How to Prepare For Your Initial Consultation With a Dallas Truck Accident Lawyer

When an 80,000-pound semi-truck collides with a car, the damages can be devastating, and 67% of the time, it’s non-commercial drivers who pay the price.

There’s a lot of pain and confusion in the aftermath of a truck accident. Then, you have the daunting task of finding a qualified Dallas truck accident lawyer who has experience representing clients in this challenging field of law.

While the thought of hiring an attorney can be intimidating for many people, it’s critical to choose the right one. Having an experienced lawyer in your corner can make a significant difference in the outcome of your truck accident case.

At The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare, we are happy to discuss your case with you. However, before meeting with us (or any attorney for that matter), it’s incredibly helpful to have a few facts and questions prepared to get the most value from the consultation. To help you find the most qualified attorney to represent you, consider the tips below:

Bring Documents or Evidence That Might Prove Liability

After a truck accident, proving liability is necessary to secure financial compensation for your damages. Typically, liability is established by proving negligence, meaning that the truck driver or the trucking company breached the duty of care owed to you or to your deceased family member. There are many ways that the negligence of a truck driver, motor carrier or another party could lead to an accident. Examples include:
  • Breaking traffic laws such as speeding or driving under the influence
  • Improper maintenance and repair of a truck
  • Failing to adequately screen or train truck drivers before hiring them
  • Improperly securing the cargo
  • Defective truck components
  • Driving while sleep-deprived or violating the Hours of Service Regulations
During the meeting, your attorney will want to see any relevant documents or evidence surrounding the accident, both for evidence gathering purposes and to assess the strength of your case. As you prepare to meet with your lawyer, try to locate any evidence of negligence that might apply to your truck accident case, including:
  • The official police report
  • Copies of tickets or citations
  • Photos from the accident scene
  • Dashcam footage (if available)
  • Eyewitness statements and witness contact information
  • Contact information for your insurance company, the trucking company’s insurance company and the trucking company
  • Correspondence (letters, emails, or text messages between you, the truck driver, or an insurance company)
  • Car repair bills

If you don’t have any of this information, don’t worry. An experienced truck accident lawyer will find it for you and gather all that is needed for your case. 

Gather Medical Records That Might Prove Damages

One of the main services of a truck accident lawyer is to determine the value of your case and what compensation you’re owed, then fighting for it. This is the amount of money you will ask from the trucking company’s insurance carrier to cover damages you’ve suffered as a result of the accident, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Compensation may also cover non-economic expenses, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress.

Your attorney will gather documents/information that paint a complete picture of the nature and extent of your injuries, including:

  • Photographs of your injuries
  • Doctor’s or surgeon’s notes
  • Medical bills
  • X-ray and MRI results
  • Out of pocket expenses, including prescriptions or car rental fees
  • Car repair estimates
  • Wages you’ve lost from missing work
  • Therapist’s or psychologist’s bills and notes
  • Photographs of any injuries sustained
  • Notes you’ve taken about your injury
  • Doctor’s or surgeon’s notes
  • Emergency room notes
  • X-ray and MRI results

This information will help your lawyer gauge the extent and monetary value of your damages.

Consider Your Goals and Needs

Before you even schedule the consultation, ask yourself what you want your lawyer to accomplish for you. Maybe you want to avoid a trial at all costs, or perhaps you have no desire to settle and want your day in court.

During your initial meeting, your lawyer will likely give you a brief overview of the tactics they’ll use to handle your case. It’s critical that your lawyer’s legal strategy lines up with your needs and they’re honest about setting expectations.
Typical goals might include:

  • obtaining a settlement amount with as little hassle as possible
  • obtaining an amount more than what the trucking insurance company has already offered you, as soon as possible, or
  • obtaining as much compensation as possible, no matter how long the fight takes

While you might have certain goals in mind, you don’t want to hire a Dallas truck accident lawyer who tries to appease you in order to sell their services. Instead, ask the attorney whether your goals are realistic. A good lawyer is prepared to tell you the truth about the strength of your case and the outcome they expect.

Remember, this is just a consultation. If you don’t like their legal approach, continue to shop around until you find an attorney who suits your needs.

Figure Out Their Background Knowledge

During your initial consultation, one of your primary questions should be about the attorney’s background. Some people feel intimidated asking about this, but the truth is there’s a lot on the line, so you want to make sure you have the best representation possible. You wouldn’t hire a mechanic who has never worked on a car, so why would you hire an attorney who has never handled a truck accident case?

Commercial truck accidents are much more complex than car accident cases and involve bigger players—like the trucking company and their insurance provider—who are harder to fight. For this reason, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask the following questions:

  • How long have you been practicing law?
  • Are you familiar with the local judges and procedures?
  • How many truck accident cases have you worked on in the past year?
  • How many truck accident cases have you settled in your career?
  • What’s the average verdict you’ve obtained with truck accident cases?
  • Have you had a truck accident case involving the particular defendant in my case?
  • Do you have the resources to review new or complex trucking laws?
  • Are you aware of the specific laws that only apply to truck drivers or trucking companies?
  • Do you see any trucking law violations in my situation?

Other Questions to Ask During the Consultation

Undoubtedly, you’ll have dozens of questions you’ll want to ask during your initial consultation. Here are some additional questions to ask that will help you get that much closer to choosing a truck accident attorney you trust to take on your case.

  • How is the other side likely to respond?
  • What are the options for going forward, both legal and non-legal?
  • What problems does the lawyer foresee with your case?
  • What other information do I need to supply?
  • How long will it take to bring the matter to a conclusion?
  • How do you charge for your services (for example, hourly or on a contingency or flat-fee basis)?
  • Would you handle the case personally or pass it on to some other lawyer in the firm?
  • If other lawyers or paralegals do some of the work, could I meet them before agreeing to representation?
  • How often will the lawyer or firm reach out to you with updates?
  • If you have legal questions, how soon will you hear back if you call or email?

In addition to asking these questions, you should also take note of how you felt during your visit. Was the staff friendly? Did they take the time to answer your questions in an easy-to-understand way? Do you feel that your case is important to them?

If you felt uncomfortable or rushed during your visit, you should consider speaking to other attorneys in your area.

Discuss Your Case With an Experience Dallas Truck Accident Lawyer

At The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare, we understand the emotional, physical and financial toll that an accident can take on the whole family. If you were struck by a truck driver, and have questions about your case and whether or not you’re entitled to compensation, Dallas truck accident lawyers are here to help.

Our attorneys are well-versed in navigating complex trucking laws and have recovered millions in truck accident payouts for our clients. Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.