Truck accident claims can take longer to settle than those involving passenger vehicle accidents. This is primarily because the liability investigation is more complex, and victims’ damages tend to be more substantial. That being said, how long it will take for a truck accident claim to settle will depend on the specific details of your situation.
You Must Establish Liability
In order for you to collect any compensation from the trucking company for your accident and injuries, you must first establish liability. In any personal injury case, the injured claimant must prove how the at-fault party acted negligently.
You will need to establish:
- Duty of care. The other party owed you a duty of care to act in a way that would keep you free from injuries.
- Breach of duty of care. The other party violated their duty of care. For instance, if the trucker was driving while intoxicated, this would constitute a breach of their duty of care.
- Causation. By failing to fulfill their duty of care, the other party caused you to get hurt.
- Damages. As a result of your injuries, you experienced financial losses. Some of your financial losses may include medical bills, lost income, and reduced future earning capacity.
Every personal injury case must be supported by evidence. The insurance company knows this. If you show up at the negotiating table with a flimsily supported case, the insurer is less likely to offer a fair settlement.
Furthermore, note that the trucking company’s (or liable party’s) insurer will not take your evidence at face value. They may seek and provide their own batch of evidence in an attempt to either deny or undervalue your claim.
Liability Investigations Take Time
When you hire a lawyer to represent you, your law firm will tap into its resources to conduct an investigation of your claim. Yet, this takes time.
As part of their investigation, your attorney will:
- Visit the accident scene to gather evidence
- Interview witnesses
- Obtain a copy of the accident report
- Seek photos and videos from traffic surveillance cameras
- Work with accident reconstruction specialists
- Review the truck driver’s logs to check if their driving time exceeded the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations
- Check into the driver’s and trucking company’s safety records
- Analyze “black box” data from the truck
- Place a physical hold on the truck to ensure the integrity of any evidence
- Check the truck for defects that might have contributed to or caused the accident
Again, the insurer also will investigate the accident, which could further delay the resolution of your case.
Your Medical Condition Also Might Delay Your Case
Your lawyer will want to wait until you have reached maximum medical improvement before they settle your claim with the insurance company. This measure serves to protect you in the event that your injuries require future treatment, which will need to be factored into your demand for damages. Additionally, before you accept a settlement offer, your lawyer will need to determine the impact of your injuries on your employability, psychological well-being, and quality of life.
Your Case May Involve Hefty Policies
When you go up against a trucking company for damages, you may find yourself battling a multimillion-dollar insurance company. With so much money at stake, the insurer is motivated to throw up as many roadblocks as possible. They may build an aggressive defense that keeps you from getting the money to which you are entitled.
Trucking companies also are known to buy separate insurance policies for both the truck and trailer. If both policies come into play in your settlement, this could prolong the progression of your case.
A Truck Accident Lawyer Can Keep Your Case on Track
By hiring a lawyer to represent your personal injury claim, you can rest assured that someone is working to minimize the amount of time it takes for your truck accident claim to settle.
An attorney will also manage your case so that it does not expire under Illinois’s statute of limitations, which is outlined under 735 ILCS 5/13-202. Under this law, the state limits the amount of time you have following your accident to file a lawsuit. If negotiations with the insurance company fail, your lawyer can still seek compensation for you through a court award.
The truck accident lawyers at The Kryder Law Group, LLC can handle your case from beginning to end. Additionally, we work on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning that we only charge you for our services if we secure an insurance settlement or court award on your behalf. To learn more about your financial recovery options at no cost to you, call us today at (312) 223-1700.