Over the past few years, there have been more than 150,000 accidents involving large trucks or buses that include injuries. If you’re in an accident with a commercial truck, it’s more likely you’ll experience extensive damage to personal property and serious injuries. These both can lead to some high costs.
Cases involving commercial trucks and vehicles are frequently more complicated than those resulting from a car-to-car accident. The time it will take to settle these types of lawsuits varies greatly by situation. It’s good to prepare for a longer process overall in reaching a final verdict.
Why does it take longer to settle a personal injury case involving a commercial truck?
Everything about accidents involving a commercial truck are more complex. Establishing fault does more than decide which driver is responsible. Some percentage of fault could go to the trucking company, the individual driver, or even the manufacturer of a part on the truck. Wading through all these options can add time to your case.
Also, the investigation into the accident itself can take longer. There are so many more elements in need of inspection on a commercial truck, including:
- The maintenance schedule of all equipment and truck parts.
- Number of hours the driver was behind the wheel.
- Number of hours the driver had been working during a particular shift.
- How the cargo was loaded onto the truck.
An experienced trucking lawyer won’t try to get your case settled as fast as possible – potentially missing out on available forms of compensation or on key facts that might make your case more valuable. They make sure everyone involved handles things properly in order to get you the best outcome possible for your case.
Don’t be tricked into thinking a faster settlement is always the best outcome
At the start, you may get some pressure from the insurance company to settle quickly and close the case. This can put you at a huge disadvantage. Insurance companies will want to wrap things up quickly because it typically lets them get away with paying you less than you deserve. Especially with injuries from a commercial truck, you actually need time to heal and to determine what your total current and future medical and other expenses may be. You should not be in a hurry to settle your case before you fully know and understand what the long term effects of your injuries are. Even if it delays your settlement, it’s important to understand the extent of your injuries, treatments you’ll need, and how long you’ll need them before you can adequately assess how much compensation your case deserves.
Don’t rush through the negotiation period
Any negotiation between your attorney and the trucking company/insurance company can make your case move slower than expected. How smoothly this process goes may impact time to a final resolution, especially in a few key areas.
Establishing blame: If you’re partially to blame for the accident, your lawyer may require extra time to negotiate with the insurance company to reach a settlement. A liability investigation prevents the trucking company’s insurance from trying to blame the victim inappropriately. It also establishes rightful blame should the case go to court.
Wrongful death: Should an accident result in a death, surviving family members can bring a wrongful death suit against the trucking company. If that happens, the time it takes to reach a settlement could be less than average due to specific definitions within insurance policies. There are often limits set by the state for this type of case, leading insurance companies to simply award the full amount based on the law; no negotiation necessary.
It’s not the time that’s important, it’s the results
While it may be frustrating to have a personal injury case take a long time to resolve, it's important you get the compensation you deserve. You only have one opportunity to settle your case for its full value. Having an experienced trucking accident lawyer on your side means your rights are protected and your pain and suffering are taken seriously.
The legal team at The Patterson Cozzo Law Firm strives to give each client the focused, personal attention they need to produce the best outcome possible for their case. Should you find yourself with injuries sustained in an accident with a commercial truck, don’t hesitate to set up a free consultation with this qualified team.