Semi-truck accidents are unfortunately common in the United States, and the aftermath of the accident can be extremely costly in terms of health and money. More than 4,100 people died in semi-truck accidents in 2019 alone; only 16% were truck drivers.
Almost all accidents involving cars and semi-trucks result in injury or property damage to one or both parties. If you have been injured in a semi-truck accident, it is critical that you seek medical attention, as well as legal assistance, to obtain financial compensation for your injuries and property damage. This article provides information about hiring an attorney, how much your lawsuit might cost, and legal resources that can assist you in recovering from your accident.
Do I Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
After an accident involving a semi-truck, it is important to contact a personal injury attorney that specializes in handling truck accident lawsuits. Semi-truck accidents can prove very dangerous because of their size and often result in serious personal injury and damage to personal property like your vehicle. It also is important to consider when it comes time to file an insurance claim and pursue a lawsuit seeking monetary damages. Serious crashes involving semi-trucks are extremely common in the United States, with 82% of crashes involving a truck resulting in the death of the occupant of the other vehicle.
Trucking Accident Lawsuit Costs: What to Expect
After a trucking accident, when you go to hire a lawyer, you may not be entirely aware of the costs that come with the lawsuit. There are costs and payment arrangements that people may not fully understand when it comes to hiring an attorney. Some attorneys may require a retainer, some may be paid on contingency, and others could be paid on an hourly rate. Additionally, other costs are involved with the litigation and filing of your lawsuit. Before you proceed with your lawsuit, look through the following information about the different costs involved with a trucking accident lawsuit.
Hiring a Lawyer on Contingency
If you are hiring a lawyer to represent you in your trucking lawsuit on contingency, it means that the lawyer and client agree to a contingency fee agreement. In these cases, the lawyer agrees to represent the victim of the accident with the condition that the lawyer may collect a fee only if they win the case. The fee is then directly subtracted from the accident settlement amount and is directly affected by the outcome of the case. However, hiring on contingency does have some advantages and disadvantages for accident victims. One of the most significant advantages is that if you lose the case for some reason, you are not responsible for paying your lawyer. A disadvantage, though, is that it could end up costing you more than standard rates, and lawyers could potentially receive a higher fee if certain aspects of your case are problematic.
Hiring a Lawyer on Retainer
In most personal injury and accident cases, accident victims will hire a lawyer on retainer. This means that the client and the attorney agree to a retainer agreement that specifies the money paid for the lawyer’s services for either a specific time period or case. Hiring a lawyer on retainer generally requires a deposit for legal fees that the lawyer has gathered on the client’s behalf. Each time the lawyer performs legal work for the client, they will receive a bill for their attorney’s services, which is taken from the retainer deposit. Hiring on retainer means that clients get the exact legal assistance and representation they are asking for and paying for. But it can also pose a challenge for those who are financially limited and cannot afford expensive and thorough attorneys that may provide a more qualified and knowledgeable service.
During the litigation process, attorneys will generally pay for various charges out of pocket. Filing fees, witness payment, and conducting deposition are all things that a lawyer will cover with their own money and will likely bill for at a later time. In contingency agreements, the attorney will be reimbursed for these actions on top of their agreed-upon contingency amount. Other out-of-pocket costs that may be incurred during the lawsuit include:
Copying fees for police reports and medical records
Paying for investigators
These costs can pile up fairly quickly and can sometimes bring the total cost of using an attorney to between 45% and 60% of your final settlement amount. Meaning if your settlement is $100,000, you may end up paying your attorney up to $60,000 in fees.
Damage to Property Costs
Property damage costs after an accident can include your vehicle and any of your belongings in the vehicle that were broken or damaged at the time of the accident. If your vehicle is labeled as totaled by the insurance company, they will generally offer payment for a similarly-aged vehicle with the same mileage as the one you had previously. This means that you are still left with additional out-of-pocket costs despite getting reimbursed for your damaged vehicle.
Insurance companies will also provide payment for personal items that were damaged or broken in the accident, but sometimes only with proof of purchase showing the true value of the items, which can sometimes be difficult to find. For example, suppose your iPhone was $900 at the time of purchase and was permanently damaged in the accident. In that case, the insurance company can request the original proof of purchase to reimburse you. If you don’t have the proof, you will likely not receive payment for the item. When filing your insurance claim and itemizing damaged property, make sure you have all the pertinent information needed for your claim.
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Ryan Zehl, Truck Accident LawyerReviewer
Ryan Zehl is one of the country’s most accomplished trial lawyers, with a winning track record that has gained him national media acclaim and the esteem of the legal field. He is an advocate for the catastrophically injured and those who have met tragic deaths due to the negligence of others. As founder of the firm Zehl & Associates, he leads an undefeated personal injury law firm that has recovered billions of dollars in due compensation for accident victims across Texas and the United States. Ryan Zehl holds the record for securing the largest truck accident settlement in Texas at $23.5 million—a recent achievement in a long case history of record-setting settlements and verdicts.