The immense devastation caused by a semi-truck accident can ruin a family’s life in an instant. A semi-truck accident victim or the surviving members of a person involved in a fatal semi-truck collision have a right to demand monetary compensation for their loss. Filing a legal claim against the truck driver, the trucking company, and any other entity liable for causing a semi-truck accident can provide just compensation for the losses suffered by a truck accident victim.
A California truck accident lawyer with a track record of successfully settling truck accidents could help you and your family overcome the financial insecurity caused by a semi-truck accident.
How Long Does It Typically Take to Settle a Semi-Truck Accident Claim?
Victims injured in truck accidents often need to know: How long does it take to settle a semi-truck accident? There is always a sense of urgency to this question because the bills continue to pile up. Pursuing treatment means costs like doctors’ bills, medical tests, and procedures will continue to mount.
Also, life’s expenses will not magically disappear because of a semi-truck accident. A person injured in a trucking industry accident might be out of work for a significant period. Job loss can mean heaping the financial burden of paying a mortgage or rent, putting food on the table, and buying necessities on other family members.
Life after a truck accident becomes significantly more challenging. The injured victim might never work again or work in a reduced capacity, suffer from chronic pain, and miss out on the enjoyment of life. People want to know how long it takes to settle a semi-truck accident claim for all of these very valid reasons.
Semi-Truck Accident Claims Process
Truck accident cases are complicated. However, understanding the process of filing a claim could shed some light on the amount of time needed to settle the case.
The victim of a truck accident does not have a case unless the truck driver or someone else was negligent. Negligence in a California semi-truck accident means that the truck driver, trucking company, or another third party breached the standard of care owed to the victim. The accident victim must prove that the negligent act caused an injury. Finally, the victim must show that the harm caused damages.
The time needed to prepare a truck accident claim depends on factors such as
- What evidence you can collect;
- How long it takes to complete medical treatment; and
- What insurance coverage is available.
All three of these factors weigh heavily on the settlement process.
Collecting Evidence from A Semi-Truck Accident
The cause of a truck accident is seldom known at the time of the crash. A knowledgeable California truck accident attorney will pour over all documents and statements to look for evidence of the truck driver’s or trucking company’s negligence.
A close inspection of the accident scene and a thorough review of the trucking companies’ documents may hold the key to proving negligence on behalf of the trucking company or truck driver.
Reviewing the accident scene
Inspection of the accident scene is vital to the success of a truck accident claim. A seasoned California truck accident lawyer will inspect the scene in addition to acquiring evidence like:
- Photographs of the accident scene;
- Photographs of the damage to the vehicles and their positions at the accident scene;
- Eyewitness reports;
- Police reports;
- Accident reconstruction reports;
- Surveillance footage; and
- The event data recorder from the semi-truck involved in the crash and the event data recorder from any other vehicle involved.
Additionally, an expert witness from the trucking company might need to review the evidence from the scene to help determine the truck driver’s negligence.
Federal regulations govern the operation of tractor-trailer trucks and other commercial vehicles in the U.S. Trucking companies must abide by these rules or face hefty fines, at a minimum. A violation of U.S. trucking laws could provide a strong and persuasive basis to claim the driver’s or trucking company’s negligence caused the truck accident.
A thorough inspection of all the records trucking companies and truck drivers must maintain could lead to the discovery of strong evidence of negligence. Truck companies must keep records such as:
- Safety inspection records,
- Service records,
- Drivers’ logs,
- Drug and alcohol tests,
- Phone logs, and
- Bills of lading.
Trucking companies do not have to keep these records forever. Moving quickly to preserve these records shortly after a commercial truck accident can prevent the destruction of valuable evidence. The documents could show that the driver logged too much time on the road, the big rig failed safety inspections, the driver did not inspect the truck for safety violations, or the truck was overloaded.
Completing Medical Treatment
Assembling and reviewing medical records is time-consuming. Because truck crashes are so devastating, a victim might treat with numerous doctors while trying to recover. You should wait to file your claim until your attorney collects all the relevant medical records. At that point, the truck accident lawyer can use the forms to show the extent of the physical injuries you suffered in the crash.
The victim of a severe collision with a big rig might never finish treating medically. The victim could have lasting injuries such as brain damage, amputation, or paralysis. Medical experts will need to give their opinion about future treatment and quality of life in that case.
Trucking industry insurance defense lawyers will fight to protect their clients. They will scour the medical records looking for any means of limiting their clients’ liability.
Locating Available Insurance Coverage
Truck drivers and trucking companies might purchase large insurance policies to cover losses. In the case of multiple traumas or fatalities stemming from a semi-truck accident, that coverage might not be enough. A skilled California truck accident lawyer can pursue other avenues of coverage to be sure the accident victims receive just compensation for their losses.
Do Semi-Truck Accidents Go to Trial?
The victim must make a compelling case against the truck driver or company. An insurance company defense attorney representing the truck driver or trucking company will not settle a claim merely because someone died or sustained traumatic, life-changing injuries. Trucking industry lawyers may settle for larger amounts if the evidence shows the truck driver’s or the trucking company’s negligence caused the catastrophic crash.
Some cases might go to trial. However, the vast majority of all cases filed, including truck accident cases, settle before going to court.
Can I Sue for Being Hit By a Semi-Truck?
A truck accident victim has the right to sue any party liable for damages. Under California’s comparative negligence laws, a person could bring a lawsuit even if they were partly at fault for the collision. The jury could reduce their verdict by the percentage of fault they assign to the victim.
Lawsuits are time-sensitive matters. In California, a person who suffers personal injuries in a collision with a big rig has only two years to preserve their rights. In some instances, like claims against state agencies or municipalities, the time to sue is only six months. Missing those deadlines means that the people responsible for the victim’s injuries do not have to compensate the victim.
Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Truck Accident?
Contacting a reputable California truck accident lawyer is the only way to determine if you have a valid claim. A knowledgeable California truck crash attorney will review your case and take every step necessary to ensure your rights are protected.
Consult a California Truck Accident Lawyer Today
The truck accident lawyers with Wells Call are available to discuss your California truck accident case. With over $500 million collected for our clients, we have the knowledge, skill, and reputation you and your family need to win just compensation for your truck accident injury claim. Speak with a Wells Call injury lawyer today by dialing (707) 302-8029.