How Long Will It Take to Settle My Truck Accident Claim?
The settlement process for a truck accident claim can vary drastically from case to case, as numerous factors must be considered. That’s why it’s so important to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer. They will work hard to resolve your lawsuit as quickly as possible while understanding when extra time could mean extra money for you. Therefore, the time it takes to resolve a claim won’t be the same for every case, but some general factors determine the timeline of a claim.
Determining Liability in a Truck Accident
Determining the party that is at fault for a truck accident can be very complex as many cases involve more than one party, including:
- The employer of the truck driver
- The trucking company
- The company that provides repairs and maintenance to the truck
- The workers involved in loading the truck’s cargo
- The company that made or designed the truck
- The manufacturers of any faulty parts on the truck
- The municipality responsible for the roads conditions
- Any other motorists involved
Determining fault also requires an investigation into each party’s role in the accident—this can take some time as evidence is collected. Evidence, including the photos from the scene of the accident, the police report, and witness statements, are used for truck accident claims and the specific documentation that the truck company may have in its possession. To ensure that all relevant evidence is not destroyed, an attorney must send a spoliation letter to all parties involved to preserve it. Items a spoliation letter could keep might include:
- Records of the truck’s maintenance history
- A truck’s black box data
- Dashcam footage from the truck
- The experience and training records of the truck driver
- The logbooks and schedule of the truck driver
While securing and reviewing this evidence will add extra time, it is vital to prove fault in your claim so that your attorney can present the strongest case possible.
Assessing Your Damages
Once your attorney has collected convincing evidence to prove the at-fault party’s liability, they will then evaluate your injuries and the damages you are owed. While injuries in any accident can be serious, truck accident injuries are almost always life-threatening or even fatal as, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the weight of large trucks can be 20 to 30 times heavier than passenger vehicles. Smaller vehicles increase the risk of injury or death when involved in a truck accident, including:
- Internal bleeding
- Injuries that cause bruising, sprains, and swelling
- Damage to Internal organs
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Concussions or other traumatic brain injuries
- Knee and leg injuries
- Wounds to the head, face, and neck
As you can imagine, the severity of these injuries requires intense medical care that could take an extended period of time away from your job to heal. Not only this, but the bills to pay for any procedures, surgeries, or physical therapy are usually high. Such injuries make you eligible to collect the following damages:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Property damage and/or loss
- Funeral expenses
- In-home support
An experienced attorney will see that both present and future expenses are covered when calculating and negotiating your settlement.
Calculating Your Damages
Some damages you may incur may fall under the category of non-economic damages, which include costs such as:
- Physical impairment
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental and emotional distress
These types of damages can be more complex to calculate as they are not assigned a set value—the help of an attorney will ensure you get the maximum value you are owed.
Filing Your Lawsuit
When it comes to filing your lawsuit, there are strict time limitations you must follow. Hiring an attorney early on your claim will ensure they have ample time to perform the following:
- Obtain vital documents like your crash report
- Investigate the accident
- Collect and review the evidence
- Find and interview any witnesses
Playing Your Part
While many things require your attorney’s work or responses from the other party, there are factors of a claim that are specifically up to you. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), the final decision to accept or reject a settlement offer is yours to make. Of course, your attorney will always be there to advise you on whether the offer is fair or if the case is worth more money. They will ensure you weigh your final decision carefully, as after you accept an offer, you cannot request additional compensation.
Even though the time it takes to receive compensation varies, hiring a personal injury attorney who is specifically experienced in truck accident personal injury claims will ensure the process doesn’t need to take any longer than it has to. Don’t try to handle healing from your injuries, collecting evidence, and calculating your damages by yourself—let a trucking accident attorney do the difficult work on your behalf.