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Truck accidents are complex. There is almost no such thing as a simple fender bender. They are particularly hazardous for people riding in passenger cars. What's more, passenger car damage is often beyond repair in a semi truck accident.

Truck collisions also have a significant financial impact on all involved. It's impossible to know how long it will take to settle a semi truck accident claim. Because trucks, semi trucks, tractor-trailers, and other types of heavy vehicles are so large and are registered as commercial vehicles, the settlement process in case of an accident is very complicated. 

Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer in Houston to learn more about how to settle these types of claims in a personal injury lawsuit!

Why Do Semi Truck Accident Claims Take Longer To Settle?

Settling truck accident claims takes longer to settle because insurance companies and federal trucking regulations, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), require a much more thorough investigation when these accidents happen. Truck drivers and trucking companies must understand that the risks associated with these types of accidents are higher than in typical car accidents. Here are some of the most important reasons why claims take longer to settle:

The Liability Investigation

The biggest factor that slows down the truck accident settlement process is the liability investigation that must be done after the accident. The investigation is needed to determine who is at fault after the accident. Truck accidents are more complex than passenger vehicle accidents, so the investigation takes longer to complete. The investigators will focus on:

  • Did the semi truck driver and the trucking company follow all rules and regulations?
  • Study the police report - what are the specifics in this case (especially the accident scene)?
  • Studying the accident scene - experts will study the scene
  • Are there any other drivers involved in the accident? Are they the liable party?
  • Were the vehicles involved in the motor vehicle accident properly maintained?
  • Are there any other parties that may be liable? For instance a mechanic or a pedestrian

The truck accident investigation process is heavily regulated by various federal and state agencies or organizations. These rules further slow down the process, making quick settlements almost impossible. For example, the FMCSA specifically states how many hours a professional truck driver can work, and how much rest they need. There are also many types of trucks, depending on their size, weight, types of load, and many other factors. Also, trucking companies may have other legal claims in case of an accident.

Complex liability is a factor that further complicates the process of reaching a favorable settlement. Unlike small auto accidents, truck accidents involve multiple parties, like:

  • the truck driver
  • the shipping company
  • the trucking company
  • the maintenance company
  • the maker of the vehicle or the makers of the defective parts and component

Determining the liability usually involves reconstructing the accident, interviewing the driver, inspecting the truck and trailer, and reviewing the logbooks and company records. A truck accident lawyer in Houston may need to hire a whole team of experts to help during this process, like mechanics, engineers, and accident reconstructionists, accident reconstruction specialists. 

The Cause Of The Accident

Determining the at-fault party and the negligent party is critical in all types of truck accidents. Common factors that may cause a semi truck accident include:

  • reckless driving and speeding
  • drowsy and fatigued driving
  • inadequate or faulty truck maintenance
  • driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • overloaded trucks or improperly secured loads (a common cause of vehicle damage)
  • lack of truck driver experience and training
  • poorly designed or maintained roads
  • actions of other drivers

It's crucial to gather as much valuable evidence as possible to build your semi truck accident case and determine the source of damage. The insurance carriers and the semi truck company will aggressively investigate the cause of the accident to avoid financial losses and reach a fair settlement for themselves. For instance, they will hire accident reconstruction experts and their own medical experts to complete their commercial truck accident investigation.

The Severity Of The Accident

Because of their size, truck collisions have more severe consequences than passenger car accidents. They are more destructive, there are more physical damages, more severe injuries, traumatic injuries, or soft tissue injuries. The risk of death is also higher than in typical accidents. Obviously, these increased risks need to be properly investigated, making the settlement a difficult, lengthy process.

Truck crashes may cause traumatic injuries which need complex medical care. These include serious injuries, which may lead to long-term disabilities and permanent disabilities. These include:

  • spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain, and neurological injuries
  • loss of bodily functions, paralysis
  • severe burns and disfigurement
  • injuries to the internal organs
  • amputations and loss of limbs
  • broken bones, fractures
  • neck and back injuries

Medical Treatment

This is a major factor that slows down the settlement process. If a person was involved in a truck accident and files personal injury claims, the procedure becomes more complex. The same happens if there is suspicion of wrongful death. The victim should only accept a settlement after the medical treatment is completed (this guarantees that you know the full extent of your medical bills). For instance, some injuries may not be apparent immediately after the accident. What's more, medical improvement may be slow, especially in case of traumatic brain injury. Never settle a claim before the medical treatment is completed, as it can lead to even higher medical expenses.

Insurance Coverage

All tractor-trailers, semi trucks, and other heavy vehicles have to carry insurance coverage from a licensed insurance company, according to FMCSA guidelines. Insurance policies vary a lot depending on the type of vehicle, the driver, the trucking company, the trailer, and the type of load the truck carries. 

Settlement Negotiation

This is another important source of delay during the claims process. The negotiation involves all the previous reasons, and it can extend for months or even years. Everyone involved in the negotiation process may slow down the procedure even more, by soliciting evidence of negligence or by evaluating the property damage differently. It may take several rounds of negotiations before you reach a reasonable settlement. 

How Can An Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Houston Help You?

If you or your loved ones were involved in a semi truck accident, reaching fair compensation for you may be difficult. These accidents are very complex, making the negotiations difficult for all responsible parties. You may be tempted to accept the first settlement to cover your medical bills and go on with your life, but you may lose a lot of money. 

We have extensive experience with truck accident litigation. We cover the investigation process, we collect strong evidence, we partner with the top experts in the field, and help you estimate your economic losses, personal injury, and other risks. We negotiate a fair settlement for you, help you get maximum compensation, protect you against future losses, and fight for your rights! Contact us today to see if we can take your case.

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