TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS SERVING WOODSTOCK
After a Woodstock truck accident, it is extremely important to find a law firm with attorneys experienced in tractor trailer claims and litigation. Attorneys Joel Williams and Chase Elleby have years of experience litigating against some of the biggest tractor trailer companies in the nation. Their firm, Williams Elleby, is located less than five minutes from Woodstock in Kennesaw.
HOW DO I RECOVER COMPENSATION AFTER A TRUCK ACCIDENT?
If you are hurt in a crash with a tractor trailer, you will likely have two types of claims for compensation: Property Damage and Bodily Injury.
A property damage claim is a claim for damage done to your vehicle and its contents. Damages that may be recovered for Georgia property damage claims may include (1) the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, (2) the cost of repairing or replacing personal items that were inside the vehicle, (3) towing expenses, and (4) rental care expenses.
If it would cost more to repair your vehicle than it is worth, your vehicle will be considered a total loss and it will be “totaled.” This means that the trucking company or its insurer should pay you the pre-crash fair market value of your vehicle. Reasonable estimates for fair market value can be found on websites like Kelly Blue Book.
If your vehicle can be repaired for less than 75-80% of its fair market value, most insurance companies will offer to repair your vehicle. When your vehicle is repaired, be sure to request compensation for diminished value. Vehicles that have been in accidents are typically worth less than vehicles with no accident history.
BODILY INJURY CLAIM AFTER WOODSTOCK TRUCK ACCIDENT
A bodily injury claim is a claim for damages associated with injuries that you sustain in the truck wreck. Damages vary from case to case but may include: (1) Medical Bills, (2) Lost Wages, (3) Pain and Suffering, and (4) Loss of Earning Capacity.
The amount of medical bills are proven by gathering all the bills you incur for medical treatment made necessary by the truck crash. At trial, most attorneys will create a summary of the bills and attach each individual bill to the summary as an exhibit for the jury. Lost wage claims are supported with items such as W-2s, 1099s, and other similar evidence that establish the amount of wages being earned at the time of the injury. Earnings claims are more complicated for self-employed individuals and those who work on commission.
Pain and suffering claims vary widely from case to case. Your Woodstock truck crash attorney should work with you to contact friends and family that can testify about how your injuries impacted your life. Medical doctors are also useful because they can offer an opinion about how long your injuries may cause suffering. The amount of damages awarded for pain and suffering will be determined based on the severity of your injuries and the length of time you suffer.
SHOULD I GIVE THE TRUCKING COMPANY’S INSURANCE COMPANY A RECORDED STATEMENT?
You should not give the at-fault trucking company a recorded statement without first speaking to a personal injury attorney. Trucking companies and their attorneys often have rapid response teams that immediately respond to crashes in order to protect their financial interests. As part of the investigation, they will sometimes contact the injured victim and request a recorded statement. You do not have to speak to the investigator without an attorney.
Trucking companies, their investigators, and insurers will use your statement against you. Sometimes innocent statements like “I saw the tractor trailer before impact” may be used to deny your claim. Plus, if you have to file a lawsuit, the trucking company lawyer will be allowed to take your deposition and question you at trial. Why would you want to give them an extra chance to trip you up?
HOW DO I PAY MY MEDICAL BILLS AFTER A TRACTOR TRAILER CRASH?
A big concern after a tractor trailer crash is mounting medical bills. Insurers for trucking companies do not pay your bills as they come in. Instead, you will be offered a lump sum settlement. Therefore, it is rarely in your best interest to settle a trucking case until you know the full extent of your injuries and the total amount of your medical bills.
If you have health insurance, you should ask your medical providers to bill your health insurance company. Why should your health insurance company have to pay bills for the trucking company? That is a good question but remember that your health insurance company may request to be reimbursed from the proceeds of any settlement you reach with the trucking company. The amount your health insurance company may receive for reimbursement will not be more than the amount it actually paid for your bills. This means that you will get the benefit of their pre-negotiated pay rate for your medical care. For example, if you have a $10,000.00 hospital bill and your health insurer pays $5,000.00 to satisfy the entire bill, you just saved $5,000.00 (perhaps more if you hire an attorney to negotiate any subrogation claim your health insurer asserts against your personal injury case).
If you do not have health insurance, a Woodstock personal injury attorney should be able to help you find a medical provider that will provide treatment on a lien. Medical providers that treat on a lien basis will not bill you until your case settles. The delayed billing is in exchange for an agreement that you will pay for your medical treatment from any settlement proceeds. Advantages of this arrangement are that you receive the treatment you need and your upfront expenses are minimal. Unfortunately, the main drawback is that the treatment usually cost more than when it is billed to a health insurance company.
