Commercial truck accidents are among the deadliest incidents that occur on the roadways. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), large trucks were involved in over 4,200 fatal crashes in 2017, and more than 344,000 crashes resulted in injuries. And because regular vehicles have far less protection when they collide with a big rig truck, the vast majority of those who are injured or killed in these types of collisions are occupants of other vehicles.
For those who are involved in a collision with a semi-truck, one of the most common questions asked is, “how long will it take to resolve my truck accident case?” If you suffered moderate to severe injuries from the crash, no doubt your medical bills are starting to pile up, and it is difficult to make ends meet if you are unable to go to work because of your injury. Under these circumstances, it is understandable that you would want to get the case resolved and collect your settlement as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to the question of how long your truck accident case will take. And in fact, although you may want to resolve it sooner rather than later, doing so is probably not in your best interests. You may indeed receive a settlement offer from the insurance company very soon after the accident, but in all likelihood, it will be for far less than your case is worth.
Insurance companies know that finances are usually tight for those who have been injured in an accident, and they often look to take advantage of this by making a lowball settlement offer. Though it may be tempting to take the quick money, this could hurt you in the long run.
Shortly after a semi-truck accident, it is usually impossible to know for sure how much compensation you are entitled to. This is especially true if you have not fully recovered from your injuries. In this situation, it is best to turn down any immediate settlement offer, be patient, and let your attorney work to secure full and fair compensation for your injuries.
How Long does a Truck Accident Case Usually Take?
Commercial trucking accident cases are typically far more complicated than a standard auto accident case, and for this reason, they will normally take longer to resolve. Of course, each case is unique, and the length of time it takes to obtain a settlement is dependent on several factors, such as:
In many trucking accident cases, there are multiple potential contributing factors, and there could be several parties that are at fault. In most cases, truck driver negligence plays a role, but the trucking company, the shipping company (that may have overloaded or unevenly loaded the truck), the party responsible for maintaining the truck, or even the manufacturer of a defective vehicle part (that contributed to the accident) may share some responsibility as well. There are also numerous laws and regulations that govern the trucking industry, making investigations even more complicated. Your attorney will need time to conduct a thorough investigation to determine exactly what caused the accident and ensure that all responsible parties are held fully accountable.
A big rig truck could be carrying liability insurance of $1 million dollars or more, and because semi-truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries and widespread property damage, there is usually a lot more at stake for the insurance company than with a typical car accident case. For this reason, insurance companies usually defend their clients more aggressively in these types of cases in order to minimize their liability exposure.
The Extent of Your Injuries/Medical Treatment
One of the most significant factors that determines the length of time it takes to resolve a truck accident case is how badly you were hurt. Since many big rig accidents cause serious injuries, there is likely to be a longer treatment and recovery period. This means it could take longer than the typical car accident case to know the full extent of your injuries, and how much compensation your lawyer should ask for.
Negotiation time is another variable that is difficult to predict. Sometimes, it will take a series of back and forth phone calls and other forms of communication for your attorney to persuade the adjuster of the liability of their client(s) and the extent of your injuries. At this stage, insurance companies have also been known to unnecessarily delay negotiations to frustrate the injured party in hopes that they will pressure their attorney to settle. As mentioned earlier, patience is the key here, and waiting a little longer will pay off in the end.
If your attorney and the insurance company are able to reach a settlement through negotiations, then this is the end of the process. Settlements are negotiated in the majority of cases, because it is in the best interests for both parties to resolve the case and avoid a lengthy court battle. All that said, there are some instances in which the insurance company proves unwilling to negotiate in good faith. And when talks break down, your attorney should be able and willing to pursue full damages through litigation.
Injured in a Truck Accident in Connecticut? Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a trucking accident that was the fault of another party, you need strong legal counsel in your corner fighting hard to obtain the just compensation you deserve. At the Apex Law Firm, we have over five decades of combined experience successfully representing clients injured in semi-truck accidents in Connecticut, and we have the knowledge, skills, resources, and dedication to help ensure that you receive the most favorable outcome possible. Call our office today at (860) 900-0900 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also message us through our web contact form or stop by our Hartford County office in person at your convenience.