It isn’t possible to predict precisely how long a semi-truck accident case will take, but these types of claims often take longer than others. An attorney may be able to give you an estimated time frame based on your unique situation, but the following aspects of a truck accident claim can lengthen the process.
If your injuries are severe, an attorney will usually advise you on waiting to settle your claim until you fully recover or reach the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). Doing so will give you a better idea of the full extent of your injuries and how much compensation you will need in the future. Once you stop receiving medical care and your attorney asks for a settlement amount, you will not be able to go back and have additional medical expenses paid for. Taking the time to recover from your injuries entirely is extremely important.
To avoid liability, trucking companies and their insurance companies will likely try to place part or all of the blame on you. If you are determined to be partially at fault, your compensation can significantly be reduced. Ensuring you have the evidence you need to support your claim will require a thorough investigation by your attorney. In most cases, your attorney will send a spoliation letter to the trucking company and their insurer as soon as possible after the crash. This letter asks that all evidence related to the accident be preserved and may list specific types of evidence, such as black box data, truck maintenance logs, hours of service logs, results of drug and alcohol tests, etc. If the company does not hand over the evidence you need, your attorney will have to request a hearing for the court to force them to turn it over.
Your attorney may also hire an accident reconstruction expert to gather evidence from the scene of the crash and determine the cause and who was at fault. This process is particularly beneficial if there is a lack of evidence or if the trucking company is denying liability.
Once you fully recover or reach MMI, negotiations for a settlement with the trucking company’s insurance company will begin. However, this is a common source of delay. Your attorney will send a demand letter that includes the amount you would like to be paid in compensation and can also mention details that support your claim. Insurance companies can take weeks to respond to demand letters. A delay in an insurance company getting back to you could be due to a backup in the insurance adjuster’s workload, investigating the claim, or they may simply be ignoring the demand altogether.
If there is a response, it will likely be in the form of a counteroffer. Your attorney may advise you to refuse and make your own counteroffer. This can go back and forth, which means negotiations can take weeks, several months, or years to reach an agreeable number.
When settlement negotiations do not yield acceptable results, you and your attorney may choose to proceed by filing a lawsuit. Going to trial can take anywhere from months to years, depending on the complexity of your case.
Semi-truck accident cases can be incredibly complex and may take considerable time to resolve. If you need an experienced San Diego Truck Accident Lawyer on your side, contact CaseyGerry. We will represent your best interests and help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call (619) 238-1811 or contact us online for your free consultation.