is my truck accident case worth?
- When will I receive payment?
- How do you calculate your legal fees, and will you accept my case on a contingency fee basis?
Make sure they listen when you speak and answer your questions clearly. They should treat you with respect and compassion before you trust them with your personal and financial future.
After consulting your top choices, it’s time to decide which attorney you want to handle your case.
Listen to your instincts and trust your gut when choosing the best truck accident lawyer to retain.
Final Phase: Once You’ve Decided on the Best Truck Accident Lawyer in Florida, Put It in Writing
Your chosen lawyer will prepare a legal representation contract to create an attorney-client relationship. Read the document carefully and understand the terms. You both need to agree on what your truck accident injury lawyer will do and what your lawyer expects from you as well.
Make sure you understand the fee arrangement. If your lawyer agrees to work on a contingency fee basis, they should not bill you for phone calls or emails. In fact, you shouldn’t receive any payment requests until the end of your case when the attorney calculates their fees based on the amount you receive in your final settlement or verdict.
This way, you won’t need to worry about paying your lawyer while facing medical bills and other household expenses during your recovery. The contract should explain the fee your lawyer will receive at the end of your case.
Only sign the contract once you understand every term. After you place your trust in the personal injury attorney you chose, you can finally focus on your physical and emotional recovery, knowing your lawyer will protect your legal rights.