Any lawsuit has the potential to carry on for months or even years depending on the parties involved, the damages claimed in the case, and the extent of investigation necessary for determining liability. Semi-trucks or tractor-trailers are some of the largest and most inherently dangerous vehicles on the road, and accidents involving these large vehicles can be much more complex than typical passenger vehicle accident cases.
One of the biggest obstacles facing injured truck accident victims is the time it takes to secure compensation for their losses. During that time, economic pressure from lost income, expensive medical bills, and repair and replacement costs for damaged and destroyed vehicles can easily cause significant financial stress for a truck accident victim. It is vital to know the factors that could potentially complicate a truck accident claim.
Time-Related Factors in Truck Accident Cases
It is important for any plaintiff to meet the applicable statute of limitations or time limit for filing legal action after a truck accident. In most states, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years starting on the date the injury occurs. It is usually in a plaintiff’s best interests to take legal action as soon as possible, but not before the plaintiff has a firm understanding of the full scope of his or her damages.
Truck accidents often cause severe injuries and it is not uncommon for truck accident victims to develop permanent disabilities from their accidents. A plaintiff should obtain an accurate medical report of his or her full prognosis before filing a lawsuit or accepting any kind of insurance settlement. Trucking companies usually carry extensive liability coverage for accidents involving their vehicles, but it is vital to ensure a settlement offer is fair before accepting it. Once a claimant accepts a settlement offer, doing so releases the insurer and the insured trucking company from future liability for the same claim.
A plaintiff should not take legal action while still experiencing pain and/or while undergoing medical treatment for truck accident injuries. However, it is imperative to meet the applicable statute of limitations. Filing after the statute has passed could lead to the defendant filing a motion to dismiss the case, which a judge will likely grant.
What to Expect From a Truck Accident Case
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a truck accident, you should expect a lengthy investigation on both sides of the issue. You and your legal team will need to investigate to determine the cause of the crash, the extent of your damages, and liability for the accident. Similarly, the trucking company and the company’s insurer will want to investigate the issue with their own resources to verify the claim.
Insurance companies have a legal obligation to process all claims in good faith and disburse settlements that meet coverage terms. An insurance company investigation into a truck accident claim may not take an extraordinarily long time unless the investigation team encounters discrepancies between the injured claimant’s story and the facts uncovered in the investigation.
Negotiations with an insurance company usually form the bulk of the time spent on a truck accident claim. The insurer and the injured party may disagree on the value of compensation listed in the claim or may allege comparative negligence on part of the claimant. These are just a few ways a truck accident claim can become a very time-consuming legal battle. If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries and other damages in a truck accident, speak with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able ensure you meet the applicable statute of limitations and start building a strong case with fresh evidence.