Truck accident victims have to face serious financial, emotional, and physical damages in the aftermath of the crash. The effects of these damages may linger for quite some time, or may not go away at all – such as is the case with a permanent injury.
If you’ve faced disaster in a truck accident, then you’ve probably been restless for days and are yearning for fair compensation due to the financial difficulties thrown upon you. You did all that you could: gathered evidence supporting your legal claims, kept track of your losses (both economic and non-economic damages), and filed a claim with the insurance company.
But you’re not sure when you can expect your payout.
This article will help you understand the settlement time frame of semi-truck accidents, the factors that cause delays, and share some insights into how experienced lawyers can help make things better.
Just remember that quick settlements are uncommon in personal injury law.
Before we go on discussing why they take so long to settle, let’s take a look at why semi-truck crashes are so intense. The biggest factor at play here is the sheer disparity of sizes and masses of semi - trucks and passenger cars which becomes even more significant when these vehicles are traveling at high speeds.
The momentum is staggering, to say the least, and this makes it very hard to come to stop the truck in time to avoid the collision.
And we all know what happens when it collides. The massive behemoth transmits a shockwave of potential energy throughout the other vehicle, crushing it with ease and leaving the passengers on board suffering from severe injuries.
Any auto accident victim can face severe trauma like whiplash, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, muscle damage, fractured bones, lacerations, bruises, and whatnot. These damages, coupled with the emotional injuries caused by the motor vehicle accident and the costs of medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and special damages can make the whole affair rather nightmarish.
And, the possibility of death is also alarmingly high; such cases qualify for wrongful death claims for loss of consortium and long-term financial losses.
Thus it is never too simple to settle matters in such cases, and some delay is expected – however, if you feel that matters have dragged on unnecessarily (gaps in your evidence, incomplete records, etc.), you should contact an experienced lawyer to smoothen the settlement process, but not without delays of their own.
But even at top speed, the legal process will take up to a year (usually six months for minor semi-truck accident cases involving soft tissue injuries) to resolve completely.
Here’s why you’ll have to be a bit patient and for good the reason, while your truck accident settlement reaches its conclusion:
Before they can go on and demand compensation for the types of damages (economic and noneconomic damages) they suffered because of the accident, the injured parties have to identify all of the responsible parties. In such cases, usually, there are multiple liable parties, instead of just the one negligent party: the truck driver.
For instance, if you were involved in a commercial truck accident, then the trucking company will share part of the blame, or if the accident involved a defective truck, the manufacturers will also be a party to the case. Similarly, if the road conditions made the accident inevitable or worsened it somehow, you can sue the governing body as well.
However, with major semi-truck accident claims, come several problems.
Most notably, the insurance adjuster will try to get you to accept part of the fault. You should never do so because this way, you’ll cut a percentage of the compensation you’re supposed to receive. They will initiate an investigation of their own to find if you were partly at fault.
This will cause some delays, of course.
The liability insurance coverage of enterprise-level insurance carriers (such as trucking companies) is usually massive. Thus you will have to be a bit patient while they take their time to explore the depth of the matters, and what their insurance policy dictates for such situations.
The company will investigate your case and ensure that your claims are as accurate as you say they are. Similarly, your lawyer will scrutinize every source of damage and identify other liable parties as well, if they haven’t been pointed out already.
Thus, there is a delay from both sides here.
Initial diagnosis and medical treatment can only get you patched up momentarily.
The full extent of the damage may not be immediately apparent, thus you must wait a while and find out if you suffered from debilitating injuries. Moreover, you should keep a track record of your expenses during the recovery period, because these will be relevant for your case.
Once you’ve determined the full extent of your medical burdens, then, and only then, can you go ahead with putting demand for fair compensation.
A fair settlement demand must cover:
Have all the evidence and medical records with you to make your narrative completely impervious to any faults and flaws. Most important of all, let your lawyer speak on your behalf, this way, you won’t inadvertently downplay your sufferings.
The last cause of natural delay in your case is the negotiation process. If you act patiently here, all that you had to go through to get to this point, will be worth it. The time demand of this stage will depend heavily on the following:
If you present a coherent and well-constructed narrative here, then you won’t have anything to worry about. However, if the insurance adjuster is showing unnecessary delay and you feel like settlement negotiations aren’t going anywhere even though your case is solid enough, take matters to the court.
This way, if your position is strong (due to firsthand evidence, having expert witnesses on board, ample eye-witness statements, etc.), you may even be able to claim punitive damages for any disturbing negligence shown by the offenders.
Just don’t give in to their delaying tactics.
While, on average, having a lawyer with you will lengthen the time taken for the settlement, unless some technicalities are already introducing unnecessary delays (in which case, the inverse will be true), it is with your time to be backed up by a team of experienced personal injury attorneys.
After all, your goal is to get compensated fairly, and that’s precisely what they will help you do.
Insurance adjusters are known to drag the process, intentionally, further slowing down your progress with the settlement negotiations, in an attempt to cut down your payment as much as possible and coerce you into accepting a nominal sum as compensation. Most people take the bait and settle fast, however, a little patience can be very valuable here.
Not only will an experienced lawyer help you better understand your position in the case but also help you figure out ways you can demand more than what you first had in mind, thus it is important to proceed with legal counsel.
Moreover, if the insurance adjuster is using delaying tactics to force your decision, the lawyer will be able to help you explore other options such as filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Sometimes, the rounds of negotiations in semi-truck accident settlements are simply futile, and you should instead take matters to the court. The mere mention of court may be able to break some insurers, especially if your case is solid enough, and get them to offer a fair sum.
Just remember, even if there is an intentional delay on the part of the adjuster, be patient, and let experienced attorneys handle matters, it will be worth it because you will be able to secure maximum compensation from the negligent truck driver and other drivers.
Your personal injury claim is much more than just a case for us, it is your life and we value it just as such. Those who survive truck accidents are lucky enough to be alive but the mounting pressures are hard to contend with nevertheless, in such perilous times, you should not burden yourself anymore with worries.
Instead, rest until you recover and let a team of experienced truck accident attorneys from Calhoun, Meredith, & Sims deal with your case. You don’t have to do much, just sit back, and let us handle everything, this way, you’ll get compensated fairly and without unnecessary delays.
And, we won’t ask for any advance payments or fees for legal advice because we work on a contingency fee basis, thus feel at peace with our legal representation.
Just give us a call, and leave the rest to us!