TRACTOR TRAILER ACCIDENT ATTORNEY SERVING COLUMBUS
If you are looking for a Columbus truck accident lawyer that spends more time practicing law than filming TV commercials, Williams Elleby is the firm for you. Our team has years of experience representing tractor-trailer and commercial motor vehicle crash victims in cases dealing with:
- Compliance with Federal Regulations
- Driver fatigue
- Defective parts and mechanical failures
- Negligent hiring and retention
- Trucking industry standards
- Speeding, improper lane change, and other traffic law violations
- Pre and Post trip inspections
- Negligent operation of large trucks
- Hours of service violations
- Overloaded trailers
HOW TO RECOVER MONEY AFTER A COLUMBUS TRUCK WRECK
To maximize your monetary recovery after a Columbus truck wreck, you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney. If you aren’t quite ready to call an attorney, you can find some answers to common questions below.
How do tractor trailer accidents claims work? The claims process usually begins with an extensive investigation. A reconstruction expert should be retained as soon as possible to investigate the accident and photograph the scene. Trucking experts are also beneficial because they can inspect the truck, download ECM (electronic control module) data, and determine whether any mechanical failures caused the wreck. Accident reports and DOT inspection reports may also provide useful information.
Preservation of evidence letters should be sent to the trucking company and its insurer. A lot of information on individual motor carriers can be found and downloaded from the SAFER (Safety and Fitness Electronic Records) website.
Once you have a full understanding of your injury diagnosis and prognosis, it is time to send a pre-suit settlement demand to the trucking company or its insurer. Pre-suit settlement demands detail the facts of your claim, why the trucking company bears fault, and describe the nature of your injuries. The settlement demand should be in writing and sent by certified mail.
If the trucking company or its insurer do not offer a fair settlement amount, you should work with a truck accident attorney to file a lawsuit. Your attorney will know the exact type of claims that should be included in the lawsuit. Examples may include (1) a direct action against the insurance company, product liability claims against the manufacturer, claims against the broker or supplier, negligent inspection or repair, driver fatigue, violations of federal motor carrier safety regulations, etc.
Once a lawsuit is filed and the defendants file an Answer, the discovery process will begin. During discovery, written request for driver logs, qualification file, drug and alcohol testing, maintenance and repair records, bills of lading, weight tickets, cell phone data, ECM data, and policy and procedure manuals should be sent to the trucking company. Depositions will also be taken of relevant witnesses.
Once discovery is over, most judges will order the parties to mediation. Mediation is a formal settlement conference where a neutral mediator will try to help the parties reach a settlement agreement. Attorney Joel Williams explains the mediation process here:
If your Columbus truck accident case does not settle at mediation, you will need to work with your attorney to prepare for trial. Most Columbus tractor trailer accident cases are tried in the State Court of Muscogee County of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST LAWYER AFTER A COLUMBUS TRUCK ACCIDENT
Finding the best lawyer for a Columbus truck accident lawsuit is no easy task. There are numerous attorneys that claim to be “truck accident lawyers” but very few know how to maximize your recovery. Start your search for the best Columbus truck accident lawyer by setting up consultations with at least three firms. Do not let the lawyers pressure you into hiring their firm unless you are 100% satisfied that they are the best fit for your case.
The most important thing in any lawyer client relationship is trust. The lawyer must know that he or she can trust you and you must know that you can trust the lawyer. If a lawyer agrees to take your case without meeting you (i.e. sends a contract to your cell phone or email before meeting you), he or she may not have your best interests in mind. In other words, this could be a sign that the lawyer is trying to get you under contract before you are able to fully research all of your options. Take the time to have a face to face meeting with any lawyer you consider hiring. When you set up the meeting, come prepared with these questions to test the lawyer’s knowledge of the law for a Columbus tractor trailer case:
- What percentage of your case load involves tractor trailer crashes?
- Will you personally handle my case or do you intend to refer it to another law firm?
- What is the difference between an interstate motor carrier and an intrastate motor carrier?
- What will you do to determine whether the trucking company was negligent in hiring or training the driver?
- What is contained in a driver qualification file?
- What is the current law concerning hours of service for truck drivers?
- How often do trucking companies and their drivers have to perform inspections of their trucks and trailers?
- How do you go about obtaining ECM data from the truck?
- How do you make sure the trucking company does not destroy critical evidence for my case?
- What is a trucking company safety director and why would he or she be important in my case?
- How many cases have you handle involving tractor trailer crashes?
The lawyer’s ability or inability to answer these questions will give you valuable insight into whether he or she is the best lawyer for your Columbus truck crash case.