Not all truck accident cases are the same, and not all truck accident settlement processes and timelines are the same, either. While more straightforward cases could be resolved in a few months, more complicated cases involving serious injuries and negligent parties can take more time.
Having a truck accident lawyer can help you navigate the process after a crash. A lawyer can also give you a better sense of what to expect of your own settlement process based on the unique facts of your case.
The First Step: Get Medical Attention
If you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck, your first step should be to call 911. When medical personnel arrive on the scene, seek medical attention.
If you don’t feel like you were injured, you should still seek medical treatment as soon as practicable. The adrenaline from the accident might mask some conditions such as whiplash and traumatic brain injury (TBI). These hidden injuries can cause stiffness and other problems that may not surface for 24 or more hours.
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How the Claims Process Works
Once the police process the accident scene, you will be free to leave if medical personnel do not transport you to a hospital. Although you may have some time based on the statute of limitations, it is best not to procrastinate on getting the process started.
Steps You Should Follow
- Hire an injury lawyer. Consider hiring a personal injury lawyer that specializes in truck accidents. There are many benefits to getting legal help, but first and foremost, it will allow you the necessary time to begin recovering from your injuries while your claim is still progressing.
- Report the accident. Contact your insurance company as soon as you are able. You won’t have to supply in-depth information, but you do need to inform them that you were involved in an accident.
- Record your challenges and the state of your injuries. A notebook is a great way to keep track of and record everything. Start with a description of the accident as you remember it. You can also track medical appointments, treatment, therapy, and other information about your injury.
- Calculate your losses. Include all expenses directly related to your injuries, such as medical costs, transportation, medications, and anything you needed to purchase due to the accident.
- Issue a demand letter. This letter to the liable party’s insurance company should include information about your accident, medical bills, any wages you lost due to your injury. After all the details, the letter should state the total amount you expect (your demand) as compensation.
- Discuss a settlement. The insurance company for the defendant will likely try to offer you an amount lower than your demand. This is normal, and you do not have to accept the offer. You may negotiate on your own behalf, or if you have an injury attorney, they can negotiate for you.
- Take the case to trial. If necessary, your lawyer may file a civil lawsuit. This may happen if the other party won’t agree to a fair offer. Litigation can take time—several months or even years. Your lawyer should keep you updated with any important developments in your case during this time.
There is no way to lock in a specific timeframe for the completion of the entire claims process. Each injury case is unique.
Why Truck Accidents Take Longer to Settle
In a standard accident involving two passenger vehicles, there are usually only two individual parties involved. Regardless of fault, the driver of each vehicle may be able to receive some compensation through their vehicle insurance.
When a truck has an accident, many other factors enter the playing field. There may be several points of potential liability. It may take time to investigate and identify all potentially liable parties in a truck accident.
In addition to the driver, an accident may be partially caused by faulty equipment due to poor maintenance or improper load balance. A trucking company could also be liable.
The Size and Weight of Trucks Can Make for Devastating Accidents
The size of a semi-truck is a significant factor in the damages and injuries sustained in an accident with an automobile. The size and weight of a semi-truck translates into an increase in the vehicle’s stopping distance. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that a truck’s stopping distance is substantially greater than a passenger vehicle’s.
A standard passenger vehicle has a gross vehicle weight of less than 10,000 pounds. An empty semi-truck can weigh as much as 26,000 pounds. Once the cargo is added, the weight difference increases. In collisions, the smaller vehicle almost always incurs the most damage and the most serious injuries among the vehicles’ occupants.
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Bader Scott Injury Lawyers Can Help
Hiring a personal injury lawyer means handing the legwork over to a firm while you recover. Our injury attorneys have experience dealing with truck accident claims. We can assist you from the beginning stages of the accident to the settlement process. Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, serving victims in and around the Atlanta area, has a staff that concentrates on personal injury law. We can work on your behalf while you work on recovering from your injuries. Contact us today for a free case review.