How Long Does An 18-Wheeler Lawsuit Take?

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Typical Timeline To Settle A Truck Accident Claim

Commercial trucking accidents typically take longer than regular car accident lawsuits because the injuries are usually more severe as well as the damages, and the insurance considerations are more complex. There are many moving parts to truck accident cases that have to be considered and each accident claim is different but you can expect your 18 wheeler accident lawsuit to take anywhere from 3 months to over a year. Most of these claims are settled outside of court instead of going to trial but there are a substantial number of things that can drastically affect the timeline to reach a settlement. Here, our experienced truck accident attorneys will go over all of the factors that can affect your time to settle.
18 wheeler accident claim

Important Factors That Affect The Time To Settle

Most of the time, trucking accidents are very severe in nature. The large vehicles typically cause major injuries, lots of property damage and can take a significant amount of time to determine fault.

Severity Of Injuries

The severity of the injuries sustained in the accident are one of the biggest factors that can extend the timeline of your settlement. If you sustain catastrophic injuries, they may take many months or even years to fully heal. This can ultimately delay your settlement for a long time because you need to be able to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before you will know the full extent of the economic damages you could receive. Until you are fully healed, there is no way to know exactly how much your medical bills will cost, as well as whether your injuries will last beyond the treatment timeline.
Your doctor will be able to give you an idea of how your injuries will heal over time, but only time will tell if you are able to actually fully heal from the injuries. Due to this, it is best to wait until you are fully recovered or have reached maximum medical improvement before starting negotiations with the at-fault party.

Recovery Time

As mentioned above, your recovery time will vary based on the severity of your injuries. This could be a month of medical treatment or years in some cases. This will obviously affect the costs of your treatment as well, so we need to wait until we have exact numbers before we start asking for a certain amount of damages to cover your medical expenses. You can make an educated guess on the costs of your full treatment if you are willing to accept a lower amount, but we never recommend doing this because it can end up really hurting your financial situation if your settlement doesn’t end up covering the entire cost so you’re left paying for the remainder of treatment out of pocket. If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve to have all of your expenses covered and then some, so don’t try to hurry your claim along.

Time To Calculate Damages

Once you have fully recovered from your injuries, your lawyer will be able to calculate all of the economic damages and start calculating your non-economic damages. Economic losses are usually pretty easy to calculate because they have specific numbers tied to them, but your non-economic damages will take longer to figure out because you need to be able to prove the extent of any non-economic losses. Make sure you give your lawyer plenty of time to gather the necessary evidence to support your claims to the fullest.

Determining Fault

In some cases, determining fault of the accident is straightforward, but many times there are a lot of factors involved and the parties may have different stories as to what actually happened. There will need to be a thorough truck accident investigation which can mean bringing in accident reconstruction experts, engineers and other experts to recreate the accident and figure out exactly what happened and who was at fault. Sometimes both drivers are at fault which can complicate things. The time it takes to determine liability in your case could end up taking a day or up to a few months, depending on how hard it is to determine who was really at fault for the truck accident.

Insurance Coverages

Now it’s time to look into insurance coverages. Depending on who was at fault, the insurance policy for the at-fault driver will need to be looked at very closely to see what their insurance covers and what it doesn’t. Many times insurance adjusters try to lowball claims and many times the insurance coverage does not cover all of the damages that were incurred from the accident. This is especially true when the injuries are catastrophic because the amount of damages to be paid out can easily exceed the insurance policy limits. If the trucker was at fault then the liability will be passed on to the trucking company’s insurance provider which is usually not a big deal because they are required to carry significant accident coverage. But if the other driver is the liable party, then it is very likely that they will have to cover a lot of the damages out of pocket, depending on how much their policy covers.
The other consideration in a commercial truck accident is that the insurance policy may not be large enough to fully compensate you for a catastrophic injury.  In most car accident cases, recovery is limited to the amount of insurance available.  However, a commercial trucking case is different, as many large companies have assets above and beyond the insurance policy.  In many cases, large companies have multiple insurance policies, and some involve complicated clauses, like self-insured retention clauses or other instruments that are not present in a personal automobile insurance policy.  Because of these considerations, waiting until maximum medical improvement is a must in a commercial trucking accident to insure a full settlement is reached.

Negotiations

Once all of the factors above have been sorted out, then it’s time to start negotiating with the at-fault party to come up with a settlement amount that is fair. Sometimes this is straightforward and both parties can come to an agreement quickly, but many times the parties cannot agree on the amount and have to go back and forth for weeks. If the insurance company has to pay out a large sum, or if the company is asked to kick in a portion to satisfy the demand, you can bet that they are going to try to fight it as hard as they can, which can drag the process out for a much longer time as you go back and forth trying to prove why the amount requested is valid and should be paid out. When evidence is lacking for some of your claims, it can be very hard to get the other party to pay for them. All of this can really extend the timeline of your lawsuit, so be prepared for unexpected delays with your case as it is very common with personal injury claims.

How To Speed Up The Process

There are a few ways that you can speed up the process when dealing with an 18-wheeler accident claim. The first is to onboard a professional truck accident lawyer right away. Having a lawyer on the case from the start will help you understand exactly what needs to be done and documented throughout your healing process to ensure you have the evidence required to get your claims approved when you send over your demand letter. This also gives your attorney plenty of time to start investigating the accident and determine fault while you are healing from your injuries.
Next is to get full medical treatment immediately and finish your full treatment on time. Since the time to heal fully can take many months, the earlier you start this process, the earlier you will know the full costs of your treatment and be able to ask for the appropriate amount of compensation to cover all of your medical expenses.
Lastly is having all of the necessary documents and evidence available for your lawyer to be able to put together a solid case for you. The longer you take to send over the documents that your attorney needs, the longer it will drag the case out, so make sure that you send your lawyer everything they need right away.

Common Causes Of Trucking Accidents

Truck drivers have a lot of responsibility when they get on the roads, but sometimes they overlook their duties to operate their vehicle in a safe manner which can lead to a major semi-truck accident and even cause fatal truck accidents in some cases. Let’s look at some of the major factors that commonly cause trucking accidents.
  • Speeding
  • Unsafe equipment
  • Unsafe maneuvers
  • Truck maintenance issues
  • Following too closely
  • Driving trucks in strong winds
  • Dangerous road conditions
  • Driving while tired
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Defective tires or parts
  • Unsecured loads or too much weight
  • Poorly maintained roads
  • Lack of training
All of these factors are very common causes of truck crashes involving passenger vehicles. So make sure you use caution when driving next to semi-trucks because you never know if they are playing it safe or just trying to make it to their next stop as fast as possible.

Common Injuries From Truck Accidents

Due to how heavy semi-trucks are, they usually cause a lot of damage as well as severe injuries to the parties involved. If a truck were to tip over onto your car or rear end you, it is going to cause major injuries compared to a passenger vehicle running into you. Below are some of the most common injuries suffered from trucking accidents.

  • Broken Bones
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Catastrophic injuries
  • Brain Injuries
  • Back & Neck Injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Whiplash

Speak With Our Attorneys For Best Results

Our law firm has been fighting for trucking accident victims for decades and we know exactly how to put together a bullet proof case so that you can get maximum compensation for your injuries and expedite your truck accident settlement timeline. Rector Stuzynski LLC has an extensive list of 5 star reviews because we care about our clients and our results prove it. If you are looking for the best accident attorney in Colorado, then look no further. We are your best choice for expert legal representation and we would be happy to help you with your claim. Feel free to give us a call anytime to discuss your case or stop by our office in Colorado Springs to speak with one of our attorneys directly.