If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a California truck accident, you are likely considering your options for pursuing compensation. In almost every case you stand a much better chance of recovering full compensation if you work with an experienced truck accident attorney, but you may not know how to choose the right attorney for your case.

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When considering hiring a truck accident attorney in California, ask the right questions to determine if they are the best choice. Many truck accident attorneys offer free initial consultations for injury claims, so you may speak with a lawyer and address your questions without any upfront costs. Here are some questions you should ask:

Do I Have a Case?

What Questions Should I Ask a Truck Accident Attorney in California?The most obvious question is also the most important one. Most truck accident attorneys only accept cases they feel will recover compensation. Since a lot of personal injury attorneys don’t get paid unless they obtain compensation for a client, they do not want to waste their time or yours with a flimsy or frivolous claim.

An attorney can review your case and determine if you have a case worth pursuing rather quickly.

Some elements they will consider include:

The length of time since the accident. Generally, California allows you only two years after your injuries to file a lawsuit in civil court. In some cases shorter timelines apply. If you miss the deadline, you cannot file a claim and will have very limited options or no options at all to obtain compensation.

The severity of your injuries. Your truck accident claim aims to recover damages from the liable parties to cover your medical bills, lost income, injuries and other losses. If you only sustained minor injuries or limited damages, an attorney may not take your case.

An attorney will consider how the crash occurred and may look at police, accident reports or retain an expert to analyze information to determine if the truck driver, trucking company or other party could be liable for causing the incident.

How Much Is My Case Worth?

If you have a viable claim, you want to know how much recovery can be anticipated.

Although it’s a perfectly valid question, determining how much your claim is worth is an inexact analysis and depends on:

  • The extent of your damages
  • The at-fault parties’ insurance policy limits
  • The strength of the evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the allegedly liability parties
  • The availability of information to prove aspects of the case

In some cases, you may receive punitive damages for a truck accident case. Only courts can award punitive, or exemplary, damages, and they usually only do so in cases of intentional harm, unlawfulness, or extreme recklessness or negligence. However, if your attorney can show that egregious negligence or other serious wrongdoing (like an intoxicated driver) caused the truck accident, they may advise you to take your case to court and sue the at-fault parties for compensation.

No attorney can guarantee results or tell you exactly how much the claim is worth. An attorney should not make you believe you will receive millions of dollars quickly or promise the types and amounts of compensation you will receive. If a lawyer makes statements or promises of how much you will recover, take that as a warning and find a reputable attorney somewhere else.

What Is Your Experience With Truck Accident Cases?

You need an attorney with specific experience with truck accident cases. Truck accident injury claims are notoriously complex because of the different parties involved and other liability issues. State and federal governments heavily regulate the trucking industry, so you need an attorney who understands the unique laws and regulations that pertain to the industry.

When speaking with an attorney, ask about their experience handling similar cases to yours, including the types of injuries and damages involved.

What Is Your Success Rate With Truck Accident Cases?

You also want to work with an attorney who can get results. Ask about their track record and success rate in securing favorable outcomes for clients in truck accident cases. A successful attorney will have a record of winning cases and obtaining significant settlements or verdicts for their clients.

How Will You Handle My Case?

Ask about the attorney’s approach to handling your case, including how they plan to investigate, gather evidence, and build a case. Discuss how often they will update you on the progress of the case and how they will communicate with you throughout the process.

Many reputable personal injury attorneys will provide you with their direct phone number or provide 24-hour answering services you can call with questions day or night. An attorney should promptly address your questions and regularly update you about how your case is going.

To get a feel for the lawyer’s professionalism and service, research them online and consider their client reviews and testimonials as well as their professional ratings. You can look up whether they had any administrative issues with their state bar association or local Better Business Bureau, as well as whether they received any awards or honors for their service.

Who Will Work on My Case?

You should ask a prospective attorney who will work on your case, including any support staff or other attorneys. You want to ensure that the attorney you hire has a strong team that can support your case and provide the necessary resources and expertise. Some law firms pass off cases to inexperienced new lawyers, or paralegals handle most of the work. You want to ensure that an experienced attorney will handle your case from beginning to end.

What Is Your Fee Structure?

Discuss the attorney’s fee schedule. Many truck accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so they only get paid if they recover compensation for you or win your case. Some, however, charge an hourly rate or require a retainer. Also, some attorneys who work on contingency cover their costs by charging clients filing fees, copy fees, and travel expenses even if they don’t obtain compensation for them.

Make sure you understand the attorney’s fee structure and any associated costs and get everything in writing before signing a contract. If the attorney charges a fee for consultations, requires you to pay costs if they don’t get compensation for you, or demands you pay a retainer upfront, you should take that as a red flag and look elsewhere for counsel.

What Is the Timeline for My Case?

After settling all the basics of how the attorney will handle your claim, you also want to know how long it could take to get your money. Ask about the estimated timeline for your case, including how long it may take to reach a settlement or go to trial. Understanding the timeline can help you manage your expectations and plan accordingly.

Again, pursuing compensation can take time—and the more complex the case, the more time it can take. Although you want to conclude the process as quickly as possible, you need realistic expectations for how long the process will take. Your attorney should offer you an objective and realistic opinion without sugar-coating the facts. An attorney who promises a quick settlement may not look out for your best interests, and you may miss out on substantial compensation if you rush to accept a settlement.

Even though it may seem like it’s taking a long time, there are many reasons why a significant trucking case may require a year or more before it reaches completion.

Exercise patience if your attorney provides you with regular updates. Know they are doing all they can to get you the money you deserve. If your attorney seems like they are not taking an active interest in your case, you can speak with them about the matter and always have the option of selecting another attorney

Choosing the Right Attorney for Your California Truck Accident Claim

Robert Bohn

Truck Accident Lawyer, Robert Bohn

Ultimately, the decision of hiring a California personal injury attorney is up to you. In addition to all these important questions, you may have questions of your own regarding your case. Ask your attorney all of your important questions, and choose an attorney who makes you feel comfortable and who you can trust.