Whenever you’re in an accident of any kind and you suffer a serious injury, it’s a scary and confusing time. When the other vehicle is a big rig, it’s even worse. The damage from such accidents can be catastrophic. It can result in lifelong and debilitating injuries, even the inability to work, and irreparable harm to your quality of life and relationships.
When this happens, you deserve compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. You deserve to have your medical bills paid, your lost wages reimbursed and to collect damages for your emotional suffering and lost comfort.
The question many people have, however, is whether they will have to suffer through a long trial. Let’s examine whether most truck accidents go to trial or settle, and how a truck accident lawyer can make the difference in the amount you’re able to recover.
Understanding a Truck Accident Case
There are a lot of factors that make truck accident cases much more complex than other vehicular accidents. Truck drivers don’t have the ability to react as quickly to sudden emergencies as drivers of smaller vehicles. They have limited visibility, and their vehicles are more prone to go out of control. Unfortunately, too many truckers don’t exercise the extra degree of care required to make up for these limitations.
Even worse, when you pursue compensation, you’ll have to deal with attorneys and claims adjusters from multiple corners—the driver, the trucking company, the maintenance crew, the shipping company and more. All will try to get out of paying your claim.
Higher Value Settlements
On the upside, truck accidents are often open to higher value settlements because the trucking companies, truck driver, and other parties will have larger limits on their insurance policies. It also means, however, that insurers will fight harder to avoid payouts. This can cause the case to drag out longer than other auto accident cases.
Do Truck Accident Cases Go to Court?
In truth, most accidents that involve vehicles settle out of court. There are many reasons for this. In general, it’s not the best result for anyone involved in a case to go to trial. For one thing, court trials are exceedingly expensive, and the longer the trial goes on, the more it costs. This can eat into your settlement, as you may have to pay attorney fees and court costs (though often these fall upon the loser of the case).
Also, a court case is, for the most part, an “all or nothing” affair. You’ll pursue your settlement and there won’t be negotiations up or down; the courts will simply rule on how much you are entitled to receive, or they’ll rule that you’re not entitled to receive a settlement at all. Trucking companies and insurers generally don’t want to risk being liable for a high payout, and you don’t want to risk losing everything.
How Long Does a Case Take to Settle?
Again, truck cases can take longer to settle than normal auto accident cases. This is both because of the larger amounts involved and the multiple parties that can be held accountable. Most accident injury cases begin when the victim files a complaint with the courts and issues a demand letter, which is then justified with the facts of the case.
The defendant(s) will then read the complaint and respond with counterarguments, pointing out flaws and holes in the claim, and usually responding with a counteroffer. This process goes back and forth through a process of discovery and evidence-gathering until both sides reach an agreement that’s somewhere in the middle.
In cases involving big commercial vehicles, it can become necessary to bring in experts to address questions involving things like speed, steering, air brakes, maintenance issues, driver fatigue and similar issues. Sometimes the accident case becomes conflated with a product liability case, such as when a defective part on the truck is the cause of the accident.
Call a Truck Accident Lawyer
If you’re in an accident with an 18-wheeler and are seeking compensation, don’t sign anything, don’t admit to anything and don’t go it alone. Call on the services of an experienced truck accident lawyer.
The right lawyer can stand up against the insurance companies, the non-payment tactics, and the bullying. They can give you the best shot at significant compensation for your pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, loss of consortium and other damages.
If you’re in the Nashville, Tennessee, area and you need help with a truck accident case, Mitch Grissim & Associates can help. Give us a call for a consultation today.