According to The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 4,000 deaths were caused by large truck accidents in 2019, a number that is 31% higher than that of ten years prior. In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that from 2009 to 2015, semi-truck accidents causing injury increased 62%, averaging around 100,000 injuries every year.
These startling statistics reveal the sheer number of victims who experience lifelong consequences, serious injuries, and even death due to semi-truck accidents. The effect these accidents can have on emotional wellbeing, physical health, and financial stability can be long-lasting. That’s why many victims turn to an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer to help them.
One of the primary questions a semi-truck accident victim has is, “how long does it take to settle a semi-truck accident?” It can take time to recover damages following an 18-wheeler crash, but an experienced Texas semi-truck accident lawyer can help victims understand and navigate the process. Here, we’ll discuss the semi-truck accident settlement timeline, ways to help the process move more effectively, and what to expect throughout the settlement.
Semi-truck Accident Settlements
In the aftermath of an auto accident, settlement agreements are often the course of action agreed upon by insurance companies, the at-fault driver, and the victim. Settlements resolve damages and legal claims associated with the accident and provide much-needed compensation to victims to help them pay their medical expenses and other costs associated with the accident. A settlement is an alternative to the legal claims proceeding to trial before a jury. Sometimes a jury is required to make sure the injured party recovers a fair amount, but statistically speaking the vast majority of cases are resolved by a pre-trial settlement.
Settling semi-truck accident cases can be a difficult process since they often involve significant damages, corporate insurance companies, and complicated injuries. That’s why many semi-truck accident victims choose to partner with a law firm with experience in handling personal injury cases. An experienced attorney can help victims navigate the settlement as swiftly as possible and their attention to detail can result in faster resolution and higher settlement values.
The typical timeline of a semi-truck settlement will vary based on a variety of circumstances unique to each case. Because of the complexity and damages associated with semi-truck accidents, it’s often advised for victims to have an experienced attorney on their side as they navigate the following factors.
A key step in any personal injury case is proving liability. To claim damages from the trucking company, the driver, or their insurer, injured parties must be able to prove that their injuries were caused due to the at-fault party’s negligent actions. Common reasons semi-truck accidents occur can include
- Driver fatigue, distraction, or the influence of drugs and alcohol
- Ill-maintained equipment including breaks, tires, or lights
- Irresponsible driving including speeding, negligent merging, or failing to maintain safe stopping distances
- Unbalanced cargo loads
That said, proving fault can be a difficult process, and the time it takes to find supportive evidence can affect the timeline of a settlement.
Extent and Severity of Injuries
The sheer size and weight of semi-trucks mean that the accidents they’re involved in are often serious. Common injuries from semi-truck accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Muscle sprains, strains, and tears
- Bruising, lacerations, and swelling
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Partial or full paralysis
- Spinal or nerve damage
Whether your injury has short-term or long-term effects on your life, an experienced semi-truck accident attorney can help prove that your injuries are a result of the crash and provide all necessary documentation for receiving fair compensation.
Insurance Coverage, Policy Limits, and State Laws
Most truck drivers are backed by their company’s corporate insurance policy, which will have coverage requirements or policy limits that may affect the process of receiving a settlement. Additionally, trucking insurance policies are regulated by federal and state insurance guidelines and requirements. There also may be state laws that affect how semi-truck accident settlements work in particular states.
In Texas, a semi-truck accident lawyer can help ensure your settlement is handled appropriately — not only within the confines of Texas state law, but also within the trucking company’s insurer’s limits. Attorneys can advise whether to file litigation against the driver, their employer, or their insurer to provide the best possible settlement.
Potential for Litigation
Semi-truck accident settlements are sometimes handled without litigation; however, there are certain situations that a semi-truck accident attorney may recommend pursuing litigation. Those instances can include
- The insurer’s settlement offer is unfairly low
- The involved parties contest liability or disagree on damage amounts
- The statute of limitations is set to expire
- Federal regulations regarding semi-truck operation and maintenance were violated
- The crash was a major, multiple-vehicle accident with serious injuries or fatalities
Litigation can lengthen the time it takes to settle your case, but sometimes legal action can result in higher settlement payouts or a trial where a jury will have the opportunity to award higher amounts.
Johnson Garcia Law Can Help
Settling a semi-truck accident can be an overwhelming and difficult process. In addition to recovering from injuries, the legal proceedings can be confusing and lengthy, making it harder to put your accident in the past and move forward with your life.
That’s exactly why The Johson Garcia LLP law firm was established — to help victims recover the damages they’re entitled to with as little stress and frustration as possible. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers has more than 30 years of combined experience, giving us keen insight into the legal system and decades of honing our strategies for getting maximum compensation for our clients.
At Johnson Garcia, we are so committed to our client’s success that we won’t take payment unless we win for you. Contact us today or give us a call at 832-400-6130 to schedule a completely free consultation.