Trucks are a vital part of commerce; in fact, our economy would come to a standstill without them. Many of the goods and products necessary for modern life are delivered by trucks. The trucking industry also employs thousands of workers.
However, there are negative consequences to having so many enormous vehicles on our roads and highways. Large trucks are responsible for many serious accidents in the United States every year.
For victims of these accidents, life may never be the same. In many instances, the injured party may be left with permanent disabilities requiring lifelong care and treatment. Physical hardship often coincides with financial difficulties, often caused by medical debt and job loss. For many truck accident victims, imagining a stable future for both themselves and their families is nearly impossible.
Although the outlook may seem grim, victims are not without options. If a semi-truck accident was caused by the negligence of another party, the injured person may seek financial compensation through the legal system. The first step is filing a truck accident lawsuit that seeks to recoup damages for the hardships suffered by the injured party and their family. A successful suit can provide critical assistance in a time of critical need.
A prospective plaintiff may ponder various questions before filing a lawsuit. Oftentimes, of utmost importance is how much money they stand to win. Relatedly, many plaintiffs want to know how long it will take to be awarded that money. In the context of semi-truck accidents, this can be reduced to the simplified question of “How long will it take to settle?” since almost all semi-truck cases never make it to trial.
Even an experienced lawyer can rarely predict with any certainty how long the settlement process will take; there are simply too many variables at play. However, the following factors may influence the settlement timeline, pushing it either longer or shorter.
How Long Did Your Injuries Take to Heal?
The nature of the injuries suffered could impact the time it takes to settle. If your injuries are severe you may spend considerable time in the hospital. Oftentimes, it may take days, weeks or months for a doctor to determine the full extent of your injuries. Your lawyer may not want to proceed with your lawsuit before knowing with certainty just how badly you are injured and how much care is going to cost; the reasoning being that your desired settlement amount will largely be based on these two factors.
Additionally, in some instances, you may not appreciate the extent of your injuries until significant time has passed from the time of the accident. Some injuries cause degenerative conditions, for example, that take years to worsen. For this reason, it’s important to be examined by medical experts as soon as possible following the accident. Again, the longer it takes to grasp the ramifications of the accident the longer it may take to settle.
When Did You See a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Lawsuits and settlement negotiations involving semi-truck accidents are often complex and require extensive investigation. For this reason, it’s important to meet with an experienced truck accident attorney right away. The right lawyer understands the contours of the law and how they fit your case, can get an idea of how much your case is worth, and knows what evidence is needed to prove that value.
Schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer as soon as possible after a semi-truck accident, even if you think your injuries were not that serious. This will give your attorney ample time to assess your legal options and plan a strategy that has the best chance of achieving a favorable settlement. Waiting too long to see a lawyer could cost you considerable time and money.
What Damages Are You Seeking?
The compensation that you seek for your semi-truck accident injuries will largely depend on the unique characteristics of your injuries and losses. The difficulty of proving those damages, and the amount you claim, can affect the timeline for achieving a settlement.
Simple, economic losses are generally easy to prove. Medical debt, for example, can be proven with billing records; property damage can be proven with an actuary’s statement.
On the other hand, claims for more abstract losses usually require a more extensive investigation, these often fall under the category of non-economic damages. The Center for Justice and Democracy defines non-economic damages as “the loss of the enjoyment of life, the pleasure, the satisfaction or the utility that human beings derive from life, separate and apart from earnings.”
For example, if you seek damages for emotional distress, then your lawyer may want to rely on the testimony of an expert (such as a psychiatrist) to bolster your case. Obtaining that expert’s opinion of your condition can take time and lengthen the timeline for a settlement.
In other words, the complexity of your semi-truck accident lawsuit can impact how long it takes to settle. If your case requires extensive investigation and fact-finding, you may need to wait a little longer to settle. Your truck accident lawyer, however, will try to resolve your claim as quickly as possible without sacrificing the compensation you need to overcome your injuries and pay your medical bills.
An Experienced Semi-Truck Accident Attorney Keeps Your Case on Track
A serious semi-truck accident can turn your world upside down. The things you took for granted may now be a thing of the past. It can affect your life on so many different levels, from your physical health to your finances, to your career prospects, to your family life. A semi-truck accident is truly a life-altering experience—and not just for you. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 500,000 truck-related accidents occur in the U.S. annually, resulting in more than 87,000 injuries.
If you were in one of those traumatic events, returning to anything resembling normal may seem impossible. However, victims and their families should know that they don’t have to suffer in silence. An experienced semi-truck accident injury attorney can help them obtain the compensation they need and deserve to recover as fully as possible.
To learn how long it may take to settle your semi-truck accident claims, contact a skilled, experienced semi-truck accident attorney today for a free case evaluation.