WHAT CAN I DO IF THE TRUCKING COMPANY DENIES MY CLAIM?
If the trucking company denies your claim, you will need to file a lawsuit against the company, its driver, and sometimes its insurer. The only way to force a trucking company to pay for your damages after a Woodstock truck accident is through civil litigation. If you need to file a lawsuit, you should only do so with the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney.
Unfortunately, lawsuits take a considerable amount of time but they are sometimes necessary if you want to maximize your chances of obtaining a full and fair recovery.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE TO SUE THE TRUCKING COMPANY AFTER A WOODSTOCK TRACTOR TRAILER CRASH?
If a fair pre-suit settlement cannot be reached, you will have to file a civil lawsuit. When the trucking company or its driver reside in Woodstock, the case will most likely be filed in the State Court of Cherokee County.
Your attorney will begin the lawsuit by filing a Complaint. A Complaint is the initial legal pleading that sets forth the elements of your claim against the at-fault party. The at-fault party is called the Defendant. Once the lawsuit is filed, the Defendant(s) must be served with the Complaint as well as a legal summons. After the Defendant(s) are served with the Summons and Complaint, they will file an Answer. The Answer is the legal pleading where the Defendant(s) will admit or deny the allegations of the Complaint.
THE LAWSUIT DISCOVERY PROCESS
The discovery process begins once the Answer is filed. Discovery last for at least six months in Georgia. This is the time period where the parties exchange written discovery requests like interrogatories, requests for production and requests for admission. Depositions are also taken during discovery. These are formal question and answer sessions that allow the attorney to gather sworn testimony from witnesses before trial.
During discovery, your attorney will gather information that may help your case such as cell phone records, driving logs, driver qualification files, hours or service logs, ECM data, and accident histories. The trucking company’s lawyer will likely probe your medical history in an effort to determine whether your injuries existed prior to the truck wreck. This is why it is so important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after a Woodstock truck accident.
WOODSTOCK TRUCK LAWSUIT: MEDIATION AND TRIAL
After discovery ends, your case will probably be referred to mediation. Mediation is a formal settlement conference where a neutral mediator will try to help the parties resolve the case before trial. If mediation does not resolve the case, the trucking company’s lawyers may file motions to try and get your case dismissed. These are called summary judgment motions. Your attorney will need to fight these motions and if he or she prevails, your case will be scheduled for trial.
Truck crash trials may last for a few days or several weeks depending on the number of witnesses and the complexity of the legal issues. If the case is tried in Cherokee County, it will be decided by a jury of twelve citizens that reside in Cherokee County. The jury will resolve any disputed facts and deliver a verdict for or against you. If the jury decides that you should prevail, it will also determine the amount of compensation you should receive for your damages.
WHAT CAN A WOODSTOCK TRACTOR TRAILER ATTORNEY DO FOR ME?
An experienced Woodstock tractor trailer attorney can help you with every stage of the claims and litigation process. This includes the pre-suit investigation phase as well as litigation and any appeal.
It takes a lot of time and knowledge to gather the evidence needed to prove your case. Many attorneys do not know how or are simply too busy with other cases to do a good job. Make sure that any attorney you hire has the time, knowledge, and resources to properly investigate, litigate, and win your case.
Once you hire an attorney for your Woodstock truck accident case, he or she will do most of the work needed to win your case. You should, of course, be involved in any decision regarding settlement. Your attorney will also need you to cooperate in responding to discovery requests and sitting for depositions. However, your main job after a truck wreck will be to go to the doctor and do everything your doctor tells you to do so you can get better. Your lawyer should handle the legal aspects of your case.
HOW CAN I FIND THE BEST ATTORNEY FOR A WOODSTOCK TRUCK CRASH CASE?
The best Woodstock truck crash attorneys have common characteristics:
- Well versed in the laws and regulations that governs trucking companies and their drivers;
- They limit their case load so they can devote a substantial amount of time to your case;
- Ample financial resources to take on the big trucking companies and their insurers;
- A track record of success that proves they know how to win your case.
Make sure to schedule one on one consultations with any law firm you are considering to handle your Woodstock case. Try to avoid the lawyers who spend more time filming TV commercials than practicing law. It may take some time to find the best lawyer for your Woodstock truck wreck case but the effort you spend searching should pay off in the long run.
CALL WILLIAMS ELLEBY AT 833-LEGALGA
If you would like to schedule a free consultation with a Williams Elleby attorney, simply call 833-LEGALGA or use the 24/7 chat box at the bottom of your screen. If you are not able to travel to our office for the initial consultation, just let us know and one of our experienced team members will come to you.