Is There a Real Difference Between a Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney and a Personal Injury Attorney?
Yes, there is a difference. When you or a loved one is injured in a tractor-trailer accident, choosing an attorney is one of the many tough decisions you will face. Truck injuries are catastrophic, so your recovery must take priority. You must manage doctor visits, medical bills, lost wages, financial concerns, and family issues. You must decide what to do when the insurance adjuster knocks at your door. The adjuster’s investigation and reporting help the insurance company decide when and if to offer you a settlement.
Truck accidents are overwhelming. You must deal with the trucking companies and insurance adjusters at a time when you just want to rest and heal. You realize that you need a lawyer to protect your legal interests, but how do you decide which law firm to trust? You don’t know whether a personal injury attorney or a truck accident attorney is the better choice. Is there a real difference?
What Is a Personal Injury Attorney?
Personal injury attorneys help injured people recover money when someone else causes their injuries. Just like all Florida attorneys, personal injury attorneys must earn a law degree and pass the Florida bar. Somewhere during that process, they decide where they want to focus their practice. While some attorneys choose corporations, real estate, tax, or probate, others choose to help injured victims by concentrating on personal injury cases.
Florida personal injury attorneys gain practical experience by handling premises liability, auto accidents, dog bites, and other types of injury cases. Local attorneys learn the statutes and procedural subtleties of Pinellas, Sarasota, Pasco County, and other jurisdictions in which they practice. Through experience, personal injury attorneys develop the knowledge and instincts to evaluate a wide variety of liability circumstances with mild, moderate, and serious injuries. They deal with adjusters, insureds, and attorneys. They negotiate claims, file lawsuits, resolve cases via alternative dispute resolution, and try cases before judges and juries.
What Is a Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney?
Tractor-trailer accident attorneys are personal injury attorneys, but not all personal attorneys have the experience to handle large truck accident cases. Personal injury attorneys often work for years before deciding to focus on the more complicated truck accident practice area. They may be drawn to the challenging legal and injury issues while working a personal injury caseload.
Attorneys experienced in tractor trailer accident injury law devote extensive time and energy to developing comprehensive truck accident knowledge. Their law firms must have the resources to conduct effective truck accident investigations and hire accident reconstruction, injury, and economic experts. Truck accident attorneys must have the experience to identify and understand the liability, contractual, and statutory issues. When a damage evaluation causes a negotiation stalemate, the attorneys must understand enough about catastrophic injuries to present a winning case.
Truck accident attorneys must deal with large commercial trucking companies and seasoned insurance company adjusters. They must be highly effective negotiators and formidable courtroom opponents when dealing with trucking company and insurance company defense attorneys.
Unlike a private passenger vehicle collision, truck accidents often involve several potential defendants. A truck driver is usually behind the wheel when an accident occurs, but the accident is sometimes a failure of contributing entities with separate legal duties. Here are just a few:
- Negligent hiring or supervision: A driver’s motor carrier/employer is responsible for driver actions. One example is a driver who causes an accident while under the influence. If the employer knew or should have known of the driver’s DUI accident history, clear evidence of the omission could produce a punitive damage award for the injured victim.
- Poor maintenance: A six-year old USDOT research study determined that poor truck maintenance contributed to truck accidents fires. That’s just one example of how negligent truck maintenance contractors share liability for accident injuries. Poorly maintained brakes, tires, and other safety-critical vehicle parts also cause or contribute to truck accidents.
- Truck Defect: If a manufacturing defect causes an accident, the manufacturer is strictly liable for defectively designing or manufacturing the truck or failing to warn of a risk.
- Shipper: Drivers often transport pre-loaded trailers. If improper loading causes an accident the shipper or loading contractor shares the legal responsibility.
Tractor-Trailer Attorneys Work With Catastrophically Injured People
The National Highway Safety Administration regularly publishes and updates large truck accident information. The most recent statistics show that 80% of the tractor-trailer rigs involved in fatal accidents had a gross vehicle weight of up to 26,000 pounds. Fatal and catastrophic injuries are inevitable when a large truck crashes into a smaller vehicle. Occupants sustain multiple life-altering injuries resulting in long-term treatment, high medical costs, lost income, and permanent disabilities.
- Spinal cord injuries: When a truck accident causes a severe spinal cord injury, victims often die soon after the impact. Survivors with spinal cord injuries require immediate and long-term treatment. SCI’s cause paralysis and loss of function at and below the damage location.
- Severe traumatic brain injuries: Truck accidents cause skull damage, skull penetration, and crushing brain and stem injuries. Severe damage occurs when the brain is shaken or twisted inside the skull during the accident impact. Traumatic brain injuries cause cognitive, motor, sensation, and emotional disabilities.
- Serious burns: A serious fire is always a possibility when a truck crashes into a smaller vehicle. Truck accident burn victims sustain fourth, fifth, and sixth-degree burns. Severe burn damage penetrates beneath the dermis and epidermis skin layers to muscle and bone. Truck accident burn victims require lengthy hospitalizations, extended rehabilitation, and medical and psychological treatment. Permanent disfigurement occurs despite scar revision surgeries
There Is a Difference
If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, you need the focus and dedication a tractor-trailer accident attorney provides. At Dolman Law Group, we protect our client’s interests while they focus on healing. Call us at (727) 451-6900 to schedule a free consultation or complete our online contact form. We’ve worked with truck accident victims’ in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, and Pasco Counties. Our law firm never charges our clients unless we recover damages.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765