Truck accidents are frequently catastrophic due to the sheer size of an 18-wheeler. Wrongful death claims are common, as are large personal injury claims.
Most claimants would rather settle their truck accident claim out of court because it is simpler, easier, and less stressful than going to court. However, even settlements take time to resolve.
The following are some of the most important factors that affect how long it takes to settle a semi-truck accident case.
How Long it Takes You to Reach MMI
MMI is Maximum Medical Improvement, or the point in your recovery from an injury at which your doctor expects no further improvement. Hopefully, this means a full recovery, but this is not always the case.
It is extremely difficult to calculate your medical expenses until you reach MMI. Your treatment will continue until you reach MMI, and it is only then that you will be able to calculate a specific dollar value for your medical expenses and lost wages with a high degree of confidence.
The Size of Your Truck Accident Claim
The larger the amount of your claim, the more the opposing party (the defendant or their insurance company) will resist paying it. They will erect any number of barriers to wear you down so that you either abandon your claim or lower your settlement demand in the hope of expediting settlement.
The Complexity of Your Truck Accident Claim
Claims can be complex in different ways, including scientific complexity and multiple defendants. You may need to hire an expert witness to strengthen your case, and you may need to reconstruct the accident to determine liability. You may also need to examine trucking regulations to further prove your claim for damages.
The more evidence you need, the more issues will arise for the defendant to contest and the longer it will take to resolve your claim.
The Strength of Your Evidence
The weaker your claim, the longer it will take you to resolve it. If the defendant’s liability is obvious, and if the amount of your claim is documented by persuasive evidence, the opposing party is likely to settle quickly. Without compelling evidence, it could take a long time to settle.
Whether You Share Fault for the 18-Wheeler Accident
If you share fault for the accident, California’s pure comparative fault system will reduce your compensation by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were 10% at fault, the court will reduce your award by 10%.
However, in settlement negotiations, you don’t yet know what percentage of fault a court will assign to you. This may drag out settlement negotiations if the parties’ respective estimates do not agree with each other.
The Opposing Party’s Willingness to Settle
The opposing party will probably be an insurance company, and insurance adjusters frequently implement strategies to undervalue and deny claims.
Some of the most common tactics insurance adjusters use include:
- Asking you to give a recorded statement. You can expect questions designed to elicit statements that they can use against you.
- Claiming that your injuries were pre-existing (especially a back injury).
- Using numerous delays to lull you into missing the statute of limitations deadline to file a lawsuit.
These are only a few examples of insurance company tactics that may be used. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be familiar with them and fight back to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
Whether You File a Truck Accident Lawsuit
One way of obtaining evidence is by engaging in the pretrial discovery process. Discovery is a court-enforced system of gathering evidence that the opposing party possesses. You can only engage in discovery after you have filed a lawsuit.
During the pretrial discovery process, you can ask questions under oath, submit written interrogatories, and demand to examine physical evidence (the truck’s Event Data Recorder, for example). All of this takes time.
Whether You Retain a Personal Injury Lawyer to Represent You in Your 18-Wheeler Accident Case
Because truck accident cases are complex, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is recommended. A skilled lawyer can typically negotiate a better settlement with the insurance adjuster than the accident victim. Truck accident attorneys are familiar with the claims process and tactics that insurance companies use to limit their financial liability and will push back to maximize the victim’s recovery.
Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles truck accident attorneys at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.
M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers – Los Angeles Office
4929 Wilshire Blvd Suite 960,
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Other Truck Accident Cases We Cover
- Tractor-trailer tire blowout
- Amazon van and truck accidents
- FedEx and UPS truck accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Truck driver drug and alcohol use
- Lost load accidents