What to Do if a Loved One
Has Been Hurt in a Truck Crash

By Jeff Burns —

If someone close to you is ever involved in a large truck crash, the shock, worry and grief can take an enormous emotional toll, leaving you feeling helpless. But, there is something you can do to help after such a tragedy occurs: start looking for an experienced truck-crash lawyer.

It can be a tough task emotionally, and might even seem like the last thing you should be doing, but the right choice early on will allow you and your family to focus on more important things, and will also make a huge difference if legal action is necessary.

Be careful when making your choice of representation. These days, nearly every personal injury attorney claims to be a “truck-crash lawyer,” but there is a tremendous difference between an attorney who is an expert on the trucking industry, applicable federal regulations, and truck crash litigation, and an attorney who treats truck crash cases like run-of-the-mill auto accidents.

You need a law firm with extensive experience in cases involving tractor-trailers and other commercial motor vehicles, motor carrier operations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, trucking industry standards and large truck crash reconstruction. Unfortunately, most firms that advertise themselves as truck-crash experts simply cannot offer the expertise your case requires.

For example, a local attorney will likely not understand that the best venue for your case might actually be the county in a different state where the trucking company’s terminal is located, not where the crash occurred. Inexperienced lawyers might not notice the trucking company’s violation of a particular regulation, or realize that there are often pathways to more accountability and increased recoveries in cases where a small company possessed only minimum insurance coverage.

Do your research. Consider your prospective attorneys’ truck-crash credentials instead of taking their word for it. Do not be afraid to question and challenge them before you hire them. If they can’t stand up to your scrutiny, they will certainly not be able to go toe-to-toe with the lawyers representing the trucking company’s insurer.

At a minimum, ask them how many truck crash cases they’ve handled and what the results of those cases were. Ask whether they’ve ever recovered more than a trucking company’s insurance limits, and how many cases they’ve handled that were similar to yours.

Jeff Burns, a truck crash attorney with Dollar Burns & Becker and victim advocate.