Being involved in a truck accident can be a traumatic experience. When injuries, time away from work, and financial troubles are resulting factors, recovery is often challenging. That’s why victims of tractor-trailer wrecks have the right to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for their losses and hold the negligent party accountable for their actions.
Filing a truck accident claim is an involved process. If you’re planning on doing so, it’s likely you’re wondering how long it will take the claim to settle. When you work with an experienced law firm like Shrager & Sachs, we’ll do whatever it takes to ensure you receive the compensation you need as fast as possible. Let’s take a look at the factors that affect how fast or slow a claim goes.
The Tractor-Trailer Accident Investigation Process
After a crash, a number of parties will conduct separate investigations in an attempt to determine what happened and why. The number of investigations being conducted can lengthen the claim process.
The first person to investigate any crash is typically the police officer who responds to the incident. Once they conclude everyone is safe and medical attention has been sought, they’ll make note of the time and place the wreck happened, the weather and road conditions, the damage the vehicles sustained, who was involved, any obviously violated laws, and any other relevant observations. That information is included in the accident report.
Depending on the severity of the accident and what was being hauled, a government agency could conduct its own investigation. The Department of Transportation or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is likely to conduct a post-accident investigation if it’s suspected the truck driver or trucking company violated federal law.
The trucking company may also conduct a post-accident investigation, which could include accident reconstruction, vehicle inspections, and drug or alcohol testing of the involved driver. Their insurance company will want to know what happened so they can determine who was at fault and what needs to be paid out.
The investigation you’ll be involved with the most is the one your lawyer conducts. We’ll gather evidence that includes the driver’s logbooks, drug and alcohol test results, eyewitness testimony, maintenance records, and evidence from the scene. Our goal is to prove the truck driver, or another party, acted negligently and caused your accident and injuries.
Determining and Proving Liability for a Truck Accident
Determining who’s at fault for a semi wreck isn’t always easy, so that can extend how long it takes to reach a settlement. This is because of the number of potentially liable parties. Our attorneys will investigate each party to figure out who caused your accident.
The person most suspected of being at-fault after a wreck is the truck driver. If they broke any laws, were distracted or fatigued, or were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they could be held accountable. If the driver isn’t responsible, the trucking company could be the negligent party. If the company failed to properly maintain the truck or hired a driver with limited experience, we can focus on investigating them.
Sometimes, collisions happen after a tractor-trailer was improperly loaded. If the cargo loader disregarded the truck’s limits or failed to properly restrain cargo, it’s likely they’re legally responsible for what happened.
Our investigatory process will not only determine who caused your accident, but it will also directly connect your injuries to what happened.
How Your Injuries Could Affect the Settlement Time Frame
The severity of your injuries can play a role in how long your case takes to settle. If, for example, your injuries worsen over time or doctors discover new conditions related to the accident, your lawyer may need to reevaluate and increase the compensation you’re asking for. That’s why settlements aren’t typically discussed until the injured party has reached their maximum medical improvement (MMI). Once an MMI has been reached, it means the patient has stopped recovering. Once you reach that, we can calculate what the accident cost you in terms of your medical bills and what your future cost of care looks like.
Negotiating with the Insurance Company
Another factor that affects how long your claim takes to settle is negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. This can be tricky because insurance companies want to keep as much money as possible. They may try to offer you less than you deserve or claim your injuries aren’t as bad as you say. That’s why it’s so important to be represented by a skilled attorney who can handle the negotiations for you.
It’s important to note that while most claims do reach a settlement, the next step if one cannot be reached would be to go to court. Filing a lawsuit significantly extends the time frame for receiving compensation, but we’re prepared to head to trial if that’s the only way to get you what you need to get back on your feet.
As you can see, there are a number of factors that affect how long a truck accident claim takes to settle. That’s why the sooner you start working on your claim with our attorneys, the better your chances are of receiving the compensation you’re owed and the sooner you can get back to your normal routine. Get in touch with our firm today to learn more about how we can help you recover.