Essential qualities and characteristics that your Georgia personal injury attorney should have
Truck accidents are one the worst crash scenarios on Georgia highways. These claims are typically strongly contested by the trucking companies, insurance companies and the truck driver. Trucking industry haulers are required to maintain significantly more insurance protection than a standard vehicle owner, and claims can be very valuable based on this condition alone.
Georgia uses modified comparative insurance law, which can prevent a truck accident victim from receiving any financial compensation if they are found 50 percent or greater at fault for an accident. This provides ample incentive for any defendant truck insurance provider, transportation company or contracting owner-operator to defend claims vigorously. Even worse, Georgia’s modified comparative fault also means that 50-50 accidents are not recoverable for financial damages.
Even in obvious cases of truck driver fault, any comparative negligence percentage applied to a driver can also be used to discount the total amount of damages available, regardless of liability insurance coverage. This potential combination of factors makes it imperative for anyone involved in a Georgia truck accident to retain an experienced and aggressive Macon truck accident attorney.
Here are 4 qualities to look for when searching for the right lawyer to represent your truck wreck case:
1. Solid track record
The first item most injured victims will want to evaluate in an attorney is their track record in handling personal injury cases, specifically truck accident cases. Truck wreck injury claims can be covered in many instances. Georgia implements the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations liability minimum requirement of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident for truck mishaps. However, many companies carry much more than this amount in case of a high-value accident verdict that can reach in excess of $1 million or more.
Many transportation companies will also carry additional general business insurance that can apply to accidents in addition to designated truck liability protection. This means that an experienced truck accident attorney should be willing to pursue serious accident cases. The amount of compensation they have negotiated for past clients (or won in a trial) is an excellent indicator of how serious and aggressive they will be when representing you.
2. Comprehensive case evaluation
Not all truck accident attorneys are diligent when assessing total damages available in a truck accident or doing additional investigations to prove negligence and liability. Auto defect claims commonly arise out of situations when equipment on a truck malfunctions while in transit. This happens more often than people realize, and it can also apply to other involved vehicles.
Willingness to perform the true due diligence in conducting an independent investigation aside from the official accident report, and being open to exploring trucking company comparative negligence defenses, is a vital quality to look for in a dedicated truck accident attorney.
3. Professional negotiation skills
Truck accident insurance adjusters are professional negotiators who are trained in minimizing claims as much as possible. There is no detail too small for an adjuster to use in reducing a claim value and providing a low offer. Lowball settlement offers are actually common when the adjuster believes that a claimant will not retain an attorney.
An experienced truck accident attorney should be a professional negotiator who understands the common tactics used by insurance providers, many of which are actually bad faith actions that could result in additional damages. The best attorney will file all special pecuniary damages, in addition to the general damage component for life-altering impacts due to the accident. Punitive damages are available in particularly egregious cases where truck drivers were intoxicated or over-worked by order of the transportation company employer.
The right attorney will be able to tell you which types of damages you may be eligible for and will have the skills necessary to negotiate on your behalf.
4. Ample resources
Insurance companies have significant resources to fight truck accident claims and make no mistake that they use them to the fullest extent. That includes dispatching an investigation team immediately to a crash site in an attempt to lessen the financial impact on the company. Major trucking companies do the same thing, and they often have significant resources to press their case against the claimant, regardless of the seriousness of injuries. In truck accidents, the injuries are often fatal and wrongful death claims regularly can be filed in addition to the accident injury claim.
Money is power in a truck accident case, and it is essential to have an established and reputable legal representative keeping them honest throughout the claim process. This also includes taking the case to trial when necessary.
Contact an experienced and knowledgeable Macon truck accident attorney
Never attempt to settle a truck accident claim in Georgia on your own. The law is structured in favor of the insurance and transportation companies, and they are often vigorously defended. Instead, contact an experienced, reputable, and aggressive legal team like the professionals at the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson for comprehensive and compassionate legal representation. The attorney you choose in Georgia can make a major difference.