When you have been involved in an auto accident with a semi-truck, there are three issues at play: serious evidence, injuries (or possible death), and insurance coverage. The weight behind these large trucks leads to tremendous injuries which can lead to years of medical treatment and even death. Additionally, these eighteen-wheeler truck accidents often involve multiple insurance policies providing coverage. Most trucking companies have a regular liability policy like the policies we carry on our cars, and sometimes multiple umbrella policies which provide excess coverage.
But injuries and insurance coverage won’t matter much unless the injured party can prove fault (sometimes called “causation”). The most important thing an injured individual can do after a truck accident is to seek the help of an experienced and knowledgeable injury attorney, who can secure the evidence before it disappears. Once you have hired an attorney, they should immediately begin working to secure evidence to back your claims.
While it is excellent news that there is sufficient coverage to compensate you for costly medical treatment and pain and suffering, big figure insurance policies also add time to the settlement timeline. A typical personal injury claim settles within twelve to eighteen months depending on the extent of injuries and amount of insurance coverage. But semi-truck accident claims usually take a good bit longer, because there is more money involved. Wrongful death claims may take even longer. If a lawsuit is filed, in most cases, it is settled soon after filing and before a trial date is ever set. But sometimes a case is settled right before, or even during, trial.
More money at stake means more money the insurance company is willing to spend to argue to avoid payout. Each insurance policy insuring the semi-truck will have its own attorney providing representation. Since the eighteen-wheelers are typically on-the-job when involved in motor vehicle accidents, there are also valid claims to be made against the employer. The employer will also have attorney representation and their own insurance.
When there is more insurance money at stake, the litigation and settlement process can take much longer. It is a very rare instance when a semi-truck personal injury claim will settle in under two years. However, our firm has settled multi-million dollar seven and eight-figure cases within three (3) months of the date of the wreck. Those cases are very rare but are possible under certain circumstances. If a lawsuit must be filed, there will be a lengthy period of time called discovery. This process involves written questions and answers from the insurance company, and interviewing witnesses including you as the personal injury claimant and the other driver. These interviews are called “depositions” and are taken in front of a court reporter, who types the entire conversation for the official record. While the process is long and tedious, a seasoned personal injury attorney recognizes that it takes time to settle a valuable truck accident claim for the amount you deserve. Also, taking action immediately after the wreck speeds up this process substantially. The lawyer will anticipate the arguments to be made by the insurance companies and the employer of the truck driver and will be prepared to combat these arguments to protect your interests. He or she should immediately take action to preserve the evidence in your case and protect your claims.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident with a semi-truck, don’t navigate this complicated process alone. You have enough worry on your shoulders in treating your injuries or dealing with the death of your loved one. Schedule a free consultation with Strickland & Kendall so that we are able to provide the support and guidance of specialized truck accident attorneys.