How truck accident claims work
If you have been in an accident with a commercial truck or 18-wheeler, you may be entitled to pursue a compensation claim to recover money for expenses and losses you incur due to personal injury and property damage. Here is what you need to know about pursuing a truck accident claim in New Jersey.
Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer
First, you should retain a truck accident lawyer as early as possible in the process. Truck accident attorneys typically offer free initial consultations, so you can find one that you feel comfortable working with without incurring a consultation fee. When hiring an attorney, you’ll need to sign a retainer agreement or letter of engagement that outlines the terms of the attorney-client relationship.
Important terms to discuss with your truck accident lawyer include:
- The contingent fee percentage that the attorney will earn if they win compensation for you if you choose to pursue the case pursuant to contingency fee agreement.
- Other expenses of preparing your case, such as record fees or costs of hiring expert witnesses.
- How the attorney will handle your case, including the filing of the claim, the sequence of the steps of the litigation, and negotiation of settlement or preparation for trial.
Let Your Lawyer Handle Communicating with Other Parties
Once you have legal representation, your attorney should handle any communications relating to the truck accident or your compensation claim. While you should report the accident to your own insurance company, if you are contacted by an adjuster from your insurer or the trucking company’s insurer or by a representative of the trucking company, you should direct them to speak to your lawyer instead. Do not agree to give a statement about the accident and do not answer any questions asked by an insurance adjuster. Never sign any documents, even from your own insurance company, until you have had them reviewed by your lawyer.
Investigation of the Accident
Your attorney will also undertake an investigation of the truck accident to recover evidence to prove the merits of your claim for compensation. Investigative steps that your lawyer will take may include:
- Sending investigators to the scene of the crash to take photos and videos
- Reviewing police accident reports
- Obtaining surveillance or traffic camera footage of the accident
- Requesting documentation from the trucking company, such as driver hours of service logs, cargo manifests, and truck inspection records
- Speaking with eyewitnesses
- Hiring accident reconstruction experts to prepare a report or animation depicting the accident
File Your Claim/Demand Letter
If your attorney has sufficient evidence to prove the trucking company’s liability for the accident and your injuries, they may send a demand letter to the trucking companies or their insurers. This letter will lay out the evidence you have demonstrating fault for the truck accident and documenting the expenses and losses that you have incurred. The letter typically starts the process of settlement negotiation, in which you try to reach an agreement that pays you compensation in exchange for releasing your claims against the at-fault parties. In some cases, this letter is not sent, and a lawsuit is filed instead.
Obtain Compensation in a Settlement or at Trial
Many truck accident claims are resolved through a settlement. However, sometimes it is necessary for a claim to be taken to court and trial. If your attorney and the trucking companies cannot reach a fair settlement agreement, your lawyer will bring your case to trial where a jury or judge will make a final, binding ruling on your claim.
Contact a Clark Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Truck Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a truck accident in New Jersey? Don’t wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Team Law represent clients injured because of truck accidents in Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 540-1394 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 5603 Bergenline Ave, West New York, NJ 07093, as well as offices in Perth Amboy, Edison, Summit, Newark, New Brunswick, Orange, Plainfield, Clark, and Jersey City.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